Who is worthy of receiving love?
What about compassion? Care? Support? Kindness? Respect?
What do you have to do to be worthy?
Who do you have to be to be worthy?
What do you have to not do to be worthy?
Who do you have to not be to be worthy?
What Determines Our Worthiness to Receive?
To our rational minds, these questions may sound strange.
Of course, everyone is worthy to receive love, compassion, care, support, kindness, and respect.
We understand that we are worthy just by nature of being human and alive. In fact, being human and alive aren’t even required.
We give love and care to animals. If we are good citizens of the earth, we pay attention to how we love and care for our natural resources.
Every culture and religion has its own rituals for how to provide loving care to people after they die, to ensure respectful and loving burial of the physical body.
Worthiness to receive love, compassion and the rest is inherent in our being.
Simple enough, right?
If only it were that easy.
We Have Rules
In practice, we have rules for who is worthy of receiving our love, compassion, care, support, kindness and respect.
These rules do not govern only who is worthy of receiving our love. They govern how we view our own worthiness to receive.
These rules are generally not universal. Although some are cultural, most are specific to each of us as individuals.
These rules are typically not conscious. You likely don’t walk around with a checklist.
And yet, you know your rules.
You know your rules because you’ve been living with these rules for as long as you’ve been alive.
We learn early in life what we must to do earn love and affection from our parents. We learn what makes us worthy of receiving compassion and care, and what we must to do be worthy of respect.
Understanding vs Knowledge
Cognitively, we understand that every being on this planet is worthy of our love, compassion, care, and respect, even if no longer living.
You might say we “know” this. But we don’t know it.
Our knowledge is informed by our subconscious beliefs and expressed by our behavior. Knowledge is expressed by what we do.
What we understand in our minds is often quite different from what we do in practice.
As adults, we may come to understand that parents love their children unconditionally. I’m not a parent, so I can’t vouch that even parents always feel this way.
Our experience teaches us that we have to do certain things or be a certain way to receive the love we crave. Or, at least to see the signs of the love we crave.
Based on these experiences, we develop beliefs about what is required of us to be worthy of love and compassion. We live in accordance with these beliefs. This becomes our experience, and our knowledge.
How We Learn the Rules
Nobody teaches us the rules. We figure them out for ourselves. We learn what we need to do and who we need to be to be worthy of receiving.
Even as we develop the cognitive understanding that our worthiness to receive love and compassion and care is inherent in our being — that it doesn’t even require us to have a pulse — our experience tells us a different story.
Our experience tells us that we have to do certain things and be a certain way — and that we must avoid doing certain things or being certain ways — to be deemed worthy of receiving love and compassion.
Work hard. Be honest. Be a good person. Give to others. Treat people well. Don’t be a murderer.
We have rules.
If our worthiness is inherent in our being-ness, then any other rules we have about worthiness are wrong.
When our rational mind realizes that we have rules, the tendency is often to judge.
No judgments here. This is merely about creating awareness that we have rules.
Why Our Rules Matter
We are living by a set of rules that we often aren’t aware of. And yet we apply these rules to others and we apply them to ourselves.
What makes us worthy to receive from others? What makes us worthy to receive from ourselves?
You cannot receive from others what you can’t receive from yourself.
And you cannot give to others what you don’t have in yourself.
The first step to knowing and feeling our worthiness is to discover the rules we have for what makes us worthy or unworthy. Those rules are the blocks in our paths to receiving from ourselves and others.
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. — Rumi
What are your rules? Maybe it’s time to break the rules.