“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.” [Eric Fromm]

Love has been defined as an intense feeling of affection.  William Carlos Williams calls it “the response of our deepest natures to one another” and Zora Neale Hurston says it “makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.”  You’re hard-pressed to find someone who isn’t interested in romantic love — teenage girls drawing hearts around the name of their crush, college-aged ladies obsessing over finding the perfect mate, women of all ages packing the theaters to watch The Notebook (confession — I’ve never seen it).  And romantic love is important.  Love, romance, passion — these are things that make life seem full.

But love is a broader topic, as well — meant to be extended to not just everyone in your life, but to everyone you encounter and to humanity at large.  In fact, as David Byrne notes, “sometimes it’s a form of love just to talk to somebody that you have nothing in common with and still be fascinated by their presence.” 

It’s critical to remember that every person in your life craves love; it’s crucial to give love as freely as you wish to receive it.  Mother Teresa wanted us to know that the “hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”  You can, and should, have an active part in helping to spread as much love in the world as you can, because love “unlocks doors and windows that weren’t even there before” (Mignon McLaughlin) and “is never a waste of time” (Astrid Aluda).

Once you’ve acknowledged that you should love everyone, it may take some practice to learn how.  I am one of those people who believes that loving yourself is essential to loving anyone else.  Loving yourself and loving others is one of those things that should be a lot easier than it is.  The link provided will give you a lot of awesome insight into getting started.  Among my favorite tips (at the bottom) are loving genuinely, accepting who you love for who they are, and not being ashamed to love.  The ultimate tip provided, however is this: Recognize that any feeling of jealousy is a clear sign of fear. Therefore the most appropriate response is to begin loving again (since we cannot love and fear at the same time).

One final thought worth noting is that many people are familiar with the feeling of love.  What might be even more necessary to familiarize ourselves with is the action of love.

 

Love doesn’t sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread;
remade all the time, made new.
Ursula K. LeGuin

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