Have you ever heard someone say that their love for another was simply not enough? How can that be we wonder? It sounds ludicrous to the untrained ear yet when we listen more deeply we hear a love that was conditional – based on making someone else happy and meeting their needs. Eventually, it becomes apparent that it is a fool’s journey.
But we may think that if we really love someone we would want to make them happy, satisfy their desires or shield them from pain. Yet, when we are in a constant state of ‘doing ‘ for them we are actually impeding their own growth as human beings as well as our own. We have become simply a host organism that provides emotional, psychological and physical nourishment to someone with an insatiable appetite. Eventually exhaustion sets in.
For those of us who have perfected the art of being a people pleaser we may rush in where fools fear to tread to help, assist and even rescue someone from themselves. Eventually, the label of people pleaser looses its shine and we come to the stark realization that we have been important to others and valued by them for what we do – not for who we are – that’s conditional love and it hurts. Is it time to love yourself enough to say gently but firmly, ‘enough – if it’s going to be it’s up to you…not me.’
There are other forms of love. The highest being what the ancient Greeks called Agape or unconditional love. This love does not need, seek or expect. It’s much deeper than mere physical attraction. It does not depend on anything – it simply is … It’s the type of love that encourages others to grow and is big enough to move out of the way so that lessons can be learned in their own way and time. It’s not swayed by time or circumstance and cannot be bought or sold. It is Universal love. The kind that gives energy to us and envelopes us with a confident knowing that we are on the right path.
Unconditional love is an inside job. It must start inside ourselves first with a strong sense of self esteem and confidence before it can authentically radiate out to others. The question to ask ourselves is, do we love ourselves conditionally or unconditionally? A huge but critical thing to ask because we know deep in our hearts that conditional love is never enough.
Have a great few days!
The holiday season is upon us and with it the choice to buy more ‘stuff.’ I’m not talking about the gifts we buy for others but about the marketing message to ‘buy something special for ourselves.’ It seems to have become a right of passage that holiday shopping is not complete unless we remember to ‘gift’ ourselves. Thus the topic of more stuff becomes a reality.
George Carlin, the comedian who attempted to raise our social consciousness for over 30 years did a classic standup routine about the importance we place on acquiring ‘stuff’ in our lives. Although he died in 2008 his observations are timeless. His YouTube video is worth watching.
Are we so superficial that simply acquiring things is our end game? If so, will that next outfit, car, or house cause us to reach a state of Nirvana where we finally say to ourselves, ‘Now I have everything I want.’ Probably not. Obsessive behavior breeds itself. Could in be that our continual buying and accumulating is simply a way to feed our insatiable egos and to keep the heavy lifting of self improvement at bay? Honestly looking at our own insecurities and doing something about them is the real gift we can give ourselves this season. The bottom line is that we will never acquire enough to give us self-confidence or peace in our lives. That takes time and courage to a whole lot of deep digging. Who we are as a person and what is truly important to us are big questions that may be worth pondering.
Put another way, is having the biggest, fastest or most stuff in our lives really the goal we want to work toward? There was a bumper sticker in the ’90’s that read, ‘The Man With the Most Toys Wins.’ Really? My question is wins what? Have we linked our identity to the ‘stuff’ we so fervently purchase? An easy way to check our values is to think about what we would take with us if we had 20 minutes to evacuate our surroundings. In a survey on happiness most people responded to this question by saying they would take their family pictures. Their response shows that love and relationships trumps things or stuff every time. Our own answer to this question reveals what’s most important in our own life.
When you think about what we will take out of this world (literally the clothes on our backs) when we pass on it puts everything in perspective. Rather than falling into the trap of accepting the holiday marketing message of ‘gifting’ ourselves we could stop, look and listen to our hearts. In so doing we may decide that turning the kaleidoscope of our thinking ever so slightly to develop a deeper understanding of self and offering true caring for others is the true message of the holiday season. If we want to ‘gift’ ourselves maybe we could do so by mending fences, seeking compromise or offering a hand to someone in need. Those are the types of gifts that keep on giving and last a lifetime.
A recent article in The New York Times stated that due to lower gas prices we will be able to buy more ‘stuff’ this holiday season. Great, just what we needed! Maybe – just maybe – we can think about a better use of our time, attention and money. Could it be it all boils down to determining what is really most important in our lives and reallocating our time to nurturing them? That’s something you can’t buy – it’s way more valuable than a mere purchase – but its worth its weight in gold. It’s something to think about…
Have a great few days!
To better understand ourselves and others and increase our ability to be heard, I have chosen to post a sequence of four blogs to help us look more closely at what makes people tick. To recap briefly, the first blog was describing the difference between being an extrovert (getting ENERGY from the interaction with people) or an introvert (getting ENERGY by internally processing thoughts and ideas). The second blog was on the difference between the Sensing type (looking for cause and effect, past trends, data and the ‘what is’) OR the Intuitive type who seeks knowledge and complexity, models, theories not yet proven and who orient themselves to ‘what could be’). To read a more in depth explanation of these differences so far just go to the February archives on my website).
As we go deeper into the differences that help us understand ourselves better the third area is in how we see and process information. It is labeled the Thinking OR Feeling preference. If people favor the Thinking preference they see the world as an object and their thinking is quite clear …if A then B. Using sequential reasoning is essential to the way they process information and ideas. They have a tendency to be more critical in situations and less accepting of the needs or circumstances of others. They determine if they are successful by the number of clients they have, the raises they receive, in other words through more external, concrete evidence. The Thinking approach could best be summarized with the saying, ‘the proof is in the pudding.’ If discord with others is necessary to get from step A to B that’s just the way it is – a part of living or doing business.
On the other hand folks who favor the Feeling preference see the world as a subject rather than object. Their method of thinking about an issue would be …if A, then B, or maybe even E, M, or Q! In other words, they see many possibilities and options rather than a strictly linear approach. They are more laid back, accepting, and trusting and use their emotions to make decisions. They prefer to seek consensus with others – a sort of give and take when decisions are being made. Seeking consistency within their personal values when making a decision rather than using simple logic is very important to them. In addition to raises or advancements or additional number of clients, more importantly, they want to be told that they are a valued member of the team or family. Frequent verbal or written recognition for a job well done is very, very important to them. You will see people with this type prefer to ‘go with the flow’ rather than make waves. Discord is uncomfortable and they try, at all costs, to avoid it.
In my Sunday blog I will complete this short explanation of learning/living preferences with the last choice of two variables. In the meantime try to apply these six differences to yourself and others. Especially those who you feel are on a different wave length and you can’t seem to understand why they do the things they do. I’ll bet you will be surprised by what you discover. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers .. they are simply differences …in the way we process information and view the world. For the world to function we need to recognize that all types – all preferences are important and valuable. The trick is learning to recognize these differences and to learn how to present ideas or information in a way that will be welcomed and valued.
It boils down to energy. It takes more energy to push a wagon rather than pull it. Once you learn to recognize and value the differences in yourself and others, the smoother, more enjoyable the ride.
Have a great few days!