There exists a philosophical argument that no act is truly selfless. Many are quick to assume this is not true. How can it be? What about all the benevolent Icons who dedicate their lives in service of others?
The argument purposed that acts of kindness and love result in positive feelings. This has been proven scientifically. When we perform acts of kindness our brains release feel-good neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. Often these chemicals are increased when others express gratitude or offer us praise for good deeds. Have you ever done something kind for another and they showed no appreciation? Did you feel irritated or angry? This is because they denied you your dopamine boost you were anticipating. Therefore kindness can be conditioned and is not truly selfless. Selflessness requires detachment from expectation. However detachment is not indifference to an outcome but rather truly understanding one’s intention behind their actions.
I once believed that all Human Behavior was a result of love seeking. The neurotransmitters mentioned above and more alike are increased when we experience love. These same chemicals are released when one does drugs, exercises, has sex, receives admiration, eats foods high in sugar, fat and or salt etc. Every human behavior on its core level can be explained via this mechanism. The consequences of the behaviors are not relevant. We just want to feel good now and mimic the feeling of love now.
The question is can we truly give love without expectation? Can we be kind without acknowledgment? Are Human Beings capable of loving one another unconditionally?
Being Empathic or Highly Sensitive is an amazing gift. If you are not familiar, Empaths have the ability to feel the emotions of others and or environment as their own. I believe this is an ability we can all develop. Furthermore, Empaths have an intimate understanding of their own emotional bodies and can often deduce the insight or thought forms attached to emotions. I once thought the purpose of this gift was to help others understand their problems. This is only half of the equation.
I recently began interacting with a fellow Empath. I have learned a great deal about myself in the process. I have learned that very little needs to be communicated verbally or non-verbally for that matter. The truth often lies within the silence, within the emotions. Many describe Empaths as human lie detectors. We can typically detect deception easily despite how subtle the lie. People often say one thing but their energy, their emotions do not synchronize.
The difficulty is applying this ability to oneself. It is never easy acknowledging the little subtle lies we tell ourselves. This is why two empaths with an emotional connection can be extremely mutually beneficial to each others growth and self-understanding. So what has my empathic friend taught me?
She has taught me unconditional love is possible amongst humanity. Human beings can give love selflessly. We simply need to be aware of our expectations when loving one another. Being aware of even the most subtle expectation for reciprocation or acknowledgment. We can love each other for love’s sake. When we do this, we are detached from the outcome but not indifferent. We are truly selfless. She has taught me all of this without ever broaching the subject verbally.
Love and Empathy,
Dan McGinley RN BSN