“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of every kind.” – David W. Orr
It’s the time of year when love is in the air. But this life coaching blog post isn’t about romantic love, love for one’s family or even love of one’s friends. Today I’m talking about altruism, cooperation, and caring for the vulnerable. I believe these are what make our species unique.
Love brings us the greatest happiness and peace simply because our human nature cherishes it above all else, and the need for it lies at the very foundation of our existence. However capable and skillful we may be, left alone we will not survive. However vigorous and independent you may feel, if you’ve ever been very sick or injured, you know: we all depend on the support of others at some level. The very survival of the very young and the very old demonstrates our profound interdependence. As a species, we just can’t shake this vital need for community.
What Stops Love?
Numerous sociological experiments have examined altruism, or people’s desire or ability to look out for each other. A famous 1976 experiment found that people were more likely to help a woman if they believed she was being attacked by a stranger rather than by her husband. The explanation drawn from this and similar studies is that people override their natural instinct to help because they’ve been taught not to get involved in “family matters.” Psychologists also say that the larger the crowd, the less likely people are to help each other. There are several theories to explain:
- assuming that since no-one else is helping, there is no need to do anything
- fear that helping will be viewed negatively by other people
- “diffusion of responsibility,” or believing that since no one else is doing anything, why should we?
Alone, people are almost always more likely to come to the aid of a stranger. Why? I believe that this is who we truly are, deep down.
The Life Coach Says: Love Your Neighbor
So this Valentine’s Day, I encourage you to celebrate love by helping someone less fortunate. Keep questioning your allegiances, self-imposed rules, the expectations of others, religious beliefs, or how race, class, and politics might factor into your ability to love and care for your neighbor. Live more from the heart, and in doing so, tap into your greatest power. Love simply begins with finding, honoring, and acting on that good side of our empathy, the one that makes us want to care for our elders, offer our seat to the pregnant woman, help the homeless man crying on the sidewalk or reach across the political aisle.
Find sacredness in both being a part of something, and in standing alone to do what’s right when necessary. I believe that’s what real love requires us to do. The very future of our society might hang in the balance.
Need an Ally in This Work?
Starting a Love Revolution might seem like a big task, but together, we can do it. Tapping into the power of love and our true power as human beings is what life coaching is all about. I am accepting a short list of new clients now. Schedule your free initial Life Coaching consultation today. We’ll chart the processes you need to harness your greatest power. Let’s explore how you can have what you want and live with more ease, freedom, joy and meaningful connection to those around you.
Contact me for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.