“Why am I here?”
“What’s my purpose?”
“What am I supposed to accomplish in this lifetime?”
If you’re like me, you’ve probably asked yourself these questions—and quite possibly do it on a regular basis. While I believe each of us has our own individual purpose or calling, life philosopher John Templeton has a pretty good catch-all answer to these questions:
You are present in your life for the purposes of living, loving, learning and growing.
It seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? For better or worse, we’re all “living” and if you’re fully engaged in life, chances are you’re “learning” and “growing”. But there’s a word in this phrase that not all of us, including your Wake Up Call columnist, fully embrace. It’s “loving” and it may be the single most important thing we can do in this life.
Templeton believes that if we want a life of happiness and contentment (and who doesn’t) our ability to love others holds the key. His philosophy can be summed up in a few words, a simple rule of life whose power far exceeds its brevity:
To get love, you’ve got to give love.
Think about that. Love really is like a magnetic force, but we must be the ones to turn the power of that magnet on. It is not until we start showing love and care for our family and friends, neighbors and coworkers, that it begins coming back to us in kind.
Now imagine trying to follow this simple rule each day: offering our love, friendship and compassion to those around us, knowing that we will ultimately receive love in return. I admit, it’s easier said than done. As Templeton points out we may set out with good intentions, but we often keep our love under wraps.
Too often we react to the moods of others, letting their words and actions influence our own. We run into others who are irritable or angry, and we match their words and moods in kind. The key is to not let our own moods be dictated by the moods of others.
Love is not something to be meted out to those we deem worthy. Because when we go through life in a reactive mood, as opposed to a proactive one, we too often adopt the negative energy of others into our own actions. The deli counter clerk is rude to us and we are impolite right back. Our significant other lashes out as us and we dish it out in return. That’s got to stop.
We make our lives easier when we don’t react to the negative actions of others with actions in kind, when we realize that those we encounter who are angry or rude may be dealing with personal issues that have nothing to do with us. When we meet negativity with a positive response, by greeting a frown with a smile and responding to brusqueness with friendliness, we begin to chip away at the negative moods of others. We do our part to make our little piece of the world a little bit better.
It all comes back to love. When you give love you are more apt to receive love and live a happier, more contented life. One action leads to the other. I’ll close with a final call-to-love from John Templeton, something we might consider doing each day:
Pour out love in thought and word and in action. Try to think love, feel love, and become immersed in it, until all else in your life and world is absorbed and melted into giving love.