When we think about love, or our pursuit for love… very often, we think about the benefits that love will bring to us. We also think about the benefits that loving those who are near us will have… but that’s where our “love reach” usually stops.
Yet, there is soooo much more to love that we often don’t think about, talk about or much less, SEE that can help us understand way more about life than we ever realized.
And you know how it is… often, we can “see” things more clearly when they’re absent from our lives than when they’re present.
So let’s go there for a bit.
Think about your life.
And let me ask you something.
Why aren’t you the FULL person you know you’re meant to be?
(Listen to your own response).
Ask yourself the question: Why?
(Listen to your own response).
Ask yourself again: Why?
By now, (most of you) should have gotten to a pretty similar understanding as everybody else.
When you think about your first limitation, or excuse you ever came up with for why you aren’t the FULL person you’re meant to be or asked yourself the series of questions I just posed to you, most of you said that you haven’t been able to reach your absolute full potential because you were wounded as a child and you didn’t receive enough love.
For example, if you stop to think about it, since those theories are so open, one could assume that the number of people that you could potentially fall in love with is in the hundreds. And while yes, there are many fish in the sea, this would mean that if you were put in a ballroom of 100 random guys that you could randomly pick one of them and have that person be the love of your life, which is not likely.
We’re Rooting For Who We Think Is The One And Only
Take me, for example.
I’m flirtatious by nature and I don’t think that there are even 50 people in the world that I could truly, utterly fall in love with. Not 25. Not 10. Etc.
And I’m pretty sure you feel the same. When it comes to love, you are pickier than you realize.
In part, this explains why breakups are soooo painful. You are torn because you want the one person you are losing, not any of the billions of fish in the sea.
So What Do We Do When We Lose Someone?
The three love theories almost imply that after an inevitable loss, you should just catch another fish that could be as attractive, successful, kind or helpful in enhancing your self-image. But nope, you don’t want just any other fish. You are looking for THE ONE. (That’s why the three attraction theories fall a bit short).
It doesn’t matter if you THOUGHT that the two previous relationships HAD led you to the one or not… if your relationships fail, your search for the one continues. You are neeeever searching for “NOT THE ONE.”
How Did You Go About Searching For The One?
Think back on your love life…. you either fell in one of these 4 categories: (not that I want to put you in a box, or anything 😉 )
1) You had lots of boyfriends /girlfriends (you were an experimenter)
2) You had a few boyfriends/girlfriends (you were a dabbler)
3) You had no prior boyfriend/girlfriend until you met your current partner (you were a once-in-a-lifetime romantic… maybe by choice, maybe by circumstance)
4) Or you haven’t had a boyfriend/girlfriend YET (you’re a hopeful and that’s great because if there’s anything we should have hope in, it’s love, there is noooo better thing to wish for, wait for and start giving yourself now through self-love because loving yourself is attractive to others).
So How Many Contenders Did You Find? REEEAALLLY?
Regardless of your situation, no matter how many partners you had, if you’re really, really, really honest with yourself there have only been a few contenders for lifetime partners in your life. Probably, around 2 or 3.
The one who got away (usually the secret crusssshhh)
The one with whom the timing wasn’t right and
The one that you ended up marrying or entering a committed relationship with.
Of course, not everybody has the same, exact experience, but the point is, regardless of whether you were an experimenter, a dabbler, a once-in-a-lifetime romantic or a hopeful, you were/are looking for someone quite specific that made/will make you say “ahhhaaaaa!!!” the moment you get to truly know them because you see them as someone special, someone different and someone familiar (we’ll get into the importance of these details later).
The point is, until you find him/her, you are in perpetual search for THE One. That’s your goal. (Unless of course, you just want to be a “playa” (player) but you probably wouldn’t be reading this Love and Treasureblog if you were.)
So What Are You Looking For In The One?
I don’t know, you tell me.
But really, I’ll tell you what you’re looking for in a nutshell, you’re looking for a unique set of characteristics that only your subconscious brains can identify. (That is, they were subconscious up until now that you’re putting conscious effort to dig up what those characteristics might be.)
You wanna know something surprising?
All the people who’ve you’ve seriously considered as mates are more similar than you realize.
AND they hold a HUUUGGGE clue as to what you’re looking for.
I hate to break it to you, buuuutttt what you’re looking for is a combination of positive characteristics and negative characteristics.
You may be asking, “Huhhh?? Negative characteristics?! Why would I want negative characteristics?”
It doesn’t make sense, right?
Who would EVER want to select a romantic partner based on negative characteristics?
Apparently, we all do.
Oh, and before you think that it was me who did it, it was actually Dr. Harville Hendrixs who identified that if we stopped to really take a good look at our partners, or at our wish-they-were partners, we would discover that they’re more similar that we thought. Dr. Hendrixs is a relationship therapist that has been practicing for 40 years. (40 years!!!)
Let’s see what positive and negative characteristics you look for and if the people who’ve you’ve honest-to-goodness considered as a lifetime mate are similar as they’re said to be.
There is an organization that focuses on measuring generosity across countries on an annual basis. It’s called the World Giving Index.
Which Country Do You Think Is The Most Generous?
It would be surprising to know that “Americans [meaning people from the United States] are among the most generous of people, though perhaps not the most generous.”
The World Giving Index has found that:
Australia has been the most generous for over five years
followed by Ireland
and then the United States
Who Gives to Charities?
75% of the $335 billion that people in the United States donate to charity come from individuals.
Meaning that the majority of donations don’t come from organizations or corporations
In other words, donations come from people just like you and me given that on average, 66% of the people in the United States donate to charity every year.
And while the most important thing is that you give what you can, on average, people in the United States donate an average of about $1,000.00 to charity each year.
Before you start questioning whether you are one of those people who donates more than $1,000.00 a year… wait.
These characteristics become more interesting by the minute. If you think that it’s the rich, the millionaires and the billionaires who give the most, you’re in for a HUGE surprise. It turns out that the poor and the middle classare particularly generous.
“Strikingly, those in the bottom 20% percent of incomes give away a higher percentage of their money (3.2 percent) than those in the top 20 percent (1.3 percent).”
An even ruder awakening perhaps is the fact that “for all our talk of the American dream, it has emigrated, and there’s now greater economic mobility in Europe than in the United States.”
But ultimately, giving is not a contest of who gives more. It’s a contest against yourself, if you can, give when you’re compelled to give regardless of how much people in your socio-economic class give. Give from the heart, not to keep tabs.
Do You Have Prejudices Against The Poor?
Hopefully you don’t.
Sadly, some people do.
According to brain scans conducted by Susan Fiske, a Princeton University scholar, “high-achieving people see images of poor people and process them as if they were not humans, but things.”
While hopefully none of us have gone that far as to dehumanize someone just because of their bank account, we can admit that at some point in our life we’ve wondered about the events that have led someone to be poor.
We’re told that “you study hard, you work assiduously, sacrifice for the future, obey the law, and create your own fortune,” as Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof say in their book A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity. But with the most recent depression that the world has experienced, no matter how much you tell yourself this story, this is no longer true, particularly if you were negatively impacted by monetary limiting beliefs in the womb, in your childhood or even in your adulthood.
“If you’re born in a high-poverty neighborhood to a stressed-out single mom who scolds you more than she hugs you, in a home with no children’s books, you face a huge handicap.” -Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof
The University of Minnesota, has shared that “the kind of parenting a child receives in the first three and a half years is a better predictor of high school graduation than IQ.” This can be great if a child’s environment is stable and abundant, but if it’s not, you can help.
So at a minimum, give your compassion and your understanding.
Are Charities Trying To Do Anything Different?
Yes, they are.
According to Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof “Researchers are developing new evidence-based approaches, and more charities are starting to measure and track their results, so there is an emerging science of how best to make a difference.”
Charities are also becoming more efficient at saving lives and breaking the poverty cycle.
By overcoming disease and reducing malnutrition.
For example, The World Bank, which is an international financial institution that helps developing countries, wants to “eliminate extreme poverty, which was the condition of the great majority of humanity for most of our existence as a species, by 2030” sixteen years from now.
“We don’t have perfect tools or endless resources, as individuals or as nations, but we can do better if we put our hearts and minds to it.” -Sheryl and Nicholas
This includes the hearts and minds of everybody regardless of their socio-economic status.
So now, do you see why I’ve been talking about what a huge difference YOUCAN make for the last several weeks?
Helping someone in need is no longer something that you can put off until you’re better equipped to help. You can help NOW. Donations and eradicating poverty is no longer a utopian dream, it is a very possible reality we can see if our lifetime, if we remember that the life of others is worth the same as our own.” -Haydee Montemayor
More than money, eradicating poverty takes heart. It takes caring. It requires the straightening of priorities. It takes your committed love, my committed love and the commitment of as many caring people as possible.
What Types of Investments Are Charities And Organizations Finding Work Best?
According to a prior chief economist of the World Bank, Lawrence Summers, “Investment in girls’ education may well be the highest-return investment available in the developing world. The question is not whether countries can afford this investment, but whether countries can afford not to educate more girls.”
So whenever possible, invest in the education of girls because they are prone to be the best hope for the world.
What If I’m Worried That My Money Will Be Wasted?
