For the early part of my life, I struggled to show people that I cared. They only saw the forgetfulness and assumed that I was aloof or indifferent. They were sure that I wasn’t paying attention.
I always cared, though, and tried to show it. Caring actually does double-duty because it makes you feel good as well as those who receive it.
Caring means being there for someone in their time of need. It’s the recognition that someone needs help and shouldering part of the load. You may not have concrete answers and solutions for them and that’s okay. Sometimes people just need to talk through their issues and vent their frustrations. Other times, they might want to make sure they’re approaching things from the right mindset. Their situation might not have anything to do with you but your being there can help them manage their dilemma.
Listening is a great way to show that you care. Ask someone how they’re doing. Be engaged in their stories. Give them eye contact and your undivided attention.
Failing to care—or share—is like holding a seed of your love in your hand. If you don’t put the seed in the ground and give it water, sunlight, and air, it will never grow.
My experience with education in the formative years of my life lacked real achievement. So when I say I graduated from high school and was unprepared for life, that’s where I was. I had to find a way to overcome the limitation in my own way. That realization was the key for me. I had to figure it out for myself. The thing that worked for me was an attitude of humility. Humility—the quality of being free of arrogance or pride!
Humility changes the dynamics of any situation in a way that minimizes oneself so that you can get the good out of it. One of love’s biggest sacrifices is acknowledging the reality that you could be taken advantage of and in spite of that possibility, you still do it.
The person opposing you, for example, could appear to be the victor—and that’s the sacrifice necessary to love. With humility, the situation can be neutralized in a way that benefits all.
No one can “take” something that’s been given to them. The only thing that you can do is to know yourself enough to understand the reason people want to take advantage of or try to hurt or harm you. There’s only one reason: They don’t know how to love. They’re trying to protect something they don’t even own, and they’re trying to take advantage of something that’s not theirs to take.
Fearing people’s opinion or thoughts isn’t the answer, however. Love allows you to be open, to humble yourself. It requires that you be secure in who you are.
Humility has allowed me, the kid who struggled to retain words and sentences in school, the kid who threw tables and chairs and tried to deflect and hide from his problems, to put his truth into writing and share it with the world because I don’t want anybody to feel the way I felt.
You have to be courageous to stare down difficulties without fear.
Courage means being unafraid to die, knowing that your life has (or should have had) impact for the greater humanity. It means facing a difficult diagnosis with bravery. It means making the most of every moment—because our tomorrow is not guaranteed.
The conclusion of life should hold a loving legacy for others to treasure. Each of us has a beginning and each of us has an end. If we don’t value the conclusion, then we’re always fighting in this time frame. We’re essentially trying to avoid the end which, of course, is impossible.
What influence have you had on people?
How have you used that influence and impacted others?
How have you improved humanity?
Ask yourself before you near the end of your life experience.
Your influence might not be as enormous as some others but it should be enormous to those you love.
Sacrifice means giving up something for someone else’s benefit and putting their needs ahead of yours.
It’s also loving without fear of loss —willing to give everything you have
I learned about sacrifice from my time in the military. Military service requires you to know how to sacrifice your whole existence. You sign on the dotted line, saying you’ll give your life for the greater good. It is the essence of love in a nutshell. Sacrifice is love. You’re basically saying, “I’m going to give my life for others.”
During my nine years in the Air Force, I knew that I had value because the airmen next to me needed me. We couldn’t accomplish the mission without each other. And ultimately that mission could require the ultimate sacrifice. But whether we had to sacrifice our lives or not, the mission still had to be accomplished and our lives were part of that mission.
Can you imagine the potential if somebody else promised to do the same thing for you? When you make a sacrifice for someone else, it often leaves other people surprised—they’re not used to seeing someone willing to give of themselves totally for another. Sacrifice is the highest fulfillment of love.