This is the follow-up post to this post, so feel free to check that one out, too. (;
In my opinion, Love – true love – is equating another person’s well-being, mental and physical, with your own. To me, it is somewhat interchangeable with empathy, which is the ability to understand, deeply, what another person is feeling. Love, though, seems to have a more spiritual, soul-connection kind of feel to it. I think that it’s why people will give their lives for their loved ones, though it doesn’t often make any evolutionary sense.
As I started to discuss in the previous post, in order to truly love others you need to first truly love yourself. I mean, how can you possibly fully understand how much another person values their own life and decisions unless you value yours the same? If you’ve never felt grateful for the life you have the privilege of living, how can you comprehend that others might feel that way about theirs? It’s really hard to empathize if you aren’t capable of at least understanding where someone is coming from, and to me, empathy is like the root of love… so we’re back to needing to love yourself to love others.
I don’t want “loving others” to be seen as any kind of magical feel-good phrase that accomplishes anything just by talking about it. Love is action, and love is a lifestyle. It is a lifestyle that I sincerely believe that – were it cultivated by the majority of people, towards all of nature and humanity – would directly and indirectly solve the majority of our world’s problems.
Since the beginning of our existence, humans have been expanding their “empathy circles” from families, to tribes, to villages, to nations. Now – for some people – their ability to empathize is growing even further encompass the entire world. I, and many others, have come to the point of view that all of nature – human, animal, insect, plant and otherwise – is part of one giant family, deserving of love, and having Natural Rights and (in our case) responsibilities. A big part of why I started this blog is so I could lay out my thoughts for people and hopefully help them come to some of the same conclusions. (;
So, think about your family, or the closest thing you have to a loving family if you aren’t so close with your own – and how you feel about them. You would certainly never kill your family. You wouldn’t let them starve to death, or just go homeless. You definitely shouldn’t feel threatened or unsafe in any way around your family. If we as the human race can come to see each other as family, these same facts can and should still apply. We shouldn’t sit by and watch our fellow humans starve while we throw away literal tons of food. We shouldn’t let buildings just sit there abandoned while there are people who need shelter all over the world. We certainly shouldn’t be bombing people and their children because of the anger we feel over losing our own.
Love doesn’t do these things. Family doesn’t do these things.
What family does do is look out for each other. They take care of each other when someone has a need. They’re slow to judge, and quick to forgive. They stand up against the people who dare to mess with any of them… and of course, they have an Unconditional Love for each other. That is an attitude that I want to cultivate towards the Entire world – while encouraging others to do the same.
So, first.. Love Yourself.
Then, Love Others.
& remember that others are Your Family. ❤