Based on what we’ve heard from our friends and family, sometimes, we are scared to give money for fear that the people we give it to will misuse it for their own addictions.
Yet, as Nicholas Kristof says, even though poverty has a cycle in which hopelessness leads to self-destructive behaviors, “Learned helplessness be unlearned” through micro loans and entrepreneurship training even for poor people.
Through business opportunities and training that teach people action steps for creating a future in which people can learn how to sustain themselves, you provide hope and you help break the cycle of poverty.
The benefit of helping women establish businesses has been studied. In their book Half the Sky, Sheryl and Nicholas state that “Evidence has mounted that helping women can be a successful fighting strategy anywhere in the world, not just in the booming economies of East Asia.”
Can Something As Difficult As Eradicating Violence Be Achieved Through Your Involvement?
As impossible as eradicating violence may seem, the answer is yes.
Even in the most dire situations, there is a very cost-effective model called Cure Violence that has been implemented in Iraq and Columbia, that has had success given that it has reduced serious violence by 25% or more.
Think about how much that saves lives and fosters a little bit of extra peace! And this is just the beginning, because this model could potentially reduce homicides by 70%.
What If You Were On The Receiving End of Charity?
As tough as it may be for you to think that you’ll ever be on the receiving end of charity, the likelihood of it happening is greater than you think.
As Sheryl and Nicholas eloquently invite us to consider:
“Let’s remember that the difference between being surrounded by a loving family or being homeless on the street is determined not just by our own level of virtue or self-discipline but also by an inextricable mix of luck, brain chemistry, child rearing, genetics, and outside help.”
“Let’s recognize that success in life is a reflection not only of enterprise and willpower but also of chance and early upbringing, and that [most importantly], compassion isn’t a sign of weakness but a mark of civilization.”
At some point, and the earlier the better, you have to stop thinking that life is about us vs. them, or you vs. me, but instead of “we.” This has been happening for the past 250 years, but it can produce much better results than it has… not only in quantity-wise, but also in quality-wise.
For example, “today, almost any university bulletin board will have a poster appealing on behalf of some faraway group, but in historical terms, that is a recent phenomenon. There’s probably more regard for chickens and cows today than existed a few centuries ago for slaves or foreigners.”
And when said that way, the question is, are we capable of having as much as or more regard for our fellow human beings than we have for our fellow animals.
I believe the answer should be yes.
So it’s not about how much we help, but how well we help. And the best way we can help is with love and dignity.
What If Your Effort to Give Fails?
Isn’t failing at something kind better than not trying? Of course.
Besides, kindness, love, compassion and hope will never be a failure.
The hardship in the world isn’t an excuse for us to throw our arms up and think, “oh well, I can’t do anything to help.”
On the contrary, “some of the greatest successes the world has experienced have come from movements to address inequities or injustices, from slavery to hunger.”
As late author Randy Pausch suggested in his book, The Last Lecture, (which is one of my all-time favorite books), “brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. ”
I truly believe, as much as I’d like you to be loved and be happy, that there comes a point in which each and every one of us realizes that we can never fully be loved, feel fully loving or be fully happy knowing that someone is suffering, because their suffering, really, fundamentally and at it’s core is our suffering.
And this is not just sweet talk.
“If you scan the brain of a person who is injured and also that of a witness to the injury, the areas activated are similar; at a neurological level, we are pained by other people’s suffering.”
Why Does Giving Opportunity to Women Benefit Us All?
You probably have heard from authors, entrepreneurs or leaders that what will reshape the world positively are women.
I absolutely agree.
This isn’t an issue of males vs. males. It’s a matter of observing the trend.
Even in these last decades, where women have been oppressed, no matter how difficult and traumatic their life experiences have been, many of the survivors are literally heroes.
They have overcome the types of negative experiences that most of us only see in nightmares. They have obtained jobs and established businesses.
And what have they done with the money that either they’ve earned with all their effort or have obtained from the support of others?
They have used the money to support their parents, support their younger siblings, get married, raise a family and save for the future education of their children.
In a nutshell, they’ve saved people. And by saving their families, they are restoring hope to villages, cities and nations worldwide.
Imagine if women didn’t have the courage or the resilience to do this?
How much worse would the world be? The answer to that question could very well be the nightmare that we should most fear.
So, if there is any group of people who deserve mentions from movie stars, rock stars, private concerts, media attention, visits from presidents and lifetime benefits for their work, it’s these women.
It’s one thing to go into battle and kill, it’s another to live in emotional battlefields and love. -Haydee Montemayor
The women whom I’ve talking about have transcended their oppression and have become an inspiration to families, friends and generations.
Many entrepreneurs I know want to improve their business earnings, simply to be able to have the honor of helping women who show us what it means to honor love.
What Will Be The Outcome Of Your Act Of Giving?
You’ll have a surprising outcome.
“Our efforts to help others have a mixed record, but they have an almost perfect record of helping ourselves. – Nicholas Kristof”
Why? The person who will most be helped will be you.
According to research studies, when you give, receive, have intimacy or eat find food, your brain lights up in the same way. So in essence, being altruistic, is one of the most “selfish” things that we can do, due to the fulfillment it brings.
Sheryl and Kristof, therefore invite us to “think of giving back not as a dreary means to a tax deduction, but as a chance to inject meaning, wonder and fun into life.”
As a matter of fact, there are many institutions that provide a fun setting for their donors and obtain donations in that setting such as through dinner fundraisers and parties. So you can have lots of fun creating awareness for these issues.
When we participate in this path of hopefulness, we discover that it’s a path of fulfillment. “Typically, we start off by trying to empower others, and end up empowering ourselves, too.”
What Are Your Wisdom Tokens?
So, are you inspired to help?
What has been your greatest inspiration in the last few weeks?
Of course, giving is a very personal thing, and ultimately whether you decide to move from inspiration to action will be totally up to you.
However, you can create a new family tradition of giving. On Tuesday, December 2nd, the Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you can join in on spending a bit of cash on causes that you deem worthy. For reference, you can revisit, the prior post called How You Can Help Women and Children To Show Them Your Love . After all, that day is considered #GivingTuesday. But then again, every day of the year is a day to give.
Please share your comments below and share this post with people who might love to be part of the #Giving Tuesday fun.
Much of this Love and Treasure blog talks about the love issues that exist both within you and outside of you.
A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about whether or not it’s a good idea to watch the news. I said that it’s not a good idea if you are just interested in watching the news and doing nothing about what you’re seeing.
It is, however, acceptable to watch the news if you do something about the news that you watch.
I’m not suggesting that you raise $50 million dollars for every bad news story you watch… although if you have the know-how, by all means, go ahead.
What I mean is that if you’re going to watch the news, and put that upon yourself, watch the news with an open heart and give to causes that speak to you as often as possible.
“we crave meaning and purpose in life, and one way to find it is to connect with a cause larger than ourselves.”
So, what current event touches you? Infuriates you? Saddens you?
What college humanities course that explained our social interactions did you sign up for and still remember?
For me, one of those courses was gender inequality. Coincidentally, that course was also linked to love. It was a fascinating course that I couldn’t get enough of.
It’s until now, though, that I’ve become aware of just how much it impacted me. But then again, I kept the college textbooks for that course. Pretty telling.
What human issue fascinates you?
What Does Helping the World Mean?
Helping doesn’t have to be done out of sentimentality, although sometimes it is.
Giving is “a source of fulfillment, even joy,” Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn contend.
Best of all, giving doesn’t just help the needy person, it improves the mental and physical health of the person who gives, to the point that their life expectancy increases.
Giving helps the person who GIVES, not just to the person who receives.
When we give, we can live for one more day, many more days, or many more years to keep on loving and being with the people we love.
Ooohh. It takes a while to wrap one’s head around that one.
Maybe those we loved, and who are no longer with us, lived longer than they were expected to live because they gave.
What a blessing that is!
Of course, we never want to lose those we love. Ever. But focus right now on the cup half full and notice that your loved ones who have passed possibly lived more, and that you were maybe able to spend more time with them all because of kindness they gave.
Deep breath. Wow. Makes you speechless, almost, right?
Kindness was a gift they gave that gave them life. And that gave you love.
Are We Really That Connected?
Yes. We are connected to the point that it’s in the literalfiber of our being.
Nicholas and Sheryl found a study on how much our relationships with one another support our own ability to live. “One study on mortality following 7,000 people found that the risk of death among men and women with the fewest social ties was more thantwice as high as the risk for adults with the most social ties, independent of physical health. Maybe this deep-rooted social element in all of us explains our yearning for a life of meaning. We wonder about our purpose; we care about our legacy.”
And coincidentally, that’s what I spoke about in a recent post, What Is Your Greatest Contribution to Society? which talks about what your greatest legacy is. We want to know that the love that we’ve given is in the hearts and minds of those we gave to and will remain there after we’re no longer here.
Giving increases our health and it increases our purpose for being. “Altruism is a powerful force for health and happiness alike, and it seems to be deeply embedded in human neurochemistry.”
So while you may be wondering how to give, what to give and whom to give to, as you can see, your own essence is eager for the opportunity to give regardless of the specifics because giving is it’s nature.
