The Meaning of “Love”

“Love” is a big word in all human civilizations. For all religious disparities, love still plays an essential role in all the world’s religions. Love plays an important role in human lives, especially living in a world of conflicts and aggressions.

What’s the real meaning of the word “love”?

Love involves your emotions and feelings. You love some things and some people. Love, ironically enough, gives you both happiness and unhappiness. When your love is fulfilled, you feel happy; when that love is rejected or unrequited, you then feel pain, which becomes the unhappiness. That, unfortunately, is the reality of love.

Loving others isn’t that easy; loving yourself is sometimes even harder and more difficulty. That’s also the reality of love.

The truth of the matter is that to truly love someone is very difficult, if not impossible, unless you love yourself first.


In a general sense, self-esteem is the positive or negative evaluative perception of self. It‘s a rating of self, based on a partial assessment of current and/or past traits. Many mental health professionals claim that achieving higher self-esteem is the keystone of good mental health. Such claims, however, are dubious at best.

Low self-esteem is self-doubt, often expressed in not asserting oneself in public or at workplace, and not pushing past one’s comfort zones.

To love yourself is self-acceptance, which is accepting who and what you really are -- and not who and what you wish you were (that is, your ego-self). It should also be pointed out that “loving yourself” and “loving your ego-self” aren’t quite the same. The former is loving yourself for who you really are despite all your imperfections; the latter involves loving or craving to be the person you wish you were. “Loving yourself” means you can love yourself as well as others, because they aren’t very different
from you in that they, too, are as imperfect as you’re. On the other hand, “loving your ego-self” means it’s very difficult for you to love others, because you want to distinguish and separate yourself from others; accordingly, others must somehow satisfy your ego first before you can love them. That explains why if you’ve a big ego-self, you just can’t easily and readily love others.

The bottom line: If you can accept yourself as who and what you really are, then it may become much easier for you to accept and love others as who and what they really are.

The Oneness with All Life

Accepting and loving others implies having mindfulness of the inter-connection between people; that is to say, no man is an island, according to the English poet John Donne. This mindfulness leads to love, and then to the awareness of the presence of God or that of a Higher Being. Love is the first step toward spirituality.

The oneness of all life is one of the basic laws of Nature: that is, humans are all inter-connected with one another. This universal moral principle holds the key to true and lasting freedom in living. Without that freedom, you may be forever living in bondage that inhibits any further development of the wellness of your body, your mind, and your soul. Without this wellness alignment, there’s no spirituality in living.

An illustration of the oneness of all life

A pastor from Hong Kong was invited to give a sermon in China. A woman from the congregation asked the pastor if it was "right" to give money to get her son into an elite school. The pastor replied by saying: “Your son getting into that elite school would also imply depriving another child of that same opportunity you’re seeking for your child.”

A year later, the pastor met the same woman, who told him that her son had got into that elite school but without using her kwanxi or "connection." The pastor then said to her: “See, God is in control, if you would just let Him.”

Thinking questions

If you were the woman with the money and the kwanxi, would you have done differently?

Can you see the “connection” between the woman and another individual also applying to that same elite school?

A different illustration

In 2012, a Chinese couple from Hong Kong filed a lawsuit against an education consultant in the United States for $2 million dollars, who promised that he could, but obviously didn’t, get their two sons into Harvard University.

Using “improper” but maybe still perfectly “legal” means to get their two sons into Harvard University might have deprived the opportunities of two other students who might otherwise have been admitted.

That Chinese couple obviously didn’t perceive the “oneness of all life”-they only saw what they wanted for their two sons.

So, understanding the oneness of all life may further make you realize that you aren’t different from others, and that all have different or similar imperfections, not to mention having the same dreams and desires. Understanding this may make it easier for you to accept others and to love them just as you accept and love yourself. Love and inter-connection with others are expressions of the oneness of all life -- a mental attitude that liberates human bondage from the ego-self, which always aims at distinguishing and separating self from others.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

                                                    LOVE BEGINS WITH SELF-ACCEPTANCE

Self-acceptance is an important component in the art of living well, including having a healthy marriage. Self-acceptance has much to do with your thinking mind, which is the hardware of your whole being, controlling what you think and what you do. Mind power is the essence of being. Self-acceptance is one of the ways to increase your mind power.

