“Love is never wasted, for its value does not rest upon reciprocity.”
~C. S. Lewis
The most powerful emotion is, without a doubt, love. It comes in many different forms and, although the most recognizable form of love is the one with which we are most familiar with, the most powerful form of love, lives a softer existence.
Loving our significant other, friends and family is easy, since they usually respond in kind. Therefore, when we give our love, we get something in return. It’s an ideal situation. However, quiet, unassuming, selfless love, is the more powerful, yet a rather elusive sensation. It usually reveals itself when we do things out of the kindness of our hearts, not requiring or even expecting anything in return.
The power of unconditional, selfless love lies in the fact that it’s not motivated by a reward or a benefit. If your aim is to make the world a slightly better place, there are many things you can do, however, only one is guaranteed to have an impact. Selfless love in the form of kindness and compassion.
While the idea of being more compassionate is appealing to many people, it is often quite difficult to consider the feelings of individuals we don't know while making a conscious (or sometimes unconscious) decision to behave in a specific way. Often, it is our “inner selves” which impede the way of true compassion.
However, it is only when we mindfully step outside of ourselves, look beyond our own busy lives and recognize how our words, actions or behaviors affect the lives of others, we realize that we have the power to make a tremendous difference – a positive difference – not only in other people’s lives, but also in our own.
RECIPROCITY AS A LIFE CURRENCY
Although it doesn’t cost anything to be kind to others, the idea of putting others first, without any expectation of reciprocity, has become quite a foreign notion in a world where selfishness and greed are constantly rewarded. Somehow, we have been led to believe we must be ruthless, with keen instincts to compete against one another for resources and to accumulate power and possessions.
Our individualistic and competitive society has come to expect that, if we are sympathetic to one another, it’s usually because we have ulterior motives. If we are decent to each other, it’s only because we have succeeded in controlling and overcoming our biological instinct of brutality and selfishness..
Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. Although for centuries, philosophers have debated whether human beings are fundamentally good or evil, it was the philosopher, Marcus Aurelius who described quite simply, “Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.” These words, written nearly two thousand years ago cut to the core of what it means to be a compassionate human being.
PAY IT FORWARD
Selfless love creates an instant connection, whether brief or eternal, which makes people feel like their existence matters, that they matter. Even the smallest act of kindness can have far-reaching consequences. Being kind to others, often also teaches us to be kind to ourselves. Because, love, when freely given to others, very often finds its way back to us.
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