In other words, aren’t your problems tiny compared to the problems faced by other women in the rest of the world?
Of course, having this realization doesn’t invalidate your feelings about a problem.
It also doesn’t mean that if you are ever treated badly and are going through one of the unfortunate situations mentioned in that article that you should tolerate it. Instead, knowing the utter disgraces that some people are painfully living really puts into perspective how blessed the majority of us living in first world countries or countries that don’t have that degree of gender inequality are. But certainly, there is still work that needs to be done.
Sheryl and Nicholas believe that as Warren Buffet says, there is such a thing as “ovarian lottery” which is in essence, a lottery of birth, in which some people have better odds of making it. And Sheryl and Nicholas also believe, as they state in their book, A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity that “those of us who have won the lottery of birth, have some responsibility to use our good fortune to help address these fundamental inequalities.”
If we don’t help, “one of the strongest determinants of who ends up poor is who is born poor.”
It’s just like saying that whoever loses a game is going to be a loser for life.
And you and I both know that generalized “luck” statements like that aren’t fair. Just because we were born where we were does NOT mean, we don’t care for others who suffer…. or that we’re better than them.
Put bluntly, life isn’t just about you living a happy life and being grateful for it. It’s about helping others live a better life with your help– with or without your money.
Help does not always come in the form of money. Nor should it.
We have to throw love at the situation, not just money.
You Are Much Richer Than You Realize
No matter how insignificant you think that your contributions may be, remember that what you have to give and who you are is alreadyenough.
Do you have hope?
Do you have a proposed solution?
Do you have knowledge?
Do you have empathy?
Do you have love?
Then you’re a super billionaire, emotionally speaking.
Why? Do you have any idea how many people don’t have any of the above qualities and who need more hope, a possible solution, knowledge to improve their situation, empathy and your love?
What you have doesn’t seem like much, until you shift your perception… and realize how emotionally RICH you really are and how you can share your emotional richness with others around you.
Still don’t believe it’s enough?
You don’t have to take my word for it, let’s take a closer look at what the experts say about your ability to give.
Giving Is Simpler Than You Think and Grander Than You Realize
While the stories from their first book, Half the Sky, which I shared in my last post Why Doesn’t the World Love Women Enough?, may seem dismal and may leave you thinking that you have absolutelyNO idea where to start and how to help, believe it or not, there is hope simply because you’re reading this post, right here, right now.
Nicholas’ and Sheryl’s newly released book, A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity, is a thorough resource that can fully help us feel more empowered to give. The fact that it’s already an Amazon #1 bestseller helps prove that they really can help everyone get over how little they think they have to offer and just simply help others in need.
“We sometimes paralyze ourselves with the conviction that global problems are hopeless, but in fact this should be a remarkably hopeful time to be alive” – Nicholas Kristoff and Cheryl WuDunn
In the first chapter, you’ll realize that giving, no matter how much you can afford to give DOES make a difference. This is not just wishful thinking. It’s a fact. And it’s been confirmed in research.
In essence, the more people there are that travel in the path of hope, the stronger and more prevalent, hope becomes.
And while the stories presented in both of their books mentioned are heart-wrenching, my intention in sharing them is not to host a pity-party.
It’s an invitation that Sheryl and Nicholas also make you to participate in the movement that is well under way to continue to unleash the freedom and power of women through opportunities that should already be available in their life.
It’s an invitation to give them a gift of equality, that inherently, is already theirs and for some reason, we have allowed their surroundings to rob them of.
“Not everyone can help fight crime in a city’s worst neighborhoods or volunteer in schools, so most of us, are left to engage in piecemeal efforts such as a donation here or there. Like many Americans, we have day jobs, we need to keep, and we have been busy raising our children; that has left us looking for great causes and people to support in modest ways.”
“This book is about innovators who are using research, evidence-based strategies, and brilliant ideas of their own to prevent violence, improve health, boost education, and spread opportunity at home and around the world– and to suggest to the rest of us specific ways in which we too can make a difference in the world,”
Which Charities Should You Focus On?
Nicholas and Sheryl believe that a great amount of impact can be made when you give to charities that focus on spreading opportunity and evening out the playing field for as many people as possible because inequality both in the United States and abroad is continuing to grow.
What this means is that if you can help someone remedy an issue that will improve their quality of life for years or decades to come through early medical operations or entrepreneurial support, that donation, in and of itself, has more positive repercussions overall, than “funding hospice care for dying cancer patients, protecting abused animals, bolstering the arts, supporting one’s church or temple, [or] making a wish come true for a pediatric cancer patient.” While Nicholas and Sheryl believe those are commendable efforts and endorse them (so do I of course), based on the research they’ve done, they highly recommend focusing on spreading opportunity.
Sheryl and Nicholas decided to focus on expanding opportunity worldwide, because talent is universal, but opportunity is not.” They’ve seen talented people around the word, who unfortunately don’t have the opportunity that you and I may have.
How Soon Should the Help Start?
As soon as possible.
Many times, children who are just BORN are further behind and have inequality already stacked against them.
Due to their gender, nationality, socio-economic status, birth “defects,” their parent’s education, their parent’s ability to read and love of reading, and the trials that the family is facing at their time of birth, there are children who are born already behind based on the expectations of their life.
It sounds harsh to think of a child born in these types of conditions as someone who’s already behind, but with love and dedication we can give them more opportunities to succeed by enhancing their education as much as possible and making sure they have their basic needs met.
Therefore, the capacity for change starts in utero because the capacity for change decreases as the years go by especially after the first 1,000 days of life which equates to 2.78 years of life or 33 months. And the capacity to change should start early because, Sheryl and Nicholas say, that in part, humankind’s past failed efforts to break the cycle of poverty has been because the help has come too late.
What Should We Help With?
Health is such an important part of our well-being that we often take it for granted.
There are many environmental conditions and birth defects abroad that are super non-issues in 1st world countries, that it never occurs to us, how much help we can give by helping with an easy, no brainer, inexpensive solution.
Did you know that 50 cents, yep, $0.50, can help deworm a child in the developing world and as a result, that child has a better possibility of going to school, as an adult will be less sick, less anemic, getting educated, learn 20% more by the time they become an adult, and making a life for themselves? FIFTY CENTS!
You can help someone live better thanks to deworming for a penny a week
I’m sure there’s more than fifty cents stuck in your couch, in the bottom of your purse or thrown in your car.
This organization also allows you to provide an impoverished family clean drinking water for a year for only $1.98.
And an amount like this doesn’t only provide clean hydration, it actually reduces diarrhea by 40%, which is a major factor in child deaths.
In Africa, there is a type of excruciating blindness, trachoma, that many people have that can be reversed with just $40.00! Forty dollars!
As Nicholas Kristof says, “You may not be be able to solve the global problem of blindness, but you can solve the problem of blindness for one individual, and for that person, it’s transformative.”
This is especially so, when you consider that the pain caused by trachoma has been compared to the degree of child birth pain. Imagine having that pain for years.
This operation, conducted by Helen Keller international can be done in 15 minutes.
In 2014, Helen Keller International once again received a 4 out of 4 star rating from Charity Navigator, which made Helen Keller International rank in the top 2% of all U.S. charities.
Charity Navigator is the U.S. premier charity evaluator that analyzes the financial health, accountability and transparency of charities. You can use this tool to evaluate any of the charities that you give to via a simple Charity Search bar on the main page.
Clubfoot, which is simply when a baby is born with their foot or feet pointing in the wrong direction:
Is one of the most common birth defects, with 1/1000 babies being born this way
In the U.S. or Europe, if a baby is born with clubfoot, he/she will be health in one month with the help of corrective casts
Yet something that can be fixed in 30 days, can actually prevent from people standing or walking in some other countries
Unfortunately, this leads people with clubfoot to be stigmatized as disabled or cursed.
And as a result, children with clubfoot don’t usually attend school
And they have little opportunity to work
Or to get married
How do they survive? By being beggars
And if their harsh life just because of a tiny impediment weren’t enough, these people are often objects of shame and ridicule
And all the while, a mere $250.00 simple medical intervention through an American aid group such as FirstStep
Keep in mind, that even with the more expensive medical procedures, you can always give whatever amount you can, and that WILL help someone be cured.
One Of The Best Gifts Is The Gift Of Education
In the United States, a program called Reach Out and Read, “gives books to young children and advice to parents on reading to their kids to promote brain development. The program substantially increases the vocabulary of the children, as well as the proportion of parents who read regularly to their kids.”
You can establish a scholarship foundation, or simply give a teen money to go to college. There is always a well-deserving teenager who comes from a financially struggling family that you can support.
If you’re from an impoverished nation you can simply visit your native country once again and talk to parents and children bout the value of education.
You can volunteer on iMentor without spending a cent.
Empowering Women Has A Track Record of Being One of the Best Investments
For $400, the group American Assistance for Cambodia can provide females who have been trafficked a cart and a starter kit of items that they can sell as a street vendor.
If you’re a business owner, offer more women jobs.
Never Underestimate the Power of Kindness
Even kindness helps and it can be spontaneous and given as often as possible.