The world is forever changing, and so are its people. Some of these changes are positive, while others are negative. To survive in this world of changes is to go along with the ebb and flow of the tide of changes, and to make the best and the most out of these changes. In this day and age, the art of living well is to develop strategies not only to adapt your life to these changes, but also to assume personal growth from these changes. In other words, to live well, you must have personal growth that will bring on a joyful and meaningful life, including a healthy marriage.

Personal growth, however, thrives only on your capability to accept yourself. The importance of self-acceptance to personal growth can be explained thus: without self-acceptance, there is no personal growth, and without self-growth, there is no increase of mind power. How can there be self-growth if you don’t like who you are and what you have become as a result of the changes in your life? If you don’t like yourself, you are more likely to ignore or disown self, and so do nothing about it, rather than taking positive steps to change what you don’t like about yourself. In other words, if you cannot totally accept who you are, you are most likely to resist changes in your life, and thus preventing any self-growth.

What exactly is self-acceptance?

Self-acceptance does not necessarily imply “liking” yourself to the extent that you cannot image any change or wish for any improvement. Quite the contrary, self-acceptance empowers you to initiate meaningful changes into your life to transform what you don't like about yourself. Self-acceptance means you care less about what others think of you, but more about accepting yourself as what you are temporarily, while being conscious that any positive change will be forthcoming if you so desire it.

In this world, “withholding love” is a powerful tool that you can apply to others as well as to yourself. When you were a child, your parents might have used that tool to discipline you, and, knowingly or unknowingly, have shaped you into what you are now, or what you have become—feeling inferior or inadequate, and always looking for approval from others. On the other hand, if you parents have always loved you unconditionally, accepting you for what you are, you will not be seeking approval from others as you grow up. The reason is that you, too, have learned to accept yourself unconditionally through your perceptions of your parents' unconditional acceptance. Remember, a perception is always the reality. If you had acquired self-acceptance early on, it is most likely that you will continue to cherish self-acceptance for the rest of your life,

If, unfortunately, you have grown up in an environment that has made you feel not totally accepted by your parents or your peers, you might have internalized subconsciously throughout your life the need to compensate for that lack of acceptance experienced by you in your childhood and during your formative years as a young adult. As a result, you will always be craving for acceptance by others, rather than self-acceptance.

Conditional and Unconditional Self-Acceptance

The level of your self-acceptance is determined largely by how well you feel you are being accepted by the people who are important to you in your life. That is to say, your own level of self-acceptance is a reflection of your perceptions of the attitudes that you think other people have toward you. In other words, it is all in your perceptions of others' attitudes toward you. An attitude is only a perception of the mind. However, a perception often becomes the "reality." Therefore, changing an attitude about how you view not only yourself but also others' perceptions of you is important in developing your own self-acceptance.

What is conditional and unconditional self-acceptance?

Conditional self-acceptance is feeling "good" about yourself when you have reached a goal that you have set for yourself, such as that of attaining good health. Your "good" feelings, thoughts, or actions make you accept yourself. But that attitude of self-acceptance is conditional in that it is based upon your feeling "good" about yourself. In other words, if you fail to achieve that goal, you cannot and will not be able to accept yourself completely. That kind of self-acceptance in question is only conditional and not voluntary.

Unconditional self-acceptance, on the other hand, is showing a desire to achieve that same goal, which is attaining good health, but without assessing or rating yourself. In other words, the focus is on the desire and effort, rather than on the outcome. In that case, the goal is already a positive one because it has positive attributes—the desire to be healthy and taking correct action to bring that desire into fruition—which are the fundamental values of a human being. Remember, the intrinsic value or personal value has nothing to do with what you do, but only with what you are.

Achieving Self-Acceptance

Achieving self-acceptance is an attitude, which begins with your perceptions of how you view self, and how other important people in your life view you as a person.

