We crave to be loved, valued, appreciated.
There is nothing wrong in wanting to be loved. We are made lovable, created in the image of God.
A child needs to know that they are loved and learn from ‘vibrations’ that they are loved. When a child is hugged, kissed, gently massaged on the back or head, etc. When an adult or sibling expresses love for a child, it is telling that young person that they are lovable.
As we grow older we need to become more free from needing to be so reassured all the time.
So often our immediate response to many situations includes attachment, defensiveness, judgement, control, and analysis.
The insecure, false self is active in most, if not all, of us. So often we justify our reactions.
Being able to name this tendency in us can be a very important step in ‘liberation’.
We need constant vigilance and awareness of our reactions.
The true self seems to be so often ridden and blinded by the defensive needs of the ‘separate’ self.
Contemplation and prayer help us to be more real, more centred. A very important part of the spiritual life is the journey from ‘illusion’ to prayer.
Prayer throughout the day keeps reminding us to stay centred. Morning prayer, mid-morning prayer, midday prayer, afternoon prayer, night prayer. Many spiritual traditions encourage this.
The ‘Jesus prayer’, saying the name of Jesus over and over again as a ‘Christian mantra’ is helpful for those who are busy about many things and yet wish to stay centred.
It is so easy to fall back into the ‘cruise control’ of small and personal self-interest, the pitiable and fragile smaller self.
When we allow God to teach us how to live ‘undefended’, we can immediately, or at least more quickly, stand with, and for, the other in compassion in this ‘present’ moment.
Hence the need for constant centring prayer. It is a real pathway to compassion.