Love. In the grand scheme of things that’s what this blog is all about. If you love yourself, you’ll love your neighbor and they’ll love another neighbor until the world is one big lovefest. To me, love is everything. But I’m kind of sappy that way.
It’s funny when you think about love, though. Saying I love you is a big deal. You open your heart and soul to someone when you say those words. You become utterly vulnerable — no matter the context.
So we hold onto it. Keep it for those who mean the most to us or the ones who earn it. It’s a coveted phrase. It should be coveted. It’s precious and perfect — just like a diamond.
But does a diamond become less valuable or less beautiful if it’s dropped into a bagful of other diamonds? I don’t think so.
Pour the bagful of diamonds onto a table and you see a sparkling mass of beautiful. Radiant and glorious. Could society be that sparkling mass? What if we told each other on a regular basis that we loved one another? It could be a beautiful thing.
Lesson 1: The phrase “I love you” doesn’t lose value if you say it more often to more people.
Say a friend or a coworker helps you with a project. Of course, you’re grateful and thankful and hopefully we all express that. But somewhere deep down is there a part of you, the grateful, thankful part of you, that loves that person for being who they are? For helping? For being a kind human being? I think if we took a moment to think about it, be mindful of the interaction, we would find that we love them.
So what if we told people we love them a little more often than we do? We should.
How nice does it feel to be told I love you? No matter the context — friends, partners, family, people you haven’t spoken to in 20 years? It doesn’t matter who says it, hearing those words changes everything. It changes your constitution. It breaks down any barriers, melts any frozen spots in your heart. Nothing feels like hearing those words.
What if we told a stranger on the street that we loved them? Yeah, they would look at us weird. It’s not the norm or expected. But in my head, I think it would be nice. I haven’t put it into practice yet, but I can dream.
Is it possible to love someone you don’t know? Absolutely. We’ve all seen someone at some point in our life and our heart ached for them. Be it the homeless. The bed ridden. The addict. The stripper or prostitