Unless you love yourself, unless you have found your own riches, your own heights, you will not be able to share your love with anybody. Certainly the sick and the diseased need care, but they don’t need love. This has to be understood, because society has made it almost a universally accepted truth — that it is the greatest religious thing, the most spiritual thing, to love the sick and the diseased. But it is absolutely against psychology and against nature. The moment you love the sick you are not helping him to recover from his sickness, because the moment he is healthy nobody loves him. Sickness is a good excuse for others to be provoked to love him.
You may have seen it, but you may not have thought about it. The wife is working the whole day, perfectly healthy, but as the husband comes home, looking from the window, she immediately goes to bed. She has a headache — because unless she has a headache the husband does not show any love. But if she has a headache, reluctantly the husband sits by her side, massages her head, shows some phony kind of love, talks sweet and beautiful words. For months he has not called her ‘darling’, but when the headache is there he has to call her ‘darling’. And that’s what she wants to hear, “I love you. And I love you not just today, I will love you forever.”
It is strange that you show your love to your children when they are sick. But you don’t understand a simple psychology of association — sickness and love become associated. Whenever the child needs your love he has to be sick. Who cares about the healthy child, who cares about the healthy wife, who cares about the healthy husband? Love seems to be something like a medicine; it is needed only by the sick.
It should be clear to you — take care of the sick, but never show love. Taking care of the sick is a totally different thing. Be indifferent, because a headache is not something great. Take care, but avoid your sweet nothings; take care in a very pragmatic way. Put the medicine on her head, but don’t show love, because that is dangerous. When a child is sick, take care, but be absolutely indifferent. Make the child understand that by being sick he cannot blackmail you. The whole humanity is blackmailing each other. Sickness, oldness, disease have become almost demanding, “You have to love me because I’m sick, I’m old….”
When somebody is sick you show love…. And that’s the routine that humanity has followed. To the sick person you don’t show anger, even if you are angry. To the sick person, even if you don’t feel any love, you show love; if you cannot show love, at least sympathy. But these are dangerous, and very much against psychological findings….
You should love yourself without thinking whether you deserve it or not. You are alive — that is enough proof that you deserve love, just as you deserve breathing. You don’t think whether you deserve breathing or not. Love is a subtle nourishment to the soul, just as food is to the body. And if you are full of love for yourself you will be able to love others. But love the healthy, love the strong.
Take care of the sick, take care of the old; but care is a totally different matter. The difference between love and care is the difference between a mother and a nurse. The nurse takes care, the mother loves. When the child is sick it is even better for the mother to just be a nurse. When the child is healthy, pour as much love as you can. Let love be associated with healthiness, strength, intelligence — that will help the child a long way in his life.