1) Do for yourself …


<– Home 2) Give up the word “deserve.” –>

… exactly what the poor need to do for themselves.

On the one hand, I will shortly dispel the notion that wealth means you don’t have the same needs.

On the other hand, unless you do these things for yourself, you’ll never understand what they need to do for themselves — the what, the how, the challenges, the work.  Absent that, there’s no way you can possibly make yourself useful or helpful to them.

For better or worse, one lives in a world substantially of one’s own creation.

One’s first duty is to create a better world for oneself and one’s own community — the people you already personally meet from day to day, the people you can physically reach out and touch — a world of prosperity, harmony, happiness and joy.

Establish peace with yourself.
Establish peace in your home.
Establish peace with your neighbors.
Establish peace with your co-workers.
Establish peace with those whose politics you dislike.

In any of these settings, you may meet someone who is unwilling to make peace no matter how you bare your heart.  The task then is to accept them as they are, and love them anyway.

Like any poor person, I have the task every day of loving ugly people.  There may be ugly people in your world, too.  People can be ugly many different ways.  Love them.

The well-off can be needy, too.

The hardest learning of my years in poverty has been that I need to meet my own needs first.  This goes against the prevailing liberal ethos that one should care for others first.  But until my own needs are met, I really can’t do anything for anyone else.

Related:  Give from abundance
Related: When needs are met

This is as true for the well-off as for the poor, albeit (1) the trappings of material prosperity tend to mask emotional need and (2) the well-off are, in general, less emotionally needy than the poor.

The first emotional need is to love oneself, care for oneself.

Two handy indicators I’m aware of, of need among the well-off:
(1) Greed;
(2) Looking down on others.

(1) There’s nothing wrong with a strong desire for material possessions, in and of itself.  But if you make your happiness contingent on possessions, then you’ve misplaced your love.  Love yourself, not them.  A Jewish proverb:

Q. Who is the richest man in the world?
A. The one who is content with his lot.

Be content with yourself — first.  Then you can work on other things.

(2) That a person is ugly doesn’t make the person “less;” nor does the fact that you may dislike or disagree with the person.  Any tendency to look down on others, or regard them as “less;” or, especially, a feeling that one needs to take their dignity away from them; strongly suggests that one has insecurity as to whether one is, oneself, “enough.”

Every child of God is inherently “enough,” and has dignity enough, if one will only regard oneself this way.  To see oneself any other way is to choose to not-meet one’s own needs — a choice to be needy.

The very best I can seek to do for others, is to seek the very best I can do for myself.  This makes me ever-ready with the smile, the encouraging word, the helping hand.  The person who does this emanates love.

<– Home 2) Give up the word “deserve.” –>

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