How Can You Streamline Your Giving Process
You can create your own giving foundation through Giveback for $1.00. It’ll make keeping setting up fundraisers, donating, and keeping a record of your donations very easy.
How incredibly touching, isn’t it— that with five minutes of your time… you can change someone’s life, forever.
What Does Saving One Life Cost?
Although it seems bizarre to ask this type of question, because everybody’s life is so precious, here are the “costs” of a life, for the purposes of preserving it.
Bill Gates has found that for $2,000.00, he could save a life.
One simple life-saving intervention that has worked in Kenya consists of providing children vitamin A (which prevents blindness), zinc, other micronutrients, and antimalarial bed and immunization for $2,000 or less. This is what most people spend on premium coffee in a year.
And these costs are not random guesses. People such as Susan E. Horton, from the University of Waterloo is an expert on these calculations. She says that, “If you can save a life for $5,000, that’s still pretty incredible.”
But that’s something that I’ve always wondered. How much do we value another person’s life?
Based on how we spend money collectively and individually, it seems as though we don’t value each other enough. But what if it were us?
What if we were in dire need, and someone preferred to spend money on a thing, rather than our life?
Of course, we’ve all done this… mostly unconsciously. But now we know better. We know we can help. Not out of eternal self-sacrifice, but out of love.
For me, each person’s life is priceless, but it’s good to know that for $5K, they have the chance to beat the less than ideal odds of surviving that they are faced with.
And remember, you don’t have to be the one who donates the full amount of $2,000 or $5,000, but if you donate whatever amount you can, you literally will save a person’s life.
And although I know you don’t want the title, in a essence, you’ll be a hero.
How Can You Motivate Others To Give As Well?
That’s easy? Make it FUN and let them know how much you’re enjoying it.
Most importantly, make them part of the giving process.
Remember, every month, you can give thanks for everything you have and give. In other words, you can celebrate thanksGIVING all year round. 😉
Let’s Talk About A Possible But Silly Roadblock: Donation Overwhelm
Did you know that according to Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, when it comes charity, the likelihood that you donate money increases if you see a picture of 1 person whom you can potentially help.
But, if you see that person, plus one of their family members, the possibility that you open your wallet and donate decreases. Why?
It’s not that you dislike people’s families (especially when you don’t even know them), it’s that inherently, you want to make a difference to 1 person, especially when you think that the amount you’re donating isn’t enough.
No matter how small you think your contribution is, you can convince yourself that you’re able to help 1 person, but when you see 2 or more people, you start feeling more doubtful that what you can give is enough.
You think you cannot do enough.
You think you cannot give enough.
But it’s not all about you. There are people who need our love so much, that your courage to give is literally their last lifeline.
So give, to one or to many, but give.
Better yet, just give. Don’t focus on the number. Give to reputable charities and let them divide the money how they need to.
How Do Your General Issues With Money Affect Your Ability To Give?
Quite a bit, actually.
Even if you do decide to donate, there’s often the question of how much you should or can afford to give. And if the amount you can afford to give isn’t enough in your mind, you often don’t give at all.
You sabotage your own efforts to help. And you know what? You can help much more than you think you can.
To focus on others.
Simply put, no matter how small your amount is, it’s more than the people who need your help already have.
Even if this were not the case, think about it this way:
You have things, right?
Do you ever get upset when somebody buys you a sticker, an item from the Dollar Store, an any item from Walmart, or a trip of a lifetime?
No, right? What you have almost becomes irrelevant. Just because your possessions have more value than the gift doesn’t mean that the gift is not appreciated or worthless. A gift is a gift. Money is money. Money is energy. Time is energy. The best energy is love.
So get over yourself, and make someone’s day and possibly life a little brighter.
Two Extra Ways You Can Help
Although I love certain charities dearly and think that what they’re doing is amazing, most likely you’ve heard of them already.
I want to share two that perhaps you haven’t. Even if you have, perhaps you can introduce that charity to one more person in your life so that they can get excited about giving as well.
As we’ve learned, if there is anybody who needs our support in the world, it’s females. Dream, Girl is a documentary that inspires girls, and even women to dream a bigger leadership dream for themselves.
Their slogan sums it up beautifully. “Let’s stop telling girls they can be anything they want to be, and show them what it means to be a leader.”
If you have daughters or nieces or even a wife who isn’t sure that she can be a leader of her destiny, be on the lookout for this documentary (by signing up for Dream, Girl newsletter perhaps) and have them watch it.
The Ways You Can Give and Whom You Can Give Are Endless
But don’t let this discourage you. Rather, you should be ~~~excited~~~ to be able to make a difference. If you are, I’m sure you’ll automatically want to share this article with someone you know.
Forward it to friends and have those friends forward this to their friends. Like a chain. But a chain that inspires and helps the world.
Remember this: giving is hip, it’s cool, it’s a blessing, and it’s a form of love and grace that WILL help the people who it’s meant to help.
Just like you’ve gotten help at the most crucial moments in your life from whom you needed to get help from, your act of giving will be perfect for someone. It really will.
It’s Your Turn
What is your favorite way of donating?
Which donation cause intrigued you the most?
Leave a comment below and share. I’m excited to hear from you.
Imagine if you were about to be born as someone else, in another part of the world, and with another family.
Perhaps you would:
Only go to school until you were about 15 years old before you had to drop off in order to work to support your family
Sign up to be a dishwasher only to end up being raped and converted into a prostitute against your will
End up working for free even as a prostitute despite your need for money
Be drugged by your boss so that you didn’t retaliate against being raped
Be punched by your boss to the point that you had scars across your face
Be ordered by your boss to stay naked all day for 7 days a week 15 hours a day in your role as a prostitute so that you had no place to store your tips
Be forbidden to ask your “partner” to use contraceptives
Not be given much to eat because you were told that men don’t like to pay to be with fat girls
Be hit continuously by your boss (sometimes with fists, with belts, with sticks and with iron rods) until you smiled constantly so that you didn’t retaliate as much as you wanted to and for you to be able to fake happiness because you were told that men pay more to be with a girl whose eyes don’t reflect that she’s been sad or crying
Be threatened constantly by your boss that you had to cooperate or you would be killed
Be locked up in an apartment by your boss in a 10 story tall building so that you didn’t escape your own “home”
Risk your life balancing yourself on a board between your window and a window in another building’s window so that you escaped from your own “home”
Go to the authorities in this country but would soon find out that they’re against the basic human rights and dignity of the individual because the authorities would take you back to another place where your sole function was to be a prostitute all over again.
These are all of the things that you could experience as ONEperson, in a short amount of time, as many girls in real life have, if you were born in a couple of Eastern countries where many people nowadays travel to for sheer vacationing pleasure and boast that they went there.
And even if governments have helped eliminate some of these types of brothels, the problem either as a whole, or in individual parts, persists.
What Is Likely To Be The Greatest Moral Challenge of the 21st Century?
Of all the problems that there can be in the world, gender equality in the developing world, is most likely to go down in history as being the greatest struggle of our century.
In addition to being the right thing to do, promoting gender equality is the crucial to combatting global poverty.
It’s a unique moral challenge which will benefit the world greatly for generations to come once it’s resolved, and thankfully, it does have a solution.
What Are the Effects of Unequal Medical Care for Girls?
As harsh as the scenario above is, in the book published in 2009 called, Half the Sky (which is where the scenario above comes from), Pulitzer prize winning authors and human activists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn state that a human right study found that “39,000 baby girls die annually in China because parents don’t give them the same medical care and attention that baby boys receive.”
This means that in some instances, if a baby boy gets sick, he’ll be provided medical care, but if a baby girl gets sick, the parents might wait until “tomorrow” to see how the baby is.
What this results in, is that between 400-800 girls die unnecessarily in China every week due to this negligence. Yet this hardly had made the news as of 2009.
In India, essentially the same thing has happened.
Girls need to be more ill than boys to be taken to the hospital.
The fact that mothers refuse to vaccinate girls in India (regardless of where you stand on whether babies should be vaccinated or not) has resulted in about 25% of female deaths due to negligence.
Girls who are between ages 1-5 in India are about 50% more likely to die than boys of the same age.
This translates to approximately one little Indian girl dying every 4 minutes.
As it’s shown in these two examples, your gender could greatly influence your life in some of eastern countries. So much so, that literally, your ability to survive, your worth, and how much you’re loved would depend on just your gender.
Even today in 2014, “almost half the kids born worldwide this year will have strikes against them— they’re girls in societies where that is a handicap.” *Gulp* I don’t know about you but that is just a hard truth to swallow.
These girls, “lack access to decent schools, they’re born in violent vortexes… making it extra hard for them to live up to their potential. They are the losers, but so is the world, for it is robbed of their contributions”
As Half the Sky points, out, “the global statistics on the abuse of girls are numbing. It appears that more girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they were girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century. More girls are killed in this routine “gendercide” in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the twentieth century.”
If that doesn’t bring tears to your eyes, I don’t know what will. As I’m typing this I’m teary eyed. And as a mother, it hurts even more. So if you are ever blessed to have a baby girl, consider that a blessing, because I’m sure you wont perpetuate what seems to be a curse on females.
What Device Was Used By Some Nations to Alleviate The “Burden” of Girls Being Born?