(1) Change your perceptions to change your attitudes. Use positive affirmations and subliminal messages to change your subconscious mind in order to change your attitudes, and reinforce them with positive images through creative visualization.

(2) Use behavior to instill rational self-acceptance. For example, look at your own naked self in a full-length mirror:
Examine all the "bad" or distasteful aspects of your physical body, and calmly accept all of them.  Express your desire to change your physical image with a practical plan. Acknowledge that even change will not make you "like" every aspect of your physical body, and that you will live as best as you can live with these undesirable aspects of your physical body.

Reaffirm that your physical imperfections are not you!

(3) Change your own values, because they define who and what you are. Re-define what are the most important things in your life, and reiterate to yourself why they are important to you.

(4) Be mindful of yourself, as well as of others. The more you are mindful of yourself and of others in your life, the more clearly you will see yourself as a human being. Remember, your intrinsic values cannot be measured in extrinsic terms, so do not assess or evaluate yourself, let alone allowing others to do that to you. Remember, just accept yourself unconditionally as who and what you are.

Use self-acceptance as your first step to increase mind power to live the life you have always wanted to live. It is all in the mind, and it is always mind over matter.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

Reflections of Stephen Lau

Increase Mind Power

Healthy Pregnancy and Smart Parenting

The Way Through Depression

Wisdom From Books


The ego-self is unreal: it is only a reflection of your own thoughts.  Unfortunately, it is real to you.  Your ego-self is what you think and hope you were. It has been formed over years.

Remember, you are not your mind, and your mind is not you.  The more you identify with your thinking, your likes and dislikes, your judgments and interpretations, the more you become attached to them, and the more you will become controlled by them. There are many attachments in life, such as attachments to careers, to success, and to wealth. They "define" who you think you are; worse, your mind projects them into the future as your desires and expectations to be fulfilled. But only the present is real, and only by staying in the present moment (such as meditation) you can separate the truths from the illusions or self-delusions.

With an inflated ego-self, an individual will require his or her marriage partner to satisfy himself or herself first, before he or he is willing to do the same. That explains how and why the rich and the famous often fail in their marriages.

Those with an inflated ego do not have "genuine" friends, who please them only to satisfy their ego.

So, how do you "deflate" your ego?

Humility is the enemy of  the ego.  With humility, you see your true self, and not someone you wish you were.

With humility, you live in the now, and not in the future. With humility, you see your connection with others, and thus seeing that you are not different from them--that is, everybody is imperfect, with no exception.

With humility, you may intuit spiritual wisdom, which may inspire you with the divine revelation that there is a Higher Being who is in control of anything and everything in this world--such as what goes up must also come down, just as life is inevitably followed by death. With this spiritual self-enlightenment, you may look at your marriage and your marriage partner differently.

The bottom line: Ironically, it is your ego-self that has created unconsciously many problems in your marital life, not to mention your everyday life due to your own attachments.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau


Money is not just about coins and dollars; it’s about anything and everything in your life that you may have knowingly or unknowingly attached a price tag in your mind.

Money is emotional. So, you must have your money wisdom to navigate that reality by creating your own money beliefs and money habits that may affect your emotions when you feel the abundance or the lack of money.

So, what‘re your money beliefs? Do you believe that money can buy you many things, if not everything? Do you believe in the power of money? Do you think that money can control your married partner?

What’re some of your money habits, such as the ways you earn and make your money, as well as the ways you save and spend your money earned? Do they give you security or insecurity?

What’re some of the obstacles to understanding money wisdom?

You may not attain your money wisdom if you’re already confronted with the following obstacles:

You spend more than you earn. Do you have several unpaid credit cards?

You buy things you don’t need with the money you don’t have. Take a look at your closet, your basement, or your garage. Are they all full of your stuff that you don’t really need?

You think you need more money. You save and save. Money has become nothing but only security to you. Do you always worry a lot about your money insecurity?

You want quick returns and big payoffs for your money. Do you often go to the casino, or buy the lottery?

You go with the crowd when it comes to investment and spending. Do you often go shopping with a group of your dear friends?

