Love as a Condition for Existence

There are many things in our lives that drive us and more often than not we have no idea what. Success, money, keeping up with the Joneses.. Yet, whatever it is and whatever these drives are, they all stem from the same basic need. A need that precludes everything , even our basic needs for food and shelter.
It is the one thing we are willing to go to the distance for and it probably comes as no surprise that it is love we all crave.
It does not matter in what shape or form: appreciation, recognition, etc.
It is the one thing that gets kids off on the right foot or destines them for a life in trouble.

"As you sow so you shall reap"

It is nothing extraordinary, nothing that is beyond us, nothing that should bewilder us.
However it differs from everything else in life in one major aspect:
With all else it is:
What you don't have, you can't give and when you have given of what you have, whatever you gave is gone.
With Love it is:
What you have not, you cannot give, but what you have , you can freely give and find that the giving adds to your own line of credit with yourself, your family, your circle of friends and your community. Love tends to grow when given.
And as with all giving, you give regardless of the returns.
Giving with an expectation of returns is not giving but buying or trading.
So love starts with yourself, love of self.

The question that arises immediately from this:
Do you consider yourself lovable? Not because of what you do, but because of who you are.
If you don't, you have a problem and  guess what : you are not alone.

In a recent poll among university graduates and business men, the one thing that nobody wanted other people to know about them was how much they disliked themselves.
It is widespread and we all are to blame for it. We learned it and taught it as young as pre-school and Kindergarten.
Parents do it , kids do it to each other.
Parents often do it with the best intentions : "here let me do it for you". (meaning -unintentionally- you're no good!!!)

Ever come across this attitude : Who do you think you are? Of course you have, we all have. Ever thought about these people who display this attitude? Why they are like this?  It is not an attitude that is displayed by healthy people.
People who need to express themselves like that have severe problems of self esteem. They don't like themselves very much, but are scared that anybody might find out.It is just a facade to hide their fears of exposure of the fact how despicable they think they are.

Most of us if not all have a need to 'measure up', meet expectations -real or otherwise-.
It is what we were taught in school.
Not too many of us are above this . I could repeat that over and over again , and the more people give you a hard time, the more they are in need of it.  Why do you think people like Britney Spears and so many others are doing the things they do , destroying themselves and their relationships.
And thus it becomes our nature to withhold affection and love when people act like that. It is hard not to act in kind, because they withold what we crave.

So what to do about it, how to break this vicious cycle..

The first thing is do nothing but let this sink in : All People are lovable, there is nothing in anybody that would make them unlovable. Yes, I know a lot of people will do a lot of things that will make them unlovable, but that is because of what they do or the way they act. All the little Hitlers of this world have one thing in common: they have no love for the person they think they are, they all have a very low self esteem. They are no different than your ordinary schoolyard bully.
But I got news for you:
You are not only lovable, but you are loved by the Universe, Allah, God, the Force whatever you want to call it. Loved. No questions asked, no conditions imposed, unconditionally as you are, as you were created, a unique creation. There is no other one like you and no one can do the job that you are here to do. If you don't do it, nobody will. It won't get done. It is a creational thing, a structural thing.
So take time to be whole (holy), one with your real self. That may take time depending on how far you have strayed from what you are all about, into a form that you thought would  make you more agreeable, acceptable. Strayed into 'stuff' that you thought would make you more presentable.
Most of us have gotten ourselves  lost in the stuff we surround ourselves with.

Clearing the Clutter

Although you may not have to physically get rid of all your stuff (it does help) but you have to begin to see it for what it is and accept yourself as you are. Don't blame yourself for not being what you are not. You are what you are supposed to be at this very moment in time. Tomorrow, next week, next year, you will be what you are supposed to be at that point in time. We have to for once and for all get rid of the notion that we're supposed to be somebody we're  not. That notion is often derived from a system of morals and conventions that society has arrived at because of convenience's sake. You are not falling short, no matter what you may think of yourself or what your moral system may say. Some people may try harder, but that is totally irrelevant to your situation.
That is your starting base and from here you start to invest. You invest of yourself.
Is it about you or is it about your stuff, where do you derive your sense of self from? From the things you have acquired? Does a bigger car make for a better you? Do you feel more important when you have a bigger, nicer house?
You invest in smiling  a lot more than you are used to.
You invest in lending people a hand, your wife, your colleagues, co-workers.
Believe me, you will derive a lot of satisfaction from it , but you will also be disappointed. People won't trust you, will try you, just to prove themselves right. However this is not about them, this is about you. It is fairly immaterial how other people react.
So don't expect an overnight success. Always return to yourself. Otherwise you'll run the risk of being run by external forces and you'll become something you're not. Don't be in a hurry to achieve, to accomplish.

Michael Jones, the well known facilitator and motivational speaker, whom I recently discovered through a book order from our store, calls this a time of waiting. A  time to be holy (one with yourself) and listen to your self
Doris Grumbach writes in "50 Days of Solitude", when she went in solitary retreat:
"the absence of other voices compelled me to listen more intently to the inner one. I became aware of that interior voice,so often stifled or stilled entirely by what I thought others wanted to hear, or what I considered to be socially acceptable.......It wasn't that it spoke great truths or made important observations.......It began to point out the significance of the inconsequential, of what I had overlooked in my hunger for what I had always considered to be important, the Big Things..."

People who have taken the time to start meditating on a regular basis, will tell you that it can easily take years before you begin to really hear that inner voice, but that is not your goal even though it may be the end result. Fact is you need to learn to unload the baggage, to begin to see 'the significance of the inconsequential', the worried look on a shopper at the local IGA store. Need to unlearn the tit-for-tat, when a cashier seems to be in a bad mood.
It doesn't cost to smile, say a kind word, lend a hand etc. yet these are the things that make you aware of you more than anything else and I would be very surprised that after doing this for a couple of months you would not be feeling quite good about your self. There is nothing miraculous about this, just good solid practice of investing of yourself in order to invest in your self and with it you cannot help but investing in your relationships : marriage, family, community etc. And as such you can consider yourself an asset to your community, regardless of whether you are working a minimum wage job in retail or trying to run the country.
People who feel good about themselves are good for the community, good for the environment.
Doctors will tell you it is also good for your health.
When a physician told one of his patients : Mrs. M. I have bad news for you, you have cancer, she responded : I knew it, I knew it, I have known it for more than ten years. He said Madam if you have known this for ten years it is a miracle that you only got the cancer now.
A bad  attitude, bad feelings about oneself are bad news.

Love is all there is
If you do not love yourself, why should anybody else
Self Love is not Egotism.
There is Everything to Gain and Nothing to lose when you invest in Love
We all have a choice: we can choose to grow old or choose to grow up!
Many people do all the right things when it concerns their diet. They make the right moves when it concerns their activities and yet, they have a hard time to really thrive. They are forgetting the hardest part : Loving yourself. Not recognizing that you are unique, there is nobody like you, and there is nobody that can do what you came here for to do. Love comes first. You cannot love others if you don't love yourself.
Health 101
"Only Love is Real"
Course in Miracles