Believe it or not, ultrasound machines. The fact that these machines can reveal the gender of a baby at one point made abortions in India and China more prevalent, just because some parents believed that they no longer had to have daughters.
As a result, doctors and ultrasound technicians were prohibited from informing mothers their baby’s gender. However, approximately 15% of these unwanted baby girls, eventually died as infants.
What Becomes of Many of the Chinese Ladies Who Were Once Unwanted as Babies?
You know all the items that you buy that are marked “Made in China”? As of 2009, about 80%- 80% of the employees in China’s assembly lines are female.
You can see this as either positive or negative.
The positive is that this type of work, is part of their empowerment.
The negative is why are more females than males working in this type of work?
According to some factory managers, women are more obedient and work harder than men. Their small hands are “ideal” for some of the arts.
Are Women Worth Feeding?
In places like Ethiopia, there are what’s known as an “emergency feeding station.” At any given time, dozens of children may be there to get some nourishment.
Why? It’s not that the males in their family don’t have enough to eat. It’s that parents often believe that the males in the family should be given priority when food is scarce.
Even with emergency feeding stations trying to help, each year, 2 million girls die worldwide due to malnourishment.
Is it Worth It to Buy Medicine for Women Who Are Ill?
Although the answer to this question should be an obvious “yes,” in some countries, when women are sick, they don’t receive medicine because they’re seen as replaceable.
And if it’s a matter of saving a son or saving a wife, many men would opt to save the son.
For How Much Money Or Property Are Women Worth Marrying?
As of 2009, South Asia and the Muslim world, hold “bride burning” every 2 hours as a punishment for not having enough dowry (money or property brought by the bride to her husband on their marriage). This eliminated the bride so the man could remarry. Yet news coverage like this wasn’t popular.
Girls Are Literally On Fire
Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with the empowerment portrayed in Alicia Keys’ song. In some Middle Eastern countries, 5,000 women were literally lit up for disobedience over the span of 9 years.
Since it was family members doing it to other family members, nobody seemed to do anything about it.
But Not All Men Are Evil And Not All Women Are Nice
Although a conversation such as this may seem like it’s anti-male, it’s not.
There are fathers, in prostitute-drenched cities in India who have valiantly defended selling daughters into prostitution to violent groups even though some of these groups have destroyed the family’s home.
And there are organizations such as the Apne Aap Women Worldwide who support these families who support their girls.
In India, there are also brothel leaders who are not men, but matriarchal women.
What Makes the News?
Journalists cover what’s “new” for a particular day, but the injustices and oppressions that have become “routine” are often not cruelties worth mentioning to them. But as Sheryl and Kristoff say, it’s not just journalists who sometimes neglect these types of stories, but government assistance as well. As of 2009, less than 1% of U.S. foreign aid is specifically targeted to women and girls. This is one prime situation where knowing where our nation’s money is going is important, as well as knowing who the worldwide involvement is really helping.
What Do You Mean There Are Women “Missing”?
The degree of disregard, disrespect, oppression and plain murder against women has been such that there are some countries such as China, India and Pakistan, were there are more males than females.
Biologically, this is not normal, given that even in poor countries, usually, there are more women than men. Worldwide there are more females than males.
How many women are “missing,” you’re wondering? As of 1990, there were more than 107 million women missing. And while that number may seem like ages ago, for the children or family members who’ve lost those women, time hasn’t erased the loss.
Newer studies around the year 2009 calculated between 60 million to 101 million women missing. And as each year goes by, 2 million additional women disappear as a result of gender discrimination.
How Does Discrimination Against Women in the West Compare to Discrimination Against Women WorldWide?
According to Nicholas and Sheryl, these are the inequalities:
In the West
It’s usually unequal pay
It’s usually sexual harassment
Underfunded sports teams
In some areas of the world
Discrimination is Lethal
How Fast Are We Losing Women?
There are 1,440 minutes in a day. In each minute, of each day, 1 woman falls prey to:
intimacy trafficking, forced prostitution
gender-based violence (including honor killings and mass rape) and
What Is the Most Detrimental Result Of Prostitution?
In India, about 2 to 3 million prostitutes experience this hopelessness and resignation to being prostitutes.
Although a 2008 study found that in India half of the prostitutes enter the industry unwillingly, there are some women in their twenties who are willing to sell their bodies in order to feed their children. Even those who start unwillingly, eventually accept this as their destiny.
They do so because they believe they don’t have the skills to do anything else.
Worse yet, they feel too stigmatized to be able to keep another job.
This is what approximately 10 million women prostitutes in China feel, although more of them become prostitutes willingly and even go to hotel rooms, looking for business.
Why Does Learning About Woman’s Oppression Matter?
In the upcoming weeks, we’ll be exploring how you can help alleviate this gender pain that has gone relatively untreated for far too long.
In the meantime, if you’re a lady, be proud of your sisters all around the world who are such an inspiration of triumph and resilience.
If you’re a guy, love women around even more and treat them like you truly love them.
What Benefits Can Investing in the Empowerment of Women Have?
Many of the remaining issues can also be positively impacted. According to the United Nations Development Program, “Women’s empowerment helps raise economic productivity and reduce infant mortality. It contributes to improved health and nutrition. It increases the chances of education for the next generation.”
What Are Organizations That Have Seen The Power of Women Saying About Women?
Women are the key to ending hunger in Africa.” – Hunger Project
Progress is achieved through women.” -founder of Doctors Without Borders, Bernard Kouchner
There are organizations like The Center for Global Development, The Nike Foundation and the Novo Foundation who have females as their main hope of world development.
It’s Not All About the Economy
While supporting women’s education and entrepreneurial ventures helps the economy as a whole, our main motive for helping women should not be to gain benefits.
Goldman Sachs, who generously gave $100 million to the “10,000 Women” campaign that focuses on providing 10,000 women a business education said that “Gender inequality hurts economic growth.”
I say that , “Gender inequality hurts hearts, overall happiness, and overall hope in humanity.” Not just of the women who struggle, but of every man or woman who has a heart.
Women, no matter how great group of workers they are, are more than just workers. They are not the hard-working machines that will dig us all of the economic hole that we’re in.
Yes, they can work hard, and are capable of that feat.
But women are sooooo much more than that. They’re human beings. They’re divine spirits.
They come in the form of mothers, grandmothers, aunts, daughters and sisters.
They are the people who raised the greatest male and female leaders that humanity has ever known.
Why? Because they’re invincible leaders.
The greatest tragedies suffered by humankind, have been in situations or in countries where women have been marginalized.
As a matter of fact, the countries that today pose the greatest threat to world peace are precisely countries where women participation and empowerment is low.
Even the military agrees that empowering girls, would disempower [the people who make our airport security measures change from one color to another].
Women don’t tend to breed hatred. They tend to breed love.
And for that reason and more, we should not view them as pleasure-giving machines either. A women’s sexuality is theirs. It does not belong to their partners.
Women can and should choose to have or to not have women, to have or to not have intimacy.
Ultimately, the money that they do earn should be used in a way that they want. Women are not “obliged” to give back, although often, they’ll happily will.
Time To Share Your Treasure Tokens
The best thing that you can do with your time for now, if you want to help is to buy A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity so that you can immediately educate yourself to give voice to the voiceless and help where you most think it’s called for. There will be a new documentary coming up, next year, which you can help support by finding the details in the book.
If needy people help, so can you. 🙂 Please come back and write what you’ve been inspired to do once you read the book or even just as a result of reading this article or watching Marie Forleo’s wonderful interview.
In the meantime, love women in your family the best they can. They deserve it.
Admit it. You are. We all are. Until… we face our own truth and the truth of others.
Put bluntly, we are often all cowards when it comes to love.
We focus on protecting our hearts. But we hardly ever focus on how the hearts of the people close to us, and the hearts of the people on the other side of the world are doing.
When It Comes To Love, We’re Inconsistent
It seems that there is a dichotomy in which we privately focus on love, but publicly pretend that we’re focused on other things. Our egos feel safer that way, we don’t want to be perceived as “softies,” as if we were marshmallows.
Conversely, there are people who publicly focus on love and privately focus on other things. Mmm, that’s not being a softie, that’s often being a “fakie.” In other words, these people are not walking their talk.
But perhaps, it’s because love overwhelms them.
Love Overwhelms You
It does. Admit that aside from being self-centered, that love is overwhelming to you.
You think you’re doing the love thing right, but in all honesty, you don’t know:
Who to love
When to reveal your love
When to hide your love
How to love
When others should mingle in your love life
What to do when you have issues in your love life
Why to love
How much love is too much love
And the list could go on.
What’s important to acknowledge is that the overwhelm comes because you don’t know how to best use this thing called love. You’re told that:
It’s the greatest thing you have, but you don’t quite know what do do with it.
It’s your greatest compass but you don’t know where it should take you.
It’s your greatest gift but you don’t know who to give it to.
It’s your greatest treasure but you don’t know who could benefit the most from its richness.
It’s Not Your Fault That You’re So Messed Up (Or At Least Clueless) When It Comes to Love, But You HAVE TO Take Responsibility Anyway
You’re conditioned, as part of your consumerist society, to want more. And when you’re asked what you want more of, the answer usually always is more “things.”