You aren’t truthful about money, because you always measure yourself on the basis of money. Are you always conscious of how people perceive what you wear or where you live?

You’re uncomfortable about money, or you hate money because it’s the root of all evils. You never like to talk about money, do you?

To overcome the above obstacles, you must simply do exactly the opposite.

Once you can free yourself from the delusional and irrational money beliefs and habits, you’ll then begin to perceive how money really matters in your life, such that you’ll learn how to sell yourself, how to invest wisely, and how to make more money. You’ll be richer for life-in every way. Once you’ve attained your money wisdom, you’ll then look at money with new perspectives and you’ll know how to make, save, and spend your money.

The reality is that money does play a pivotal role in a good and healthy marriage. But money is also the No.1 cause of divorce.

So, use your money beliefs wisely to survive and thrive in your marriage.

Relationship of love and money

What has love to do with your money?

Like many people, you may think that money makes the world go round. Actually, it’s love that makes the world go round, and not money. Everybody is chasing money and looking for ways of getting more. But without the vital ingredient of love, money will have little or no meaning.

How does love and your money equate?

The whole world out there is nothing more than a “projection” of what you feel inside you. Money is energy just like you, me, and everything else. You can have all the money in the world, and still be as miserable as sin.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau
Find out how TAO, the ancient wisdom from China, can help you throughout your marriage journey.
Wisdom from Books to Help Your Marriage
Stress is the source of marital conflicts and even violence.

But the root cause of stress is the human ego, which needs to be gratified first and then sustained no matter what.
The translation and  interpretation of the TAO--the ancient wisdom from China--with reference to the Bible may help you understand better Biblical wisdom, which may help your marriage.
Let go of your ego, and all your attachments that define who you think you are. Let go of your past love relationships.

Live in the now, which is the only reality.
A marriage is "two becoming one." So, you just can't have everything "your way, or no way!"

Not getting whatever you want from your marriage is the cause of depression.
Everything You Need to Know About LOVE and MARRIAGE:

Understanding the meaning of "getting married" before you take your own marriage vows. Click here.

Knowing the meaning of "getting married" is only knowledge. You need the wisdom to put it into practice and application. Click here.

Happiness is a perception of the mind. The happiness in your  marriage is also your own subjective perception.
Click here.

A marriage is "two becoming one" that requires many changes, both desirable and undesirable. So, change yourself and your marriage partner. Click here.

Accountability in a marriage is the responsibility of the married couple to each other, as well as to every aspect of their marriage. Click here.

A marriage is more than just about two people: it may also include starting  a family. Happy parenting involves raising children the right way. Click here.

Nurturing both sensual and sexual intimacy, with  accountability in marriage through constant changes can avoid adultery. Click here.

The Bible can help your marriage by giving you spiritual wisdom from the Word of God. Click here.

The Bible says wisdom is everything. "Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding." (Proverbs 3:13)

Without wisdom, there is no understanding.

But why is understanding important?

Without understanding, anything and everything in life may seem paradoxical and inexplicable. It is this mindset that may make many people "not living in reality" -- in their minds they only see "unfairness" and "inequality." This distorted mindset may even lead many to committing crimes and violence: "Why shouldn't I rob them who've the money that I don't have?" or "They too have broken the law, so why shouldn't I do the same?"

Biblical wisdom is about "accountability" to God, which will give you spiritual "understanding." But if you are not a believer, that "understanding" may be irrelevant to you.

Having said that, human wisdom is indispensable in contemporary living. Human wisdom is not the same as acquisition of knowledge; human wisdom is the application of what you feel and understand to your everyday life and living. So, being knowledgeable does not necessarily mean being wise.

The TAO is the profound wisdom of Lao Tzu, an ancient sage from China more than 2,600 years ago. The TAO has survived and thrived for thousands of years for a good reason: it is applicable to anything and everything in contemporary daily life. The TAO shows you all the hows and the whys of anything and everything happening in your life, including the following: growing up, receiving education, earning a living, making money, getting married, starting a family, raising children, staying healthy, growing old, and dying.

The TAO helps you confront all your daily challenges, and live in balance and harmony.

