Blog moved to

Friday, July 2, 2010


Hunger for love and acceptance is a primeval craving in human beings, an inborn instinct, a powerful driving force.

How else do you explain the tears of a growing child who has been snubbed by his play-mates? Or the depressive withdrawals of a teenager who is taunted by her peers as being “weird” or different from them? Or the broken heartedness of a budding Romeo when his muse fails to respond to his declarations of everlasting love?

Or who can fathom the pain and self-questioning despair of a married woman jilted by her husband? Or the grief and silent suffering of an old couple whose children have abandoned them in pursuit of their own overwhelming interests?

Isn’t it because every person wants to love and be loved? Every person needs a kind word, a gesture of sympathy or some kind of solidarity once in a while, if not every time.

A little bit of love and approval shown by something as mundane as a simple compliment or a smile can do wonders.

Take a good look around you. Do you see that scowling stranger whom you meet every day at the park? Well, he may have that look on his face because his wife nags him at home and his boss gives him hell at work. Why don’t you go and make small talk? After all you see each other everyday, right? You falter? Okay, just go hang around him a bit, and when he gives you that grim look of his, flash him a smile…Chances are he may ignore you but the better and most probable thing he may do is smile back at you. There! He will feel better and you even better for making someone else’s mood better! Worth it, right?

Okay, let us go to work ourselves. The alarm did not ring, you are late for work and the boss is not exactly smiling at you as you enter through the office door. Worse, he grills you on work (not) done. You fume, you fret. You badly wanted to impress him since you joined the company. Since you can’t stick out your tongue at your boss and ask him to go to hell (not to his face, at least I would not do that) you explode at your colleague whom you had always found mildly irritating but used to humor anyway.

See the point? People are always hungering for approval, acceptance and love either in family, at work, in schools, anywhere and when they don’t get it, they react in different ways.

Some withdraw into their shells, some turn into raging bulls ready to gore down anyone in their way, some become show-offs because they feel inadequate, some go into manic depression, and some may resort to self-destructive habits or even go to the extent of manhandling others.

All these are varied reactions. But why? Most of the time it is because THEY ARE HURTING. And hurting bad. When you find yourself unaccepted by your own and especially by someone you love, whose affection or opinion you value, it hurts. Bad.

So what do we do, you ask? We can’t become saints and love and compliment every Tom, Dick and Harry we meet, right? No, of course not!! That is impossible, impractical. But we can start in small ways, right? At least within our sphere, our circle? That is not too much to ask for especially when we and the people we care for will be the greatest beneficiaries.

First thing, love God. I am not an atheist neither am I an agnostic. I am a Christian and I think that is the greatest blessing in my life. Love God, yes. And those of you who are either rolling your eyes or yawning, hold on.

I will not tell you to believe what I am saying…you can give me the benefit of doubt, I don’t mind. Not at all. But let me at least tell you that I love God because God loved me first and the fact that He is always there for me, not as some kind of unfeeling energy unleashed from somewhere in space, not some autocratic power ready to swallow me up, BUT a feeling, a loving, a compassionate yet a holy and intelligent supreme being, some one whom I can talk to, confide in, pray to….and BEST who is always there for me…well, that is one wonder I can never get used to, fellas.

Anyways, to get back to the point, when you are hurting, you question yourself, you question others, you question the whole world…..but loving God helps you love yourself and others.

Strange? Not at all.

When I love God, I know God loves me too. So being accepted by SOMEONE as perfect as God makes me love myself. I feel cherished, cared for, protected.

Now, the other part.

When you are not accepted, you lose self –respect, confidence, self-esteem. You may start indulging in self-pity (which is a costly indulgence if I may say, speaking from experience). Then when you don’t love yourself (not to the point of narcissism or egoism, there is a difference), you find it very tough to love others.

You may develop an aversion for company or you will go to any lengths to win approval or attention.

“I don’t think he loves me for what I am, it is better to avoid him”
“I don’t think he loves me for what I am. Maybe I should act like this, do this, be this….”

Got my point? Ultimately you turn reclusive or you go to the other extreme and become clingy and desperate, which is not love, it is DEPENDENCE. Or you try to act different, try to be someone you are not or you just try to stand out in a crowd.

Then hurting others and yourself stems from the same malaise-you are in pain.

“They don’t care for me so why should I?”
“I am a hateful person. Nobody cares for me.”

What is the best way to deal with such pain? Raw wounds, a dull ache or fading scars which are still sensitive to the touch?

I think the prescription is simple. LOVE.

You love others when you love yourself first. And to do both you have to love GOD. Simple.

So the next time you feel like pouncing on someone or launching a tirade, stop. Is he doing this to me intentionally? Or is it because he does not understand my point of view? Is it because I have done something wrong which I am unable to accept? Or is it because he is hurting?

And the next time you hate yourself, think. I have done something very wrong but I am human, fallible and when God has assured me of forgiveness, I think I should forgive myself too. I will try not to repeat this mistake. Or I will try to make amends.

Even as I write this, my friends, I tell you I myself can’t practice everything I have written all the time. When I don’t get approval or love from those I expect, I fall into various pitfalls myself but then I do think and TRY.

And trying always leads to growth. Learning. It is dynamism.

It doesn’t hurt to try.

Millions around the world are starving for physical nourishment similarly a lot of us are starving for love, a little bit of love and acceptance.

Are you one of them? Or is someone near you? Reach out. You can make a difference.

P.S. While hungering for love and approval is natural as I said earlier, it is good to learn some discretion. We can’t please every body. That is a well known fact. And while not being approved by some one not very dear to us may not cause much pain, there will be situations where how much ever we may try to be loved by a loved one he/she may not respond or understand. In such a case, you just have to move on….Human beings are just that- human beings…they are not the easiest creatures to deal with. But look UP- find comfort in God’s perfect unchanging love. (Because ultimately only HE is the greatest Lover).


No comments:

Post a Comment