Author: Susan R. Johnson MD, F.A.A.P.
Published: Sept. 30th, 2017
As a Behavioral and Developmental Pediatrician for almost 30 years, it seems that the development of our consciousness, through infancy, childhood, adolescence and into adulthood, depends a great deal on whether we can develop an unconditional love for ourselves and others, instead of just a conditional type of love. When we feel unconditionally loved, meaning that we hold a deep love for ourselves that comes from within, then we no longer have to prove to others that we are worthy of being loved. Instead, we know we are lovable, just the way we are, despite our imperfections, mistakes, and failures. When we know that we are unconditionally loved and therefore lovable, then we can value and love others and love and protect this whole creative world. We ultimately realize that no matter what part of the world we come from, we are all interconnected, and no one human being is more valuable or worthy than another.
On the other hand, if at our core, we do not feel we are worthy of being loved, then we continually have to seek approval outside of ourselves. Now we try to prove to others that we are worthy of love by amassing a great fortune, acquiring power (so we can control others), and seeking fame. Our outlook on life becomes selfish and self-serving. Our relationship to others focuses more on what others can do for “ME”, rather than what I can do for them. We seek material possessions (expensive jewelry, clothes, yachts, planes, mansions, islands etc.) as external tokens of our innate worthiness and importance.
When our love for ourselves depends on what others believe, think, and say about us, we try to bribe and manipulate others, and we have to manipulate the truth. We will say and do anything to make sure others see us as lovable, and therefore we will say and do anything to protect our material wealth, power, and fame. Integrity and truth lose their value, and we cannot tolerate anyone disagreeing with us and we cannot even admit our mistakes or take responsibility for them. In fact, all mistakes and poor judgments have to be the fault of someone else or have to be blamed on external circumstances. We have to destroy and discredit those that disagree with us. We have to find scapegoats, because we believe that our worthiness comes from outside of ourselves. To admit that we were wrong or mistaken would risk the disapproval of others, and therefore risk, in our perception, their ability to see us as worthy. We become a brute, a bully, literally attacking others, verbally and even physically, that disagree with our views or call out our mistakes. We vehemently deny and even lie, both consciously and unconsciously, to protect our own opinions and our actions, because the whole core of our being depends on being seen as perfect, right, and therefore worthy of being loved. We cannot be compassionate. We don’t even know how to put ourselves in another person’s shoes or see things from another’s perspective. It takes love of oneself to do that.
When we do love ourselves, unconditionally, then we no longer base our actions and reactions on our own personal likes and dislikes. We have equanimity. We recognize our feelings about a particular issue or situation, but our actions are measured and thought-through, and we think of others, first, before we think of ourselves. We are open, objective, creative, and non-judgmental in our thinking. We are no longer just reactive to our physical senses or our environment. We also become awe-filled, reverent, and inspired in our feelings. We show an intense interest, compassion, and unconditional love toward all of humanity and this creative world. Our feelings become freed-up from any attachments to personal likes and dislikes. Now, instead of our actions just reflecting our basic instincts, drives, or selfish desires for power, money, fame, or conditional love, we become truly free as a people and a nation, and we see each other as equals, no matter our religion, ethnic heritage, or sexual orientation. Now, we only want to act with courage, integrity, and unconditional love for the good of all.