What do we live for?

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult to each other? -George Eliot (pen name of Mary Ann Evans), novelist (22 Nov 1819-22 Dec 1880)

If what we live for is indeed to make life less difficult to each other, to increase one another’s joy, to decrease one another’s suffering, to be of service, to contribute, to love one another, to be kind, to give of ourselves, to help each other, and so on and so forth, then what is the most helpful, most kind, most loving, most joyful, most important contribution we can make to begin to eliminate the suffering of our fellow humans?

The single greatest contribution we can make toward eliminating the suffering of others in the world is to open our sweet, timid hearts and take absolute responsibility for recognizing the enormous, infinite love that is available to us in every single moment of our existence, because we are love.

Acknowledging that we are infinitely loved and we are made of love is incompatible with blame, need, expectation, neglect, violence, resentment, self-righteousness, fear of rejection, and any number of unattractive emotional addictions. When we love ourselves just exactly as we are, we stop demanding that other people give us the love we imagine we need from them and we stop waiting for a new set of external circumstances to make us happy and bring us peace.

The practice of self-compassion—to take responsibility for loving and accepting ourselves completely and unconditionally, all our warts and all our brilliance, to take responsibility for our own feelings and our own interpretations about what it means to be who we are in the world—is a radical act of kindness toward every other being on the planet.

If we want to belong, to love, to serve, to contribute, it is imperative that we stop blaming others for the state of our feelings, the state of our relationships, the state of our lives, the state of our world. This is not to say that we must or we must not change the world into a better, more loving, kinder place to live in; it is only to say that we could stop demanding and expecting anyone else to make the world a better, more loving, and kinder place for us before we allow ourselves to get on with the business of being at peace with ourselves, others, and God.

We could offer to ourselves the love, the acceptance, the forgiveness, the tolerance that we so desperately seek from others, and we might even find that we have more than enough to share.

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