You think that a better house, the newest gadget, a fancier car, a third vacation for the year, or name-brand clothes will make you happier.
As you know, there is often a short-lived happiness even when you do get “more” of those “things” you chase after because instead of being utterly grateful for what you buy for yourself or that others gift you, you find something else you want to buy.
So it’s not the money or the things that will make you happy. It’s the experience that money can bring you and help you give others.
Just to clarify, It’s not that buying is bad. It can be a great thing.
The issue is how much you idolize buying and material things to the point that when someone asks you, “What do you want more of?” you don’t usually say that you want
More love in your life
To help more
To be of service more
To donate more
To connect more
To listen more
To be present more
To live more
But even if you’ve been conditioned by society to say that you want things more than you want connection, you know that connection, meaning, and love is what you’re really after.
Focusing On Love Publicly Requires Vulnerability
What is it then, that makes us often prefer things over people?
When it comes to romantic love, we are all ultimately walking around scared to death to be the ones who love the most and who potentially get hurt in the end.
Our egos are on alert.
Because we’ve been hurt, thank you very much.
We all have stories of when we loved someone and they didn’t love us back. So we hold back our love.
Yet we don’t hold our love back from our children, because we think they’ll never hurt us. Until they do.
And perhaps it’s then that we realize that it doesn’t matter if they hurt us.
Our love can be unconditional.
How Do You Limit Your Love in Friendships?
Even in friendships, you have a “limit” as to how many times you can tolerate inviting someone to your house or for an outing and have them say no.
You are also scared to invite someone who seems to always be busy and live by his/her calendar. You think you’re not worthy of their time.
You crave connection, but you’re scared of rejection.
Rejection hurts. There is no doubt about it.
And The Cycle Goes On
And on, and on. It’s not just partners you limit yourself in loving, it’s your friends, it’s your family, it’s your job, it’s your gifts, it’s your worth, it’s your impact, it’s your neighbor, it’s your community, it’s the world and ultimately it’s you.
What’s the Stupidest Reason For Not Sharing Our Love?
The saddest reason why you don’t do more with your love is because you don’t want to feel silly for loving too much or appear desperate for seeking love too much.
Deep down, you think your love is worthless.
You are so scared that it’s worthless, that out of shame you hide it well, and pull it out only in situations where you think that doing so is absolutely necessary.
The simple act of thinking that your love is worthless shatters you inside.
Because you’re torturing yourself.
Your love can never be worthless, it may not be perfect, but it’s never worthless.
So you hide it.
Well let me tell you that regardless of whether someone is open to your love or not, you gotta stop hiding it.
A Problem Well Stated Is A Problem Half Solved
If you have the courage to admit that you have a problem with love, you’re half way to resolving it.
And that’s good news for you.
But there’s a much, much, much, much, muuuuuchhh bigger issue going on in the world than in your own petty life that requires your attention. Immediately.
The World Is Suffering
You might say, “duh.”
But what I want you to take away is that the world is suffering in such a way that YOU CAN help.
There’s Always Lots of Ways We Can Focus on Love And Learn to Perfect It
This week, I learned more about love and the power of love that I’ve learned in a long time.
Marie Forleo’s MarieTV blog.
This week, she interviewed a couple who she’s so inspired by and who has tremendously inspired me as well.
In the upcoming weeks, I’ll be sharing with you some realities that will make your issues or whatever you think is the world’s worst issue, to seem like they’re a non-issue.
It’ll be a journey into love like you probably haven’t experienced before. But which will help the world, big time.
So How Can You Be Less Self-Centered?
Before I wrap up, I’ll leave you with two little gifts that are inspiring me to become less self-centered. Feel free to share it with your friends.
If you’re still worried that your love isn’t enough, your contributions can’t possibly be enough or that you aren’t enough, I’m telling you right now, STOP IT! You literally, for real, and more than ever don’t have any idea how lucky you are.
Brace yourself, because in the upcoming posts I’ll prove that to you.
Time To Share Your Wisdom Tokens
In the meantime, tell me in the comments below:
Why do you think people are not focusing enough on love?
What do you think leads to self-centeredness?
And if you’re feeling really brave, tell me:
Do you think you can overcome or have you already overcome self-centeredness?
Last week you received an invitation to talk about love. And I sense that you’re a little apprehensive in talking about love. That’s why this post will talk about:
Why talking about love is natural
Why talking about love can be beneficial to everyone you love
4 Scenarios Where You Can Influentially and Safely Talk About Love
35 ways to talk about and communicate love
Perhaps you’re interested in talking about love, or perhaps you’re simply interested in hearing about love because you feel you’re not prepared, you feel you don’t have the knowledge or the courage to talk about love. Or if you do have at least some ideas about what you’d like to say about love and to whom, you’re simply embarrassed to talk about love. You question how people will react to you, and thus, you’re uncomfortable doing so. You perhaps believe you are going to inconvenience people by talking about love. But you know what IS an inconvenience? Not talking about love and not communicating with love. Why? Because whenever you speak or communicate, there are three ways you can come across. You can either come from a fearful/hateful mentality, an I-don’t-give-a-darn mentality or a loving mentality. In a nutshell, you can respond to the world badly, indifferently or kindly.
As you’re starting to see, if you hadn’t already, speaking from a loving place doesn’t mean speaking in flowery, poetic and falsely sweet language. It’s about speaking your truth while honoring yourself, other people, the circumstance you’re in and the world at large. Believe it or not, talking about love and with love is a way to provide service to the world. Not doing so, negatively affects yourself, those around you and the world. Think I’m exaggerating? Imagine a world where everyone communicated with love almost always? We wouldn’t have the social or political issues that we have now. So that little thing called love, isn’t so little, anymore, is it?
4 Scenarios Where You Can Influentially and Safely Talk About and Communicate Love
While it’s important to talk about love and with love almost everywhere, there are four scenarios in which that doing so will yield the best results. These are: when you talk about and with love to yourself, with your family, with your community and with me.
Speak Lovingly to Yourself and Lovingly Take Care of Yourself
The relationship that you have with you is truly important and even though you KNOW that intellectually already, if you’re like most people, you often are more inclined to listen to or help someone else than to help yourself. While it’s very commendable that you’re so generous, the more you are in tune with yourself the better influence you’ll have on others and the more help you can be for them.
When you think of how you can love yourself you think you can love your body, your personality, your achievements, your mind and your soul. Guess which one you should take care of the most? Your mind. And it’s the hardest one to positively impact… yep, even harder than loving your body… because:
You don’t feed your body even half as much junk as you feed your mind.
And of course your soul is important… but if you took good care of your mind, you wouldn’t affect your soul. Besides, your soul is the brightest part of you anyway.
It’s especially important that you radiate love to yourself when you:
see yourself in the mirror
make a mistake
failed (whatever that means, anyway)
are at your wit’s end
are trying to relax
accomplished something you think is insignificant, but others are grateful for
are in your own haven such as your bedroom or entire house
you lose/gain weight
you find an internal or a physical imperfection in yourself
Avoid judging yourself, because it’s impossible to judge and love yourself simultaneously.
You most likely can relate to the fact that you’re your worst enemy… which you are. But guess what? You’re also you’re only enemy because in sum, you teach the world how to treat you and if you’re not willing to treat yourself right, why should anyone else treat you right? It starts with YOU. The more genuinely you love yourself, the more empathy you’ll have for others and others will have for you.
Be Especially Loving to the Crowd that’s Most Likely to Retaliate When You Do Things Out of Love
Talking to your family and friends about and with love may seem like it’s all going to be give-give-give, peachy and well received. Let me tell you it’s not. Above anyone else, and because of the influence you have on your family and your family has on you… the best way to love your family is not by giving them all they want simply because they want it. It’s a matter of giving, withholding and taking away in the manner that most closely matches what they need the most for their most beautiful evolution. For example, if you have a child, a niece/nephew or a grandchild, you know that giving them everything when they want, where they want and how they want it is not going to allow them to flourish, instead it will, as we say, “spoil” them…. not in a way that implies that they’re bratty, but rather in a way that truly does not allow them, their character, their intelligence, their emotional intelligence or their empathy to expand.
It’s especially important that you radiate love to your family when they:
Want something that you’re pretty sure is not in their best interest
experience negative emotions toward you or toward others
experience positive emotions toward you or toward others
are seeking your approval in a positive way
are sad, whether they’re verbally or nonverbally expressing that sadness
don’t share their emotions with you
are too self-sufficient and “strong”
share too many of their emotions with you even though it may be overwhelming for you
are not in the “stage” you’re in, whether developmentally, intellectually, mentally, spiritually or emotionally
The reason why talking to your family and friends about love isn’t as easy as one might think is because they expect the world from you. They love you, and therefore, want to feel unconditionally loved, supported and understood by you. They want you to witness their pain in a way that honors their soul and their individuality.
Be Generous With Your Community
Of all the scenarios where you can express your love, this is for many, the most difficult. As you know, you can support your community by volunteering your time and donating money, both of these require some degree of love… but in case you’re thinking you have neither time or money to give…you do have an abundance of one thing and that is simply love.
