There is a driving force in human beings to be seen as more special, more powerful, more successful, more famous, more popular, and more amazing than another. We want to stand out just a little more, be seen as a little better, recognised for this little extra that makes us different, unique and individual. It is a ride on the merry-go-round of disharmony, never providing the inner fulfillment so desperately sought and such a distraction from the grandness of our own love.
This desire for recognition almost has a momentum of its own, popping up in insidious ways. We can fool ourselves and think thoughts that “I don’t do that”, but with closer observation it is possible that we will find it there, playing out in our lives.
There is so much in our world where we can see this need to be recognised, the need to be an individual, not always in what we do but how we are about what we do. The vocally active mum who may boast about all her volunteer work at the school, the manager with a determined drive to turn the company around, the employee who works long hours to show how hard they work, the man who talks about his achievements, the child that brings out their awards to show visitors… the list is endless.
What can be felt here in all of this is a ‘trying to be something’ or a ‘trying to show something’. The need for an outcome can be felt, a demand for something that may not be directly asked. We need to ‘try’ because it isn’t natural for us to do these things.
If we are not making ourselves bigger, there is another option to achieve the same result to make us stand out as being better and that is to make another smaller. Just recently I considered some of the behaviours that we use to bring another down, and felt deeply into the ‘Why?’ around violence.
I watched a documentary of the days of the Roman Empire. The torture that human beings could impose on another human being was horrifying. It became clear to me, that once we separate from another in our heart, we have started the beginning of a journey towards the most brutal and barbaric behavior.
In modern days, this violence still plays out. We can consider the atrocities of war but what about the arguments in relationships, the demise of marriages that end in bitter and loveless court disputes, domestic violence, sexual assault, assaults on the elderly, invasion of homes, murder of strangers and harm to children? The choice to act without love, to dominate over another, permeates our society.
Separating ourselves by hardening our hearts from just one person is really just the beginning. It can pervade into broader groups of people, as we have seen throughout history and even today. Wars are started between nations and institutionalised religions, with groups divided by sexuality, gender and race becoming the targets of hate campaigns for no reason other than the category in which they have been placed.
This brutality and heartlessness comes into existence when we separate from the Oneness, when we see our brothers as competitors or without worth, and not the love that they are.
We judge others harshly, we use comparison to squash, we become riddled with envy over what another may possess, and we are consumed with jealousy when another reflects to us more loving ways than what we have chosen for ourselves.
All of this can lead to an apparent outrage, for we each try so hard to get ahead and be better than another, desperate for the stage, the congratulations, the thank you, the attention, the story, the outcome and the reward.
While our attention is so astutely invested in our need for recognition, there is something far more powerful, so accessible, and much grander that awaits – that is, our own love.
It is our own love that we seek more than anything, but instead we resort to all the other in a futile attempt to feel OK in the world and have the attention we crave. Settling for a moment of mere OK, instead of a life of amazingness.
We hurt so very much when the world rejects our attempts to be the ‘most’ or to get the recognition we feel we deserve. And it is these hurts that can bury us even deeper into further reactions and behaviours that stem from our desire to be individual.
Although our need for recognition exists, we do know we are so much more.
- We know that our own love is for all, not just for the one we marry.
- We know our children don’t belong to us, and that we have been given the role as guardians to nurture them.
- We know that the workplace will only prosper if there is love and brotherhood, and yet we set up and contribute to unhealthy workplace cultures, systems and play a part in conflict that ensures dysfunction.
- We know our family is far wider than our biological family, and yet we ask them to be everything for us, with expectations that they may never be able to fulfill.
- We know that violence is not acceptable, and yet we can use subtle and not-so-subtle ways to bully, dominate and hurt another.
- We know we are equal and knowing about all things, but we can choose to overpower or disempower each other.
If our connection is truly from love, there is no way we could be hostile or harm another. Our bodies would be incapable of such senseless acts. Even if the thoughts came through our head, we would know where those thoughts came from and that they did not come from love.
It is our responsibility then to ensure that the way we live and the choices we make come from our own love, the love that is true and that we feel in our bodies, not the reinterpreted love that is not love at all, but one many of us continue to live by.
This love is not something anyone can give to us: we build and connect to our own love and shine it brightly as a gift to others.
By connecting to the love that we are, we will not need to try, we will not need what we think we need, we will not harm, we will not control or overpower but we will feel grand, we will feel inspired and we will know just how amazing and beautiful we all really are.
By Maree Savins (Ass Deg Law; GradCert HROD), Project Support Officer, Tertiary Education, Australia