Click here to get your book.

Stephen Lau



Self-Healing Self-Help for Autoimmune Diseases


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Click here.
FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how your "true freedom" of choices in your daily life can help you do the right and righteous things to save your marriage and to avoid adultery.
Get your FREE BOOK to find out "how" to become a true believer. Give this FREE BOOK to all unbelievers to help them believe.
NEW BOOK: Use TAO wisdom and spiritual wisdom to live in reality with accountability--a life with no depression.

A blog by Stephen Lau

Find out how to connect with others to avoid human conflicts and confrontations.
                                    LOSING YOUR MONEY

Making money is all about your being and your doing: being who you are and doing what you can with what you have.

Not knowing your true self and not doing what you are supposed to do, and yet wanting your money, and even lots of it, leads to your “money fantasies”, such as becoming a professional gambler, lining up for hours to get your Power Ball, and even engaging in burglary or bank robbery.

No matter what, you may lose your money at some point in your life, and that is a reality. Remember, the opposite of "gain" is "loss", and what goes up must also come down, and this is a universal truth.


Even if your life is a bed of roses, it must also have some thorns to go with it. What goes up must also come down. Gains are followed by losses. That is the natural cycle of all things.

While pursuing your careers, you might have encountered your discharge or unemployment, and while making your money in your businesses or financial investments, you might also have been overwhelmed by your money losses.


Free yourself from “money miseries”—living from paycheck to paycheck; not making both ends meet; always seeing your lack and deprivation when compared with others.

Remember this: Even wealthy celebrities went broke, and you are not alone. For example, Mike Tyson, a boxing champion, earning over $300 million dollars, ended up in bankruptcy in 2003; and Michael Jackson, a recording artist, dancer, singer, and songwriter, earning over $500 million dollars, was heavily in debt when he died in 2009.

So, fight the good fight to recover, restore, and rejuvenate yourself from the bondage and wreckage of losses.


Money is emotional, especially when always feeling the lack of it. Yes, money can cause many mental problems, including depression.

With more money, you can live rich. But even with less money, you can still live richly, and free yourself from the bondage of lack.

But how to live richly if you have less money? The answer is thrift, which is an alternative lifestyle to consumerism, materialism, and over-consumption in this material world you are living in.

Thrift may help you work less, and not more. Many people are not paying with their money; instead, they are paying with their time from their lives. Are you one of them? Are you doing two or more jobs just to earn that extra money to spend more?

Thrift may promote your positive consumption values. Are some or most of your purchases aimed at your instant gratification, or just enhancing your self-esteem, making you feel rich, such as wearing a designer’s dress?

Thrift may encourage your savings. It may give you more space to save, thereby instrumental in protecting you from negative income shocks, such as an unexpected unemployment.

Yes, living richly with thrift may turn you from bondage to freedom.

FREEDOM with BONDAGE shows you how to free yourself from your bondage to the flesh that gives you the "freedom" to make the wrong choices and decisions in your everyday life.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen La
                 BECOMING YOUR TRUE SELF

Knowing your true self can make you re-assess your strengths and weaknesses, which may help you along your life journey.

With acute body awareness and mind focus, you begin to train yourself to pay greater attention to what is happening in your body, in your mind, as well as in your perceptions of others and of the world around you. In other words, it is your deliberate and purposeful intention to bring more being into your own life experiences.

According to research studies, mindfulness of your being is instrumental in helping you cope with your everyday problems, look after your physical health, let go of your undesirable patterns of thinking and behavior, and relate to others with better understanding and greater compassion. In other words, awareness and focus may bring about the miracle of being, which is now your new perception of your true self—who you really are, and not what you wish you were. Your new being is the outcome of your becoming from where you were.

An Illustration of Becoming Who You Are Meant to Be

There was ancient Chinese fable of a stonecutter who worked so hard cutting stones that he often felt stressed and depressed.
One day, while standing behind a huge stone where he was cutting his stones, he looked up at the sky, and saw the beautiful sun. Then, he wished he were the sun that could give warmth and sunshine to everyone on earth. A fairy came to him and granted him his wish, so he became the sun.

