Tag Archives: Value

86. Unexpected Journeys And Treasures

I was listening to U2’s, “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” today. It got me thinking, and I realized that much of the time we don’t have an exact idea of what it is we’re looking for. Though we may often feel we haven’t found “IT” yet, putting our finger on exactly what “IT” is, can be a challenge. We recognize our soul is calling out for more, and we feel in our core that something is still missing. Yet, what exactly are we pursuing and how do we go about finding it?

Maybe it’s not about what we think we’re looking for, but rather what we run into along the way, and then take the time to nurture and develop. We’ve all heard the saying, “Life is what happens to us when we are busy making other plans.” How much of that life do we miss, being so focused on future plans, outcomes, and what we think it is we should be searching for?

We are so often oblivious to the amazing miracles and gifts of this very moment. They could bring us such delight, if we were fully present and aware, rather than distracted by our ongoing quests and disappointments with our current state of affairs. The unexpected journeys and treasures we stumble upon, when we think we’re searching for something else, may well be the most incredible valuables we encounter. They go unrecognized far too often. We miss them because we’re too busy contemplating and seeking a fictitious representation of what we think “IT” is, and we want “IT” in already perfect form. In actuality, it’s more often the process of development that creates such endearing value.

Last year, I went digging for crystals in a mine in Arkansas. My daughter and I dug from morning until sunset. I can remember feeling frustrated at times, as we worked for hours, yet the rewards seemed to be on the slim side. We were finding some pieces, but most of what we found wasn’t very impressive, or so we thought. My daughter collected about 3/4 of a bucket of crystals, while I amassed many times that. She was only keeping what looked really good straight out of the mud. I was keeping anything that looked like it had potential! In hindsight, I now recognize the importance of that distinction in perspective. I realized much later that week, after many days of acid washing and scrubbing to remove the clay and iron deposits from my crystals, that I had some absolutely beautiful pieces. They looked nothing like what I had dug out of the ground! Had I not spent the time and effort necessary to nurture and evolve these incredible specimens, they would have likely been tossed aside as undesirable.

I guess my point is this… whether we are talking about digging crystals out of the dirt, relationships with others, or even the growth and evolution of our own soul, quite often there are some magnificent gems we bypass because we didn’t perceive them as beautiful or worthy “right out of the ground,” if you will. The funny thing is, I could have saved a tremendous amount of time and effort and just bought some crystals in the store at the mine, but it would not have been the same.

There is something about actually doing the hard work ourselves, that gives us a greater sense of not only pride and ownership in the work we have done, but also value in the item we now hold. It meant more to me knowing the efforts I had put into bringing my crystals to this new and beautiful state. Had I just found a lovely crystal on the ground, or simply just purchased one already in its finished form, it would not have held the same value in my eyes. Those I worked on for a week, scrubbing and acid etching every crack and crevice until they were pristine, had value and meaning that could not have been bought. There is no price tag I can put on that experience, both in terms of time spent with my daughter and the resulting beautiful crystals.

I wonder, as I watch myself often still seeking things that measure up to a preconceived and very flawed checklist, how many diamonds in the rough I have bypassed and continue to leave untouched? How many treasures and opportunities to find zest in life might I still be missing, because “IT” doesn’t look like what I think I should be seeking?

My journey digging in the mine should have taught me that lesson, as some of the most beautiful pieces I ended up with, didn’t look like anything special when they were pulled from the earth. I can’t help but wonder how much we have cast aside, in search of something we deem better or more fitting, that with time and effort could indeed have become stunning treasures, that bring us immeasurable wonder and joy.

My prayer is that we become more attuned to the opportunities right in front of us every day, that might otherwise be missed. If we’re not actively and consciously aware of the present moment, we may very well miss the most incredible potential gems, disguised as common rocks, that simply need our time and efforts to brilliantly shine!

Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby

70. Learning To Extend Love And Compassion To Myself

Loving Myself Has Been My Greatest Challenge

I’ve always been a very empathetic and compassionate person. As one who deeply feels what others are experiencing, it makes it almost impossible to not be commiserate. In many situations, that charity has extended to a fault, as there’s a fine line between assisting others and enabling them. There’s also a fine line between assisting others and doing so to my own detriment. It’s taken years to learn and set those boundaries, and even so, loving others has rarely been a difficult factor for me. It has been in learning to extend unconditional love and compassion to myself, that I’ve experienced the greatest challenges.

