Over the course of the past few days, while battling a hell of a cold, I had way too much time to think…

I started pondering how one defines the self, the identity we nurture and embrace. How much of what we do in life is for the self and how much is driven by love of the self?

We work at a career (or many jobs over a lifetime) in order to sustain our basic needs like food and shelter. Over time the desire to acquire things grows as we feel the need to justify how hard we work. It’s that thought process of hard work = rewards = satisfaction. We convince ourselves that the toys we own are well worth having in light of what we had to do to get them. I’ve known many people that have reached a breaking point, given it all up and decided to live as simple a life as possible. Sounds wonderful, yes? Reality is, making that adjustment is not only hampered by decades of conditioning, but we also convince ourselves it’s not feasible in current times. How often do we remove all of the external influences and ask ourselves, “what is best for me?”

We follow the rites of passage that define us as a civilized society…marriage and children. The marriage aspect is one that has been created as the foundation for having children (back in the day anyway). Children are necessary as procreation is how our species continues through time. Sadly children are the greatest victims in this formula. Some are not wanted, some are murdered, some are mistreated throughout their childhood. The sanctity of birthing and raising children has been lost in a society desperately clinging to inherent ideas. As a mother, I ask that never ending question on my mind…”at what point have I fulfilled my duty as a parent and can feel comfortable with living out the rest of my days following my dreams?” Parenthood is a lifelong commitment, and I think we take that commitment to an unrealistic level. There comes a time when decisions one makes in life have to be for the self.

Love…the most sought after emotion. This basic human need is the most errant quest we face. How often do we do things out of selfless love? Is there ever a time where we truly take ourselves out of the equation and do everything related to love for everyone but ourselves? I don’t think it’s humanly possible. Love is never really selfless. We want something from it. Some end result that gives us peace and satisfaction. We do things for the ones we love, and in the end there is an expectation. It is this expectation that often destroys relationships. There will always be the “me” syndrome when it comes to human interaction. What about me? What will you do for me? How will you show your love to me? Why can’t it be about me? This is by no means a negative thing as love is a give and take. It should be anyway. Sadly, not all people are capable of that circle.

I truly believe that until a person comes to terms with what the self wants and needs to flourish in life, we tend to flounder around out there, grasping at straws, hoping, wishing, praying to find answers. Embracing who you are (no matter who that person is), will likely lead to the greatest sense of serenity possible in the human mind and soul. It is a lifelong quest and may never actually be completed, but the journey is one of self discovery, and that is a miracle in itself. Loving who you are a little more every day, means loving humanity a little more every day, because each of us is an integral part of the whole.