There are many different ways to serve your community with love. You can:
Encourage and support your community leaders
Be nice to every community member regardless of socioeconomic status everyone from the homeless to the mayor
Contribute to Fundraisers
Hold doors for people
Respect and/or beautify public places by at least keeping them clean
Abide by laws and regulations that promote the enjoyment of the community environment
Not only is it good to do the positive things for everyone as much as possible, but it helps tremendously if you
don’t gossip about them
don’t plot with others to humiliate them
don’t sabotage them.
If you don’t like what they’re doing propose something better and investigate whom to talk to so that your ideas don’t fall on deaf ears.
In the process, be humble. Some of your ideas will make a difference… and others, will sadly be too “utopic” for them to be implemented… at least for now. But keep dreaming, and keep acting in your own life as someone who moves forward and maybe, just maybe, people will notice. Even if they don’t, you’re still doing what’s best for you and your family…. and your family can someday in some big or small way be the messengers of your vision.
Talk About Love With Me
Talking about love isn’t easy, but I definitely know that it beats the alternatives. Since this site is focused on love, and there is a tremendous need for us to talk about love with ourselves, with our community and with our family and a whole lot of openness and courage that is needed for this, I am encouraging you once again to feel free to contact me via email, snail mail and social media to talk about love. If you’re having trouble or you’re having successes in talking about love and with love,.I would LOVE to be in the loop about what you have to say, therefore, you can use the hashtag #loveandtreasure in any of the major social media forms.
Here is a list of links that you can use to stay connected:
I’m writing to invite you to talk about love as often as you can, with as many people as you can.
How: Talk about love when you communicate verbally, nonverbally, to yourself and to others, whether they look like you, talk like you, feel like you, love like you, believe in what you believe or not. Of course, you’ll have to stand up for yourself from time to time, but even when you do, do so from a place of love
Time: You’re free to talk about love as often as you can, you’re free to live in the vibration of love, and therefore act in loving ways with those around you even more often than you do right now
Place: Talk about love or communicate with love everywhere, without dwelling on the fact that it might be the unpopular thing to do.
What we’re Celebrating: The reason I’m encouraging you to talk about love is to inspire you to make a shift in all the areas of your life and of our world at large by focusing on and acting from a place of love.
When you love, you feel good. When you act from love, you do good. Both benefit the world.
When you deliberately seek to feel good, without harming the people around you or harming yourself, you attract to you an infinite amount of blessings which you in turn can give to others.
You feeling good brings wellbeing, grace, illumination, hope and faith to those around you.
When people are inspired to explore their highest potential, imagine all the positive change that can come from it.
Why we’re Celebrating: Love is the answer that many of us seek, but cannot see. It’s what we ask for, and do not answer the door when it knocks. With love at our core, we can literally change our life, change the dynamic of our interlinked lives and change the world. It is worth repeating that love makes us feel good. And when we feel good, we don’t seek to be fulfilled by things that leave us feeling more empty and strip the world of its inherent joy. When we feel feel good, we’re more willing to serve, to create, to uplift to inspire.
If you accept this invitation to talk about love, perhaps I don’t physically see you putting love into practice, but some way, some how, I’ll feel the energy that YOU helped make more loving. Incrementally, the world will start to talk about love thanks to you. The world, or at least your world, will realize the importance of love, how we’ve taken it for granted, and what a powerful force it is to shift our ability to create a better life for ourselves by simply following our bliss, as Joseph Campbell so eloquently inspired us to do. When we watch the news or anything that perpetuates negativity we consciously or unconsciously fixate on the negative, and therefore increase our creation of more negativity. Totally not what we’re after is it? 🙂 Besides, all the tragedies in the world will not help us shape our loving world, as I stated in a prior post, it’s easier to learn lessons the easy way, such as through love, than the hard way, often expressed as tragedy.
So join me in spreading the importance of love in the best way that reflects your talent. Acting loving in as many circumstances as possible may seem like the weak thing to do when there seems to be so much danger, adversity and negativity in the world… but remember that the world is as you see it. If you believe in love, and spread love, love is what will abound in your life. Throughout history, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mother Teresa have believed in love without limits… and notice how their efforts live on. Nowadays, you have sublime people like Dr. Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Oprah, and Louise Hay that believe in love like I believe in love and I’m sure you do too. Together, famous or not, when we talk about love, we can really make the difference… and making the difference through love, is what this blog is about.
So please join me, in spreading love in the way that feels the most joyous to you. You don’t have to R.S.V.P. and you’re free, or rather encouraged, to bring a friend with you along on this journey. 🙂 All I ask is that you leave a comment below stating why you are interested in joining me.
When something negative happens to someone as a result of what we consider a decision based on poor judgement, we often say “Hopefully, he/she learned his/her lesson,” sometimes sincerely, sometimes judgmentally. We also say, “I’ve learned my lesson,” often as a last resort when all is said and done and when we can’t change what’s happened. Our solace and consolation after a challenging life event, oftentimes is that we do learn. Sooner or later, we understand what life is trying to tell us. However, have you ever wondered if in fact we need to suffer greater tragedies or go through something truly difficult before we learn?
Is Life a Fair Test or Does it Just Want to Fail Us?
I don’t know about you, but I would much prefer to learn via a positive experience, somebody else’s negative experience, intuition, common sense or life’s little hints that something is off. And we do get those, it’s like someone throwing a cotton ball at us to grab our attention, then a pebble, then a stone, then a brick, until finally, if we have not paid attention or done anything about this situation, the whole brick wall comes tumbling down on us.
What Lesson Do You Want to Learn, the Easy Way?
The number 1 thing I would like to learn how to do very well, without any tragedies attempting to teach me any so-called lessons, is to appreciate life and love even more than I do. It is through this appreciation that I can show my love to others, be truly present for them and be truly present in our life to enjoy this gift called life.
What do you want to learn, the kind way? If you stop to really think about it, what type of lessons has life taught you recently? How to value family more, friends more, money, job, health, freedom or something else? What kind of “grades” have you gotten in each of these areas? Do you need life to test you rigorously in your worst-performing areas in order for you to “prove” that you’ve learned what you need to learn? So, knowing what you want to learn, and the fact that you most likely don’t want to learn things the hard way, why is it that many of us wait until someone dies, we get divorced, we file for bankruptcy, we lose a family member, we lose our friend, we lose our child’s respect, or we lose our health, we lose the ability to enjoy the simple blessing that we have at our disposal each day, or we’re about to lose our life before we show that we truly care about that which we lost or about to lose? What on earth are we waiting for? That may depend on your circumstances and your mentality, but you want to know the ultimate lesson that life is probably wanting to teach all of us? That we shouldn’t take things for granted. Nothing is a given. We “deserve” nothing. We’re entitled to nothing. That promotion, that vacation, that salary, the car, the cruise… isn’t yours forever. Nothing, belongs to us. As trite at it may seem, we really do need to value the presents in our present while they last. Now, the point here isn’t to become paranoid… the point here is to become truly joyful and loving… NOW, when it TRULY matters. Of course, some of these life events where we experience loss are inevitable and sometimes, as hard as they may be initially, they’re even the best thing for the people involved, but if we’re feeling guilty or remorseful about whom or what we lost, it probably means that at some point, we weren’t appreciating or treasuring to the degree that we wanted to or that we know the other person needed.
Those degrees of separation between being at peace with something and not being at peace, is what hurts— it’s what damages us, and it’s what traumatizes us. We feel we were so close, and yet we were so far.
While there are times when we can say with quite a bit of conviction that we’re the victim of our circumstances, most of the time we’re not the victim– we are the conscious or subconscious perpetrator of our life circumstance. Most situations that result in us hurting, came about because we took the important things in life for granted. This brings us to the question, if we know that it’s absolutely unnecessary to suffer greater tragedies before appreciating life and love, why do we not act like we know this? Is it because it takes more courage to love, be present, be active, be involved, than it does to experience the pain that we get if we distance ourselves from whom and what we love? That’s a question truly worth exploring. In other words, why do you subconsciously or consciously allow the tragedy to happen before you act? After all, if we care enough about ourselves and we take a moment to listen to ourselves, our feelings, and sense our intuition, you can almost immediately pinpoint what’s wrong with your life. Maybe “wrong” is to harsh of a word. You can pinpoint where you’re not interacting with life and with others to the degree that you would like and where you can appreciate life and love more. You may choose to ignore this awareness, but that’s your decision and it doesn’t mean that your feeling is not there, or that it’ll go away just because you don’t want to deal with it.
Waiting for a tragedy to strike so that you can “confirm” what you already know is an utter waste of time and of your potential.”
If you know that a job is going nowhere or a relationship is going nowhere, then, whatare you waiting for?!
