In 1985 Whitney Houston blasted herself onto the music scene with her “self-titled” debut album. Ironically, one of the biggest hits from that album was called “Greatest love of all”. Ironic because the “self” titled albums best song was all about loving one’s self and how it is the greatest love of all.
In her book “Generation Me” Jean Twenge shares highlights of how the current generation has been taught to love themselves with little to no regard to how they treat others and to have high self-esteem regardless of any accomplishments or perceivable talent (or lack thereof). In fact, you don’t even have to have talent. This condition of self-love above all else is not limited to the current generation. Just look around you and see for yourself just how many people are behaving selfishly and poorly with no conscience. Whether they be family members, friends, celebrities, co-workers, etc. an unfortunate example can often be found.
What all this adds up to is a society filled with people with an inflated sense of self causing harm to others with no regard for their actions or so blindly selfish that they cannot see the plight of others.
Love and Service to Others
I don’t mean to get all biblical on you but I don’t mind going there for just a minute. In John 15:13 Jesus gave the most definitive description of what the greatest love is. “No greater love has no one than this. That someone would lay down his life for his friends” (ESV) is how the passage goes. Laying down one’s life has everything to do with being of service to others; to live unselfishly for the betterment of those around them.
One of Martin Luther King Jr.’s most prolific speeches is one that doesn’t get much limelight but is still a powerful message. That speech was called “The Drum Major Instinct” and in it Martin Luther King presses home a very important point. He stated that the overriding duty of all people is to be of service to others; to be first in love and kindness. Could you imagine what that world would be like to live in?
How Love and Selflessness Affect Your Health
When it comes to our health there are some definite benefits to being a loving, caring person who lives a selfless life dedicated to helping others. Here are just a few positive benefits to consider:
- A greater ability to handle stress – If you are of service to others then your chances of having loving, supportive people in your life increases greatly. With that increased love and support from people comes the ability to have others help you through hard times and carry your burdens. Aren’t problems so much easier to handle when you have great friends and family members around? Cultivate loving relationships through selfless acts for others.
- Greater and faster healing – Did you know a loving heart can heal? Researchers at The Ohio State University found that couples who interacted warmly together had wounds that healed twice as fast as couples who were hostile or belligerent. This premise can extend beyond marital or romantic bonds. Loving interpersonal relationships where you share with one another can likely produce a soothing, healing effect on the body.
- Even suffer from fewer colds – Another wonderful benefit of opening one’s self to others is the calmness and love that comes to you. With the calm, peace and love comes a healthier and more robust immune system. Research conducted at Carnegie Mellon University and published in Psychosomatic Medicine found that people who were calm and happy experienced fewer colds and flu than people who were anxious, hostile or depressed
If you want to be happier in life and experience better health try leading the parade when it comes to service to others. The love, warmth and kindness you receive in return will be worth its weight in health gold. Narcissism, which seems to rule the world today, is an unsavory way to live and only brings misery and unhappiness wherever you may find yourself. Do you know any narcissist? Do you like being around them? Do they make you feel good to be in their presence? The answer is most likely a resounding no. Bring light with you wherever you go and watch your health and the health of those around you improve.
- The Bible