Depriving Myself To Ease The Struggles Of Others

It’s interesting, the lengths I am willing to go in order to assist others. I’m often prepared to deprive myself, if it means easing the struggles of another. Yet, often the very thing I am inclined to do to help someone else, I would rarely, if ever, consider doing for myself. Why is that?

We Are Our Own Worst Enemy

It’s often said we are our own worst enemies, and the judgment we wage upon ourselves far outweighs any standard we would consider holding another to. Throughout the ages, the wise ones have spoken time and again, that we cannot truly love others until we first learn to love ourselves. How can that possibly be, when my heart has ached to love, comfort, and serve others, yet until recently, I had always been devastatingly deficient in compassion towards myself?

Identifying And Moving Beyond That Which Is Holding Us Back

It has taken a significant amount of introspection to answer this question, and in all honesty, I wasn’t thrilled with the outcome and what it had to say directly about me. Yet, it’s more important that vulnerability exposes a common thread among many of us, that we might identify and move beyond that which is holding us back.

The True Motives Behind My Behavior

Helping and serving others is something I have always engaged in and have been passionate about. Some of that has been rightly driven by my empathy and compassion towards others. Yet, some has been motivated by the feelings about myself that were generated when I helped others. In the midst of some of my darkest times, when my self-esteem was low, my worth was questionable, and my purpose was lacking to say the least, assisting others helped me to ground, feel better about myself, and made me feel more accepted by others. Feeling good about myself is great, yet when it becomes a driving force in my behavior, it’s questionable at best. Recognizing this, I’m learning to spend a good bit of time looking at the true motives behind my behavior. I’ve started asking myself each time I’m afforded an opportunity to help, am I doing this selflessly because it’s the right thing to do, or because I need or want to feel better about myself?

Seeking Approval And Acceptance From Other Sources

Why is this so important? When I don’t truly and unconditionally love myself fully, I then begin seeking approval and acceptance from other sources to fill in those gaps. The problem here is that no matter how much love and approval I receive from others, it is never enough to compensate for the lacking love I have for myself. It is only in doing the deep, internal soul work necessary to develop an unconditional love and acceptance of myself, that I become whole and I’m no longer driven by any external need for worth or approval. If I find myself continually engaging in behaviors to assist others, yet can’t honestly say that the deep, accepting, unconditional love for myself is alive and active, then I have some internal questioning that needs to transpire.

Valuing Others Far Above Myself

Another matter that began blatantly staring me in the face, was a strong history of valuing others far above myself. When I find myself gladly and without hesitation doing things for other people that I would never do on my own behalf, it’s a dead giveaway, and poor self-esteem and worth are typically at the source.

Feeding The Need To Feel Good About Myself

There’s a false narrative that’s quite prevalent these days that goes something like this…
“By making great or even painful personal sacrifice for the benefit of another, I’m proving my worthiness and the good state of my heart.” Sadly, any time I find myself proving something through my behavior, whether to myself or others, those motives are usually anything but selfless. The martyr complex feeds that need to feel good about myself at my own expense, yet that good feeling is far too short-lived, as it’s coming from external stimuli. True satisfaction, contentment, and lasting joy is something that can only be achieved from within.

Honestly Questioning Why I Do What I Do

At the end of the day, I really have to start honestly questioning why I do what I do. Am I feeling the need to do more because I have an underlying sense of guilt, shaming me for not doing as much as I ought? Am I making sacrifices to accommodate for something quietly running under the radar that I would like to silence? Am I serving others because it simply makes me feel better about myself and the state of my heart? Or, am I truly offering my assistance to make a positive difference in the lives of others who are less fortunate? Can I honestly say I unconditionally love and have compassion for myself, just as those I find myself serving? Am I daily valuing myself as much as I value others, or I do place their value and significance above my own?

Genuine Love And Compassion Begins With Ourselves

I would venture to say that most of us have a great deal of work to do in the department of self-love and compassion. I know I still do. Perhaps we need to step outside ourselves and look in from the outside, asking what we might do in the same situations, if we were dealing with someone else. It may be only then that we truly consider the degree of love and compassion needed for ourselves, when we look with the eyes of an outsider. What we will find without question is as our love and compassion for ourselves grows, so will our genuine love and compassion for others, with little, if any, overriding and self-serving need. Genuine love and compassion begins with ourselves, and then overflows to others. We cannot pour out to fill other vessels until our pitcher has itself been filled. My challenge for each of us today is to gift ourselves with the love and compassion we would be willing to offer another. In doing so, our ability to impact the lives of others will increase exponentially.

Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby