What Do We Really Need?
Do We Really Need?
By Marie T. Russell
humans seem to enjoy making life hard on ourselves. While there is almost
always an easy solution to life's challenges, we get a charge out of exerting
our will and making it go our way. We (ego) often try to force events
to take place or to develop in the way that we want them to -- we try
to impose our will on the energies of life. We push and we shove. We coerce
bluntly or we manipulate gently. Yet, through it all, we mostly refuse
to let go and let the river of life flow in its own meandering way.
The silent call keeps going out--
"Please love me."
Rather than live out our life from energy of openness
and love, we live it from the perspective of making things go the way
we want. By behaving in certain ways, we try to `force' others to love
us -- we dress according to the acceptable fashion of the day, we buy
the car that will earn us love, we even spout the opinions that are up
on the popularity charts. All of this because we feel our own opinions
may not be acceptable. The silent call keeps going out -- "Please
love me." Some people send out that call by being rude and obnoxious.
They feel that if people really love them, they will love them even if
they are `unloving'. So they act as if they don't need or want love, all
the while hoping that people will love them anyway.
Why do we do this? Is it because we have a basic lack
of trust in the process of life? Don't we believe that the Universe is
on our side? We ultimately always get what we need, but not always what
we desire. After all, we have so many desires, especially in this age
of technology and advertising media. Yet our needs are few--water, air,
food, shelter and love.
Due to the conditioning we have undergone through our
upbringing, TV, radio, billboards, and advertising wherever we turn, we
feel that our needs are many. We absolutely need that new...whatever the
new item on your agenda is today. But do we? Haven't we found out that
all those material possessions did not bring us love? Our ancestors knew
it. All of us, whether as far back as thousands of years, or as recently
as this decade, come from a race that has moved to another land leaving
behind most of its material possessions. People abandoned most of their
belongings out of a choice for religious freedom, or freedom from oppression,
or simply from a desire for adventure.
Some of us have experienced leaving 'most of it behind'
in this life ourselves -- sometimes in a move to another country, sometimes
simply in a move to another location. Isn't it funny that when you move
you realize how you accumulated all this `stuff'? We seem to be `stuff'
magnets -- demonstrating our need for material security. Somehow we seem
to think that security is equivalent with possessions. The more 'stuff'
we have, the more secure we feel. And we end up surrounded by material
goodies, sometimes to the extent that we don't even see the people in
our lives any more.
We all want to be loved so much, that we sometimes
feel we need to hide who we are so that others will love us. So we hide
behind discussions of the weather (or current events or current soap operas),
we discuss and criticize other people, we keep conversations superficial
-- anything to ignore the fear inside..."Will I be loved?".
We smile when we don't feel like it, we say yes when we don't mean it,
we do things that go against the grain, all in order to be loved by others.
Some of us hide behind (or rather in front) of the
television, others hide in books, in sports, in hobbies, in work, or in
busy-ness (business). Others hide in making small-talk. We discuss everyone
in our lives, even the people we don't know (celebrities, soap opera characters,
the people in the news, sports stars, etc.), rather than open up and let
others see deep inside of us. Why? We are basically insecure even when
we have all the material trappings of `security' around us.
This insecurity stems from one of our basic needs --
the need to be loved. Everyone on this planet, whether `hardened' criminals
or innocent children, needs to be loved. Love is the greatest healer,
the greatest solution to all our ills, physical or emotional. The need
for love drives some of us to strange acts -- some people even kill for
love, others steal, others lie, or cheat, or connive.
Simply reach into the core of your being
and pull out the loving being that resides there.
Yet, where does that get us? It places us in a situation
where we do not love ourselves. Because, if no one else sees the truth
of our being, we do. We see the lies, the deception, the pretending, and
the false smiles. We hear the inner mental chatter -- the judgment, the
blame, the criticism, the cynicism, etc. We hear that mental chatter,
and we believe we are not lovable. For after all, how could someone love
us if they knew what we are `really' like? So, once again, we re info
rce our belief that we must smile to hide the anger, be nice to earn the
love, and generally bury our emotions in order to be loved by those whose
love we desire.
Aren't we strange? We often take the long way around,
when there is such an easy way to receive love. We simply need to be ourselves
and to give love. Any time we need love, the solution resides in giving
love. In the same way that if we crave attention, we simply need to give
attention -- we will always receive as we give. There is no need to coerce,
manipulate, or pretend. Simply reach into the core of your being and pull
out the loving being that resides there. It may be a little dusty because
it has been sitting on the shelf so long. Yet, it is there, and surely
in good working order...it may simply need a little lubricant, and that
lubricant is simply, you got it, love.
Love makes the world go round. Clich?? Maybe not. Things
certainly have not been going roundly on the planet with wars, murders,
rapes, thefts, and general unloving behavior patterns. It there was more
love, a lot of these things would simply disappear. Pollyanna, you say?
I think not. Reflect on it for a minute. During any war, if everyone had
loved the people in the country they were fighting (instead of hating
and fearing them), how could they have murdered them? (Oh, yes, I know,
in wars we don't call it murder. Yet murder it is.) Would rape take place
if love existed? How could someone who felt love towards you impose their
will upon you? Happens all the time? I think not. What many people feel
for and from others is not love, but manipulation and neediness. We need
each other for whatever reason, so we coerce and manipulate, certainly
Love simply because it feels
good to love,
even if it is frightening at times...
What is the solution? First we start by forgiving ourselves
and the others around us. After all, we were all looking for love, and
simply not knowing how to get it. We were all deluded in thinking that
our `forced' behavior would bring us love. So forgive yourself...you did
the best you knew how. Forgive others, for they also did the best they
knew. And go from there. Learn to love. To truly love. The way that children
love before we "pollute" them with neediness, greediness, and
fear of rejection. Love simply for the fun of loving, with no attachment
to returns. Love simply because it feels good to love, even if it is frightening
at times -- after all, we may be rejected, laughed at, ridiculed or simply
ignored. But hey, it won't kill us. Rejection does not kill. It may hurt,
but when we realize that the others are simply rejecting us because they
have not learned how to love, it makes it easier to handle.
Then what do we do? Keep on loving. Not falsely, not
behind a "plastic" smile, but from the true space of your inner
being. From the reality of life that knows that no one is perfect, yet
realizes that we are all doing the best we can at the moment.
Love, compassion, generosity, kindness, all of
these are the medicine that the world needs, starting with ourselves,
our families, our neighbors, our co-workers, etc. Rather than dish out
portions of criticism, mockery, and triviality, let's dish out portions
of love... We'll have less indigestion, less illness, and much happier
returns. That's what we really need!
About the author
T. Russell is the publisher of InnerSelf Magazine (first published in
1985 originally as Mighty Natural Magazine) and The Natural Yellow Pages
(1987-2002). She produced a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner
Power, from 1991-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal
growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting
with our inner source of joy and creativity.