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A lot of people that I have met recently seem to be caught in the classic rescuer complex. They live for others, their happiness, their needs, their wishes – the self is nowhere in the picture. You live for your parents, your spouse, your children, the community, even pets – absolutely anything that is external could be a worthy candidate. What about yourself, aren’t you worthy of your own love?

I guess this would perhaps be more common in a culture like ours where we are taught to keep others before ourselves. The altruistic need to serve others must take precedence on taking care of self, that’s selfish after all. But in this constant need to give rather than receive, we don’t realize the imbalance we create. You can’t give what you don’t have. If you don’t have happiness within you, making others happy is going to fail. Any so called happiness you do manage to give will be transient and superficial.

Mostly the not-so-covert motive behind this need to give is the need to feel good about ourselves, to feel more powerful and more secure than the person we’re helping, to be the savior and of course gaining love, attention and adulation. But if we feel unworthy of our own love, will the other person’s love- which is perhaps nothing more than gratitude-really fill this void that we have been deepening?

So instead of going about getting this love in this long-drawn round-about way, why not simply start with loving ourselves, bit by bit? Let the happiness and love amplify as much that it just flows out of your being, and reaches all the people it needs to. Let the love that you give be out of abundance rather than scarcity. Tell me, when you see someone on the road laughing or whistling away, does it not bring a smile to your face? Let us spread smiles, by truly smiling ourselves first.

Post contributed by: Mahima Gupta (Psychologist, Inner Space, 2010-2012)


  1. True true….we need to pause and think about whether we are overly dependent on others for our own happiness… food for thought…

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