I believe our need for control and power is in direct proportion to our insecurities and fears. We take out our own inadequacies on others. We treat people with the same amount of respect we have for ourselves. But if our own self esteem is low, how can we extend courtesy to another? I’ve thought often of the teaching of Jesus, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If I don’t feel worthy inside myself how can I hold you as worthy? How can I look at you and see you as a child of God if I don’t see myself that way? So it seems to me we’re doing exactly what he suggested.
Of course we know that’s not what this teaching meant. Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Mother Theresa were all referring to love. They taught by example. They extended their hands to help, support and encourage, to provide strength and hope. They loved themselves enough for that love to pour out to others. They gave of themselves.
That’s how it starts. No matter how little value we perceive in ourselves, we need to reach out. We need to bloom right where we’re planted. Every day, in countless ways we can help or encourage, and in the doing, a miracle will happen. A smile, a kind word, the giving to another of a part of ourselves adds to our own growth. Our insecurities fade when we help others. We become stronger and more loving and then give even more. Research has shown that people who volunteer live longer. Makes sense, doesn’t it? When we’re concentrating on someone else’s troubles, our own disappear. Our worries and fears are forgotten and our bodies get a break from the stress of our lives, giving them a chance to heal. In the act of nurturing others we heal our own spirits and open the door to the love that is the core of us. Whatever hurts we’ve suffered that have made us wary and closed our hearts, begin to melt away in the act of doing.
That’s the big difference. Doing for others not to others. When we command, control, manipulate, rule by force, withhold, and oppress we are doing to other people. We pass on from generation to generation the negative influences we ourselves have experienced. Instead, if we concentrate on forgivness and encouragement, we’ll make room for love to flow, leading to patience and understanding and the doing for. It’s impossible to oppress and help at the same time. When we start loving ourselves it’s impossible for that love not to shine through and encompass all those around us.
We can make a difference, each and every one of us. We can start today by saying hello to our neighbour, by smiling at our co workers, by listening, really listening to what’s being said, by a kind word to a stranger.
Seems like nothing really, doesn’t it? But watch what happens! Little acts of kindness become a mountain of goodwill. The ripple effect we’ve all heard about really works! Can any one person change the world? The answer is an emphatic yes! Because one person becomes two and two become four and four become eight and so on and so on. A simplistic solution to the very real problems facing the world? Perhaps. But there’s nothing complicated in the teachings of the great masters. They taught about love. Period. Everything stems from love for ourselves and each other. The survival of the world depends on it!