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Unconditional esteem – unconditional love

The Essential Rumi

Honest esteem is as unconditional as love. It can be difficult to write what  unconditional love is about. Sometimes a little story can help to cast light on what unconditional love is such as this short story written by Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī. He is also  known to the English-speaking world simply as Rumi, a Sufi mystic, Muslim poet, jurist and theologian (1207-1273):

 

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Esteem is a spiritual experience

Esteem can’t be owned or earned.  Esteem can’t be worn or consumed.  Esteem is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.

This is the reason why sometimes it may be difficult to speak about esteem. 

There is only one kind of esteem fulfilling its genuine meaning.  This one esteem can’t be expressed in different grades.  There is not a little esteem or more esteem.  There is just one esteem in its full sense and impact.

Esteem is definitely a spiritual experience defying any attempts to be constrained.  Esteem isn’t a product which can be traded in any way.  Esteem comes from our heart and seeks other hearts.

What has esteem got to do with me?

We can’t pay anything with esteem.  We can’t exchange it for goods or use it for anything practical.  Thoughts like these can lead us to the question: what has esteem got to do with me?  We may think that we don’t need to bother with esteem in our life.

The truth is that esteem is the essence of human life.  

An unusual experiment proved this fact.  Hundreds years ago a terrible experiment was done with orphan toddlers in Germany.  They received all the food and drink they needed but the nurses were told to not hug the babies or show any sign of affection toward them.  Although the toddlers had enough to eat and drink, almost all of them died after  a short time.

Esteem, affection, love or whatever you want to call it is the essence of human life.  We live for esteem, for receiving esteem and for giving esteem. 

This is what esteem has to do with us.

Esteem facing job and home loss

German philosopher Erich Fromm said: Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.   We could translate this quote into: esteem gives the answer to human existence.

Esteem is what we take with us even if we lose everything.  Esteem is what carries us through hard times and when outer benchmarks such as a job or home ownership disappear.

Many people are experiencing the loss of job and house these day and they struggle to discover the sense of their human existence. 

With living esteem we create a stable surroundings of caring people who can help us through these rough times.

Nobody can take away the esteem we give to ourselves and to other people.

Spirit of esteem for Father’s Day

Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, for most of us it’s time to look frantically for an appropriate gift.

Why do we do that? 

Because it’s socially expected to express esteem on “official” days.  This means that the family members, mothers and fathers expect a gesture of esteem. On the other hand they also expected to give esteem.  As a society we mutually consent to this pressure for certain days of the year.

Knowing the meaning of esteem we realize that it’s not one special day we’re obligated to give esteem.   Esteem is never forced by occasion.

Each day we give esteem big-heartedly and with deeply honest feelings of gratitude and love. 

This is the spirit of esteem for today’s Father’s Day and all the upcoming other days.

“A return to love”

Marianne Williamson writes about that which touches the deepest core of esteem and self-esteem.  There is nothing we could add to it.

 Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

This quotation is from the book A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles” by Marianne Williamson.

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Esteem and the four cardinal virtues

Western culture is acquainted with the four cardinal virtues.  These cardinal virtues – wisdom, justice, courage and moderation originate in ancient philosophy.  The general explanation for virtues says that they are inner attitudes of doing good with joy. 

Virtues will remain just theory as long as we don’t integrate them into our lives and make them a habit.  In coming posts we’ll discuss the connection of esteem to each of these four cardinal virtues.

Virtues work like a mirror.  We see in each of these four mirrors our life and our attitudes.  Rather than discussing virtues theoretically and philosophically by creating the picture of a perfect life we’ll try to find practical ideas for realizing esteem through virtues in our daily life as life is imperfect and fragile.

Esteem for “an artist of life”

Tsai Erh Ping, born in China and working as an artist in the U.S. creates unusual handcrafts in the form of unique jewelry and small sculptures.

Tsai’s art shows his connectedness to nature and life.  He transforms the image of spiders, birds and geckos into crafted brooches and pins.  He calls himself an “artist of life”.

“Life is very precious,” he said. “There is no higher or lower level, poor or rich. There is only being respectful.”

Tsai expresses esteem through his work.  He once commented: “There is no humility in life.  My works are not going to elevate one’s value or position … When there is love within, people will be sincere.  When people are sincere, they will be beautiful and the world become a more beautiful place.”

It’s great to see how others express esteem because it makes us think of how we can do the same.

The National Museum of History in Taipei City, Taiwan showcases Tsai Erh Ping’s jewelry and sculpture in an exhibit named “A window to a Sculptor’s Dream” until March 31, 2009.

Self-esteem and pets

It may sound odd to connect self-esteem with pets.  But let’s take a closer look at the effect pets have on us.

There are numerous studies proving that healing of illnesses increases when pets are around patients.  It’s also known that only stroking the silky fur of a cat or bunny can lower our blood pressure.

Pets make us feel good, no doubt about that.  But where is the connection to our self-esteem?  There are two points that bring self-esteem and pets together.

One is the fact that having a pet makes us feel responsible.  Having responsibility gives us the feeling of being needed.  We recognize ourselves as important.  Pets give us the conviction that our life is meaningful.  There is no better way to grow our self-esteem than to feel ourselves as precious.

The other point comes from the pets themselves.  They accept us as we are with all our weaknesses and maybe mistakes.  They love us implicitly and show this each day.  There is no better way to strengthen our self-esteem than to get unconditioned love.

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