For us to achieve enlightenment and be free from the influence and oppression of others and free from our own bias and history, we must love ourselves enough to make the effort it takes to obtain self-examined awareness.
Freedom does not exist in a vacuum, so, it is impossible for us to be truly free when we see other people we care about being decieved or deceiving themselves.
Therefore, loving ourselves and our own freedom to be self aware individuals requires us to love those we care about enough to help them find freedom as well.
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When asked, most people will answer that love is the most important thing that gives meaning to their lives, where-as, happiness is influenced by a far greater number of factors.
" In recent years, a number of studies have further supported the differences between happiness and meaning. In one clever study, Baumeister and colleagues found that factors such as feeling connected to others, feeling productive, and not being alone or bored contributed to both happiness and meaning. However, they also found some important differences:
Finding one’s life easy or difficult was related to happiness, but not meaning.
Feeling healthy was related to happiness, but not meaning.
Feeling good was related to happiness, not meaning.
Scarcity of money reduced happiness more than meaning.
People with more meaningful lives agreed that ‘relationships are more important than achievements’.
Helping people in need was linked to meaning but not happiness.
Expecting to do a lot of deep thinking was positively related to meaningfulness, but negatively with happiness.*
Happiness was related more to being a taker rather than a giver, whereas meaning was related more to being a giver than a taker.
The more people felt their activities were consistent with core themes and values of their self, the greater meaning they reported in their activities.
Seeing oneself as wise, creative, and even anxious were all linked to meaning but had no relationship (and in some cases, even showed a negative relationship) to happiness.
It seems that happiness has more to do with having your needs satisfied, getting what you want, and feeling good, whereas meaning is more related to uniquely human activities such as developing a personal identity, expressing the self, and consciously integrating one’s past, present, and future experiences. "