Small Step - Consider the Heart
We live in a society that loves the brain. Our society sees the brain as separating us from the animals, it makes us superior - we worship our brains.
When we think about our children the questions that concern us the most are where will they go to school? How good are these schools? Are they learning enough? Are they getting good grades? Where will they go to college? Will they get into the right college? We are completely obsessed with the development of our brains.
The problem is that we forget the heart. Forgetting the heart is a huge problem. We can see how big this problem is by simply looking at our youth. According to the World Health Organization, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the world for those between the ages of 15 – 24. On the other side of the spectrum, neglect of the heart causes extreme anger in others causing them to become bullies, join gangs and eventually feel so disconnected and unloved that they resort to hurting others. Lack of love and consideration for the needs of the heart results in a large number of wounded people who don't feel loved, who may have never had love in their lives and therefore are incapable of loving themselves or giving love to others. These people may eventually become parents and the cycle continues leaving our world scarred and dangerous for all of us.
Today we continue to neglect the heart in our society, but it is becoming loud and clear that this is our number one need. For far too long we have been focused on the brain, but it’s time to shift our focus. We have a world full of smart people, and that is good. It’s also wonderful that many of these smart people have huge hearts and are doing amazing things in the world, but for the people who never got the opportunity to feel loved and nurtured, we need to respond.
Children have a need to be loved. They have a need to feel like they are enough, that their parents really care about them. They have a need to feel safe and to feel nurtured. These needs don't stop when they are two and three years old, they continue throughout life. When children don't get these needs met, they can't be or realize their full potential.
The need for love is as vital to the development of a child as food and water. Sure, children can survive for much longer without love than they can without food and water, but what we don’t realize is that being deprived of love will eventually kill them. It may also kill others in the process as neglect at any level leads to hate. The question is does the hate go inside or outside. If a person turns the hate inward it becomes depression and anxiety, if they turn it outward it becomes violence. Either way, we all lose.
Lack of love, lack of consideration for the heart affects us all to some degree. Most of us did not receive the love that we needed as a child. We may have received an abundance of love, but it may have come with conditions. Many of us had roles we were expected to play, rules we were expected to follow, and dreams that we were given that may not have been our own. These roles and expectations lead us to believe that who we are inside is not good enough, that being our true selves is not ok, and so we learn to push down our true selves and stopped loving ourselves in the process.
Fortunately. there are ways to heal these and other wounds from childhood when we become adults. As adults, if we take the time to heal ourselves, then we are able to love others and to become the parents that our children need. As we are able to focus and care for our own hearts it becomes much easier for us to nurture the hearts of others. By shifting our focus to the heart we begin to heal many of the problems that currently exist in our world including the need for power, drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex and money. We also begin to heal the need to be better than others, to judge others, to feel superior. All of these needs are born out of our lack of love for ourselves which began as a lack of love from other for who we were as children. If we love ourselves and feel like we are enough just as we are, then we have no need to get love from the outside.
One of the most important things we can do in our lifetime is to consider the heart and to do everything we can to support it. We need to understand that it is as important as the brain and to support people around us so that they know they are loved, that they are lovable, and that they are worthy of love - just the way they are.