Everything is about me - about what I want or, when I'm "trying" to be selfless it's to please God or others so he (or they) will love me. Not often out of a sense of gratitude and love for God am I joyfully spurred to love those he loves but instead a deep insecurity that God does not love me because I'm not good enough and a never ending drive to gain his love and approval.
Have I ever *really* loved anyone selflessly, unconcerned with earning approval (by God or man) or filling the emptiness in my heart? Rarely. Only at chance moments with my husband, with my friends, with our dogs, and even with celebrity strangers that I pray for. Usually it comes about paired with pity or empathy when I sense one is victimized or hurting in some way and my heart yearns to comfort them and there seems to be no trace of selfishness in those moments.
How do I move past this now that I am aware? (And I am only aware of it this week due to a thoughtful question posed by our Monday night group leader on the topic of what drives us and gives us our sense of value.) I see only three options:
- I have to just stop caring about being loved. I don't know how to do this; how to give up wanting to be loved.
- God has to fill me up somehow so I'm no longer so desperate for love that I make it the focus of every interaction. He has yet to do this.
- I have to achieve a monumental level of self-denial and discipline whereby I do not hopelessly give up on being loved but I no longer allow it to be the focus of my interactions. Live with the emptiness instead of pretending I no longer care about being loved, yet still give my all to others for their sake. This is a level of suffering I'm not sure I can manage.
I really need to work on cultivating a love for others that transcends self and focuses on their best interests. At this point my problem seems purely practical in that I'm not sure at all how to go about doing this given the infeasibility of the three options noted above.