For a while, he was happy and contented. Then, one day, a big cloud came over, blocked out everything from his view, and he could not even see what was below. He became distressed, and wished he were the cloud, instead of the sun. Again, the fairy came to his rescue, and granted him his wish. He became the cloud, and began drifting and floating happily and peacefully in the sky.

After a while, a strong wind came and scattered the cloud in many different directions. Now, he wished he were the strong wind that could blow away anything and everything that stood in his way. Again, the fairy made his wish come true: he became the strong wind, blowing here and there. For a while, he was happy and contented.

Then, one day, he found that he could not blow away the big stone behind which he used to cut stones in the past. Worse, he was stuck there at the big stone, and going nowhere at all.

Now, finally, he realized that was where he belonged, and where he was supposed to be.

He made his one last wish to become the stonecutter that he used to be. The fairy granted him his last wish, and now he was contented to be the stonecutter again.

The moral of the fable: comparison and contrast between the self and others is often a stumbling block to self-contentment, without which there is no self-discovery, which is the ultimate enlightenment. Self-acceptance is self-love—accepting yourself as who you are in spite of all your shortcomings and imperfections, without comparing and contrasting with others. Letting go of your ego-self is detaching yourself from all your attachments that may ultimately become the sources of your miseries and sufferings in your life.

Remember, all human attachments come in the form of many different stressors in life, and are often the stumbling blocks in the human quest for true human wisdom because they create many delusions and illusions for the thinking mind.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

                           A MONKEY MIND

According to Buddha, we all have a "monkey mind" which is forever riddled with anxiety and worry.

The human mind has a tendency to shuffle between the past and the future, except the present, which is the time that is real, and that is why it is called “present”—a   a gift in itself. Most of us not only plan for the future, but also worry about its outcome. Accordingly, we often go back to the past to look for clues to help us fulfill our hopes and expectations in the future, as well as to avoid errors and mistakes made in the past. In the process, we not only create undue stress for ourselves but also deprive ourselves the opportunity to live in the present mind. A mind that stays in the present moment is calm and relaxed. Living in the present is moment-to-moment mindfulness of breathing. Mindfulness of breaths increases mind power.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t live in the present moment, especially in this age of speed and technology. With so many daily chores and life goals to accomplish, we find little time for ourselves, let alone time to remain in the present moment. Even if we are fortunate enough to have some time for ourselves, we may spend it to go online or to watch our favorite TV programs. Living in the present moment is a gift that is often ignored and rarely appreciated.

But things don’t have like that. We can always find time to do little things that enable us to let our minds stay in the present moment. Learn to focus your breaths on the present moment, which is no more than awareness or mindfulness of your breaths. Focusing your breaths on the present moment makes you become more aware of what is happening around you at that present moment, thereby instrumental in releasing stress from your body and mind, as well as enhancing your clarity of mind.

Practice diaphragm breathing to help your mind stay in the present moment. Diaphragm breathing is using your diaphragm muscle -- muscles between your lower lungs and your abdomen -- to fill your lungs with life-giving oxygen, and to push toxic carbon dioxide from your lungs to achieve the complete breath. Diaphragm breathing is achieved through your nose, and not your mouth. Practice diaphragm breathing by placing one hand over your chest, and the other over your diaphragm muscles: you should feel the hand over your chest not moving, while that over the abdomen moving up and down as you inhale and exhale. Diaphragm breathing gives you complete breaths. For thousands of years, Chinese physicians have believed that an individual is given only a certain number of breaths during his or her lifespan. If the breaths are shorter, that individual then has a shorter lifespan. Therefore, the key to longevity and anti-aging is to prolong the breaths. Breathing right makes you live longer and look younger.

When you focus your mind on your breaths, you breathe better. Remember, your breaths are vital to your health, especially your brain health because your complete breaths bring more oxygen to your brain cells. Mindfulness of breaths plays a pivotal part in meditation, which is critically important to your mind power..

Also, learn Chinese exercises, such as Qi Gong and Tai Chi to enhance your breaths to increase your mind power.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau