Why Love Is Up There With Oxygen

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OxygenPost written by Peter G. James Sinclair.

Remove oxygen from our world and we’re dead. The same goes for love.

Allow me to share a small part of my journey where I learnt some valuable lessons about the importance of this life-sustaining source.

I was only nine years old when my parents decided to take a twelve-year-old boy into their care. We first met David when he was living in a children’s home.

Up until then I’d been the eldest in my family, and my only sister was five years younger than me. At first I was quite excited at the prospect of having an older brother, but unbeknown to me it was to cause quite a few challenges in the days that lay ahead. For David, as a young boy, had experienced a lot of heartache and insecurity. Like all of us – deep down he was screaming out for love and for acceptance.

The very first day that he arrived at school with me, he was challenged to run against the fastest boy in the school. David rose to the occasion and won. By the end of that day he was the envy of the whole school.

He was a born sportsman and very handy with his hands. In contrast, I was learning the piano and tried to play a little soccer. When it came to athletics I was just plain average.

My dream at age nine though was to be like David. I admired him, but as time passed, and the pain of his past life rose to the surface, deep down I started to despise him and hate myself. I was hurting. The limelight and love of others was now directed at someone else, and through all this pain I was trying to gain approval.

It Could Have Killed Me

In Australia cricket is one of our popular summer sports. It’s played with a bat and an extremely hard ball known as a six-stitcher. For some reason David would often put me at risk – and who was I to say no – as I spent agonizing hours in the cricket practice nets with no protective batting pads to keep me from harm.

David was a fast bowler and as he ran in at lightning speed to bowl the ball I had to appear cool, calm and collected, while on the inside I was doing cartwheels. There I was holding a cricket bat facing him as he pelted a hard six-stitcher ball towards me at full speed. If it had hit me in the wrong place it could have killed me. However, I was trying to prove to myself and to my peers that I could handle any assignment. The downside though was that my confidence was balancing on a knife’s edge, and I found myself battling desperately with an inferiority complex.

Physically, I survived unscathed. Emotionally, through the passage of time, I learnt to forgive those who unwittingly sought to harm me, and I learnt to forgive myself for having such hurtful feelings against others.

David spent about three years with us, and in that time I learnt so much about others and about myself, so here are three valuable lessons that his time with us as a family taught me about love.

1. Love Yourself

Both you and I are individuals. We don’t have to set out to impress anyone. In the past, when I’ve read about great men or women, or sat and listened as they’ve shared their story, I’ve often come away feeling totally deflated.

The thought that usually accompanied that feeling was, ‘I could never be like them.’ But I discovered this – that both you and I are already great. You don’t have to be like everybody else. In fact, we can’t. The most important thing you can do is to be just you.

This idea of greatness came from positioning myself to hear messages that built up my self worth and personal belief.

Express your greatness in small ways and you’ll soon, over time, discover that they will make the biggest impact. Don’t ever compare yourself with others. You have your life to live. You have your own special gifts, and you have your own special dream to pursue.

Declare ‘ to be me is how it’s meant to be’. So get to know yourself. Like you, and while you’re at it learn to love yourself for who you were created to be.

2. Love Others

You can only ever love others if you first love yourself.

And how do you love others? Give of yourself to them. Share with them. Be available. Make time for them. Sometimes it is a word. At other times it is your silence that demonstrates the power of your love.

Through the years that passed, and as David and I entered adulthood, allowing forgiveness to have its way in my life it paved the way for me to love him as a brother.

Love never gives up on anyone. It cares more for the other person. It doesn’t fret about what it doesn’t have. It doesn’t project pride. It doesn’t think too highly of itself. It doesn’t invade another’s space. It isn’t always about ‘look at me’. It doesn’t lose its temper.

Love doesn’t keep a record of wrongs. It doesn’t thrive on another’s demise. It holds up truth as its banner. It endures anything and everything. It always trusts. It looks for the pearl in every oyster. It never regrets, but keeps pushing on to the finish line, and the most wonderful thing about love is that it never perishes.

Be generous with this gift as you share it with others.

3. Love What You Do

The love for yourself and the love for others will ultimately flow over and into the love that you have for what you do. It’s a natural progression. For to spend your life doing that which you love doing is love embodied, especially as you gain satisfaction from it yourself, while at the same time blessing others through the outworking of your actions.

For years I have taught of the importance of identifying your strengths and then concentrating on your strengths. Simultaneously I have instructed others around the world that we too must identify our weaknesses and then delegate those weaknesses.

That simple formula – though many fail to discover it or administer it in their lives – has brought me a life that I love to live doing things that I love to do.

From the age of 18 I knew that I was to be an entrepreneur. And as time went by I realised that I could be what I call a serial entrepreneur. That there was not just one thing that I could do, or desire to do – but that in fact I could do it all.

A few years ago I set a goal to live until I’m 104 so that I can pack in all the things I want to do before I leave this planet. Just the other day I mapped out the thirteen projects that I’m going to complete by the time I’m 80.

Retirement? Not a word in my vocabulary. ‘Refirement’ more like it. And why is that so? Because I love what I do. You can too.

For love is up there with oxygen. It is the very essence of a life lived well. And the wonderful thing about love is that the more you give away the more you will receive to give yet again and again and again.

Be generous in your living and loving – and although life is short – long live life!

photo source: phenomena.nationalgeographic.com

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