In life, we meet, court, go after, and eventually “marry” situations that we think we want. However, we can often feel it inside ourselves if what we’re going after is worth it, or if it isn’t. Yet for some absurd reason, we think we have to complete the cycle with everyone and everything. Let’s face it, not everyone and everything is deserving of this great commitment of ours. But yet, we choose to not do something about the dissatisfaction that we’re experiencing. That’s why there are unhappy strangers celebrating their 40 year anniversary; there are people who died today who never fulfilled their dreams because they were too busy being responsible; most of us live with junk that we bought which we’ll never use; and there are unhappy, unfulfilled and overwhelmed parents raising unhappy, unfulfilled and overwhelmed children. Worse yet, we often don’t realize that in our pursuit of following everything that doesn’t matter or that doesn’t provide us with true happiness, we plague our world with joylessness. How sad! Can you see how this emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual baggage that we’re carrying around is insane, something that affects us all and will continue to affect the generations to come unless we wake up and practice true love and true appreciation with one another and with our collective world? Of course you can see this!
You are an A+ student in this school of life, so for the love of anything or anyone you think is worth loving, don’t wait to fail another of life’s “grueling tests” so that you can become “enlightened” after-the-fact, to do what you know you should do today.“
Be the great friend
Be the loving parent
Be the caring spouse
Be the bold entrepreneur
Be the one who gives time lovingly and generously
Be the one who gives a damn about the hunger and poverty in the world
Be the one who questions the garbage we’re teaching our youth and falling for ourselves
Be the one who takes care of your wellbeing– YOU are your best doctor
Be the one who believes in your dreams- no matter how unrealistic they are or seem
Be the one who makes your dreams happen so that we can all continue dreaming
You have such a full and rich life already regardless of what’s going on, that despite what the world may think and what you may have foolishly accepted, you don’t need a guest called “Tragedy” in your life. Trust me, been there, done that… you really don’t. If by chance, Tragedy does come, make sure that you are living today in such a way, that due to the enormous amount of love you give, that loving people can help, console, support and ease your pain during an inevitable tragedy. If nothing else, make sure that your mentality attracts as much positivity into your life as it can and is able to deal effectively and efficiently with Tragedy. If it must, let it come in, accept it’s offering, which is usually a lesson that you already knew, and quickly show it the door so that it can exit. Dwell on love and appreciation because ultimately, your circumstances are filled with trivial details trying to teach you what the important lessons of life are.
Share Your Wisdom Treasures
So after analyzing whether you personally do or don’t need tragedies in your life to learn about what matters in life, what proactive measures, if any, are you willing to take to demonstrate that you know the lesson?
It only takes a glimpse of your to-do list, your social media presence, your calendar, your conflicting appointments and the world at large to know that your life is overflowing. It’s full of commitments, full of errands, and the term “scatter-brain” should be your affectionate nickname.
In the grand scheme of things, however, IS your life full? Do all of the things that fill up your to-do list, your social media profiles, your calendar, your time, your life, your heart, your mind and your soul fill you up? Really fill you up? If they don’t, you’re absolutely not alone. There are billions of people who feel this exact same way. We’re focusing on the ingredients of life… the minutia, instead of focusing on the celebration of life cake. We can even throw the cake out of this scenario and know that it’s absolutely enough to just be in the present. But when are we present? Where are we right now? As you know, we are everywhere but here. We are literally, mentally, psychologically and spiritually scattered. Therefore, we are hardly ever present to enjoy our life. You know what also is sad? That we expect to enjoy our life and have joy based on our external circumstances, instead of our internal ones. We’re not valuable because of how many things we checked off our to-do list, how many friends we have on social media, how many people like what we say on social media or how many social invitations we get each weekend. There’s so much more to you than that.
If you really observe your life, you’ll discover that:
“It’s not that you can’t keep up with your to-do list. It’s that your to-do list can’t keep up with you because your mind is constantly creating, thinking, analyzing, envisioning and realizing the hundreds of things you “have” to do.”
And the question is not where your to do list is when you’re getting an avalanche of thoughts of this kind, but where love and doing the things that matter end up. Do they even get a prime spot on your to-do list? Or your life?
What Should Your Life Be Full Of?
You are probably reading this with the hope that I have some magical answer for how to be more present and for how to feel more joy? (After all, if you’ve read this far, it’s almost like a miracle… I know you have so many things “to do” 😉 ). And as simplistic as it may seem I do have an answer that can be magical if you apply it well in all areas of your life. That answer is love.
Why Should You Start Talking About What Your Life Should Be Filled With?
Of course, how you can apply love to your life is too broad of a topic for this one post. For now, though, I want to leave you with 5 do-or-die reasons why having a conversation about love is important:
1. First of all, you need to come to terms with a perhaps rude awakening and that is that you literally have sooooo many things on your to-do list, that even if you did nothing else in life, you would probably still have plenty of things to occupy you the rest of your life. So, the concept of love, as basic or grandiose as you think it is, NEEDS to be part of your life. This means, you have to make time for it. It’s not like you can wait until the rest of your to-do list is finished, before you feel you can focus on love. You need to call the people you love, see them, spend time with them, cherish them, give them you. Give them love. And if they say that they don’t have time for some of your loving. Insist on loving. Making loving them your priority. And analyze this: Why do you think they’re so “addicted” to being busy? Have you ever considered that if they didn’t feel busy, they would probably feel empty? Have you ever considered that that’s the reason why your social calendar is that full? It’s sad and surprising to even come to terms with either one of these rationalizations. The key here is, that instead of being someone who is waiting for LOVE to knock on your door, and rescue you from your to-do list is super naive. It’s not gonna happen. There is no “Love in Shining Armor.” YOU have to create time for what matters.
2. And please, don’t give me the “But really, I don’t have time” excuse. If you find the time to gossip, to talk about the latest reality show, to obsess about cleaning, to argue, to watch sports, to watch movies, to talk about what you’re going to bring to the pot-luck, to engage in politics, to talk about or participate in office politics, the watch or talk about news, to comment on what the latest celebrity said on a social media site, then you certainly have time to make love your priority. Haven’t you heard yourself lately? Haven’t you caught yourself and heard a little voice saying, “I can’t believe I’m talking about this stupid subject” when you’re spending time with your loved ones? That’s your intuition that knows that you’re wasting time.
3. As hard as it is to admit it, you know what your intuition is reminding you of? That we’re not eternal. So either you do and say what you’re meant to say right now or at the next opportunity that the moment is “good enough” instead of waiting for the nonexistent “perfect moment” or you run the risk of never, ever, having the opportunity to say it at all. You can die today. Your loved one could die today! What are you waiting for!?
4. On a larger scale, negative energy is taking this world nowhere productive. Of course, you can say it’s taking us down, but that’s why I specified that it’s taking us nowhere productive. You have two options with every choice you make. Either you take the fear/hate route as you do something or you take the love route.
Which one do you think will take you further in life (not that we’re focusing on your needs right now)?
Which one do you think will make the best difference?
Which will allow you to leave a meaningful imprint or legacy for those that have had the privilege of knowing you and having you in their life?
I know and you know that anybody can act negatively and perpetuate fear and that they’ll instantly feel powerful doing so. That’s what cowards and wimps do. That’s the easy route. Anybody can hate easily, but not everybody can love easily. Yes, they can love, but it takes courage to love. Courage comes from the French word, “coeur” which means “heart.” If your heart keep you alive, why shouldn’t you want to keep the world of our dreams alive? And no matter how impossible it seems to be to attain it, help create it one choice at a time?
5. I hope that all of this is helping you realize that love is the topic that should be trending on your favorite social media sites. You know where else love should be trending? On your everyday day-to-day “mundane” actions, meaning in your life. You maybe think that you’re so insignificant that you choosing to live more love-consciously will not matter. But you know what? You’re wrong. Haven’t you stopped to think about the power of love? Don’t you know that if today you chose to love someone instead of being indifferent, hating or feeling any other not-so-giving feeling, that you would make a difference? You can either make a difference to that one person or (if you can think this highly of yourself) you can make a difference to the whole world. Put another way, when you make a difference to one person, you make a difference to the world. We are all energy. That’s no joke. So either you uplift our collective human consciousness or you bring it down. It’s all based on how you treat one person.
Why Should We Take the Time to Talk About and Apply Love?
We need to address what’s important in our world by talking about love. Love is the common thread and the common denominator in all of our lives. All the political issues that are driving people nuts around the world, boil down to love. Love impacts how a farmer farms and how he treats his animals. That in turn affects the energy that we receive from our nourishment and how healthy we are. Love affects whether or not a doctor does everything in his/her power to keep you or a loved one alive. Love affects our oceans, our pollution, and the people who have just died out of hunger in this short time that you read this post. Love matters to your child who needs your embrace, to your spouse that needs a caress. Love matters to the underdog, but it also matters to the CEO. Love should matter to everyone and matter a whole lot, because it is essentially our best gift, our remedy, our answer and our saving grace. Either we use love to keep our personal and collective well-being afloat, or we don’t use it and sink in misery, despair and indifference. We’ve all experienced both sides of that equation on a microscopic level in our own life and we know that we’re much kinder and much smarter than to let the latter happen, so start seeing love as a unending treasure, because it really is. Without further delay, give it away.
Now It’s Your Turn to Share Your Wisdom Gems
This blog is not my soap box. It’s a platform to honor love and converse about it. So, I’d be thrilled to hear what you have to say about it. Please share this article with your friends so that more people can join in on the conversation.
Do you think that you are ready to learn more about love? Why or why not?
Do you think the world is ready to learn more about love? Why or why not?