“Do it from love, not for love” – Unknown
I read/saw this quote a few weeks ago, and it really shifted my perspective. I even took the time to make these words the background to my phone “lock screen” and it has been a constant reminder of something I’ve worked to become better about.
In reading those words, I looked back and was finally able to reflect honestly, and see how many times in my past (and present) I have done things in an attempt to get love, rather than doing something simply from a place of love. I would leverage a ‘good action’ during a specific situation, rather than acting in a true gesture of goodwill and I can now see how I used to do things simply in an effort to be liked, to make myself feel more worthy of someone, or just to be the ‘better’ person in the group or situation.
Although doing nice/loving/kind things typically ends in positive outcomes for both the person taking action as well as the recipient, it can begin to take on a more sinister form if we aren’t careful. We have to consider if the things we are doing are actually in an attempt to carefully curate a false identity to show the world, or if in some way it is an attempt to manipulate another party. I acknowledge there have been times in my past where I was no better off in the end than if I had never done anything nice in the moment, because the true spirit behind whatever it was became tainted by my secret reasons behind why I was doing it, and typically it was all very self-serving.
Since I put these 7 words as my phone screen, it’s amazing how impactful it has been. I have been stopped multiple times over by this phrase/idea and it has made me think twice about WHY I do things. This was not something that I expected, or wanted, to curtail my efforts to be kind, generous, or loving; however, I needed to better examine my own motives for the kindness. Did it come truly from a place of love, with no expectations, no wish for a matching (or greater) action/gift/measure, and no hope for something in the future? Was I doing this because I wanted to improve my own status in the eyes of the receiver? Did I feel guilty, unworthy, or shamed in some way? If I could answer yes to any of these questions, then whatever I was doing was the wrong thing. Maybe another idea/action or conversation needed to happen, perhaps I needed to wait and take a breather before I decided if it was a good idea. However it applies in your own life, I would challenge you to really look and see if you do things from love, or for it.