We hear all the time, “unless we love ourselves, we cannot love others.” I do believe, in some cases, when we start out life we have love to give and, as such, we are capable of loving, without loving ourselves. I’ve heard people say,” that they are in love but they have not yet met the person that they are in love with.” In those cases I have always felt, probably due to their own behavior, that they were actually in love with themselves but did not recognize it as such. In my own case, I do know that I have loved everyone else, long before I recognized, that I loved myself. Some of us grow up confused as to what love really is as it has never been given to us unconditionally or we only felt love according to if our behavior met with approval or not.
There is no such thing as a mommy gene universally in all mothers. Many children grow up hearing,”we were an accident,the day we were born was the worse day of our mother’s life, or the only reason we were even born was because our mothers thought that they would go to hell if they used birth control”. Complicate that with parents who never tell us that we are loved, that are remote and cold while we are growing up, parents who profess to love us as we live in fear of being beaten on a daily basis, or have parents beating each other up and the whole ideal of love becomes totally misconstrued to the point that many are fearful to love or commit if that is what love really is. Often it takes years and years, before children growing up in these environments can even dare trust what we are feeling, is really love or if someone else that professes to love us, is sincere.
Every human being’s survival depends on being born selfish. If a baby didn’t cry until their needs were meant they would end up malnourished or ill. Most of us would sleep through, sometimes every hour and half feedings, because as all new parents can attest many times during a baby’s life we are so tired we are not always certain if we did wake up or if we slept through a feeding. It is a time of total and complete exhaustion, especially if one parent is doing it all alone. In many ways we never lose the need to be selfish. Some are just better at recognizing it than others. Every action we take from seeking friendship,to marriage, to what brings us joy is intertwined with our own needs being met, if we are honest with ourselves in acknowledging it.
What separates a selfish person from a giving person is innate to their character, if I was to hazard a guess. It explains why one twin can be selfish while another generous, even when raised identically to each other, including the same punishment being meted our to both simultaneously, regardless who is to blame. If it is not genetic then the genetic make-up that drives perception,in my opinion, has to play a role. Where one saw injustice for the punishment they did not cause, another accepted the same as being normal or had the capacity to block pain or go into denial whereas the other didn’t or maintained reality.
Many children will block out their childhood if it was too bad or separate from it emotionally while others never forget and relive the nightmare for life. Abuse alters and changes a person’s personality, entirely, from who or whom they would have been, otherwise. That includes people who tell their children they were not wanted and verbally abuse their children. I’ve heard parents tell their children that they were an accident, in jest, and watched the child’s facial expression crumble. I think sometimes we adults are immune to teasing and lose sight of what effect it has on our children. Many times that same teasing can send our children off to bully others, if they take it literally, as many do. Some children will totally overlook or block abuse where as others can be haunted all their lives and I’m not sure anyone understands for certain,why?
I have absolutely no regrets that I came late to the table, as far as loving everyone else, before I recognized my love of myself, because it is the reason I now gather so much pleasure and enjoyment out of my life. If every action I ever did was as a conscious reaction on my part to do or give because I would get something back as a result of it, I’m sure I would feel much more guilt or discomfort with what damage I occurred to myself, now that I am limited in what I can do for others.
I am a sincere believer in the reality that everything that we do for others without expectation or return or without telling the world about our charity is returned to us here on earth. If we use it to improve our own image or to get an, “atta girl/boy” or to fulfill some need of our own we can sometimes end up in anger,hurt or mistrust because we assumed and when our assumptions do not prove out then we get angry or hurt about it. On the other hand, those of us that give without expectations, quickly learn the value of doing so brings with it, its own reward, even miracles. I don’t even have to explain that to those of you who do know, what I mean when I say it.
If we never know or understand ourself and the reasoning behind why we did what we did or do what we do, we can become really bitter with life and mistreat others. Once we know the true damage, we do to both ourselves and others, exist is because of our own assumptions then we can learn better ways to give of our self and time or choose not to. Except of course when it comes to paying taxes and I would hope we all appreciate the fact that Democracy gives us enough, so we can at least do that much. When gifting is a choice and we are constantly resenting doing anything for someones else, all of us would much rather you did nothing instead of listen to your constant bitching or sign carrying protest.
The significance of self is, to know ourselves, well enough so we bring both hope and joy to others or we take blame so we don’t make the rest of our family,work staff, group, or America in general, miserable right along with us. Listen to the way people and media are talking. We have to ask ourselves why children bully? Give us a break! As the old cliché goes,”If you have nothing good to say then say nothing, at all.”