Sometimes I wonder how much of our suffering we allow or impose on ourselves simply in search of our worthiness to accept our own respect and appreciation. I’d written before some years ago that we often cause suffering in another so that we can then love them, as in, “You have suffered for me, so I can love you now.” The eventual shock of realizing the sacrifice made for you destroys the walls of self-righteousness and protection. The suffering sacrifice of another creates the willingness and capacity to do the same. Finally, love and respect (respect is part of the body of love) come from the recognition of something else already given up for them.Within the individual, you or me, a similar process takes place toward oneself. It is as if we know some- where that we are not worthy of our own love or respect until we have earned the right to it, and that is mainly through some kind of suffering. That suffering may be generic, as in a life lived in which tragedy after tragedy accumulate, or it may be specific, as in the constant sacrifice of other easier things for a being or vision. Or, perhaps more correctly, it is either consciously chosen or not.

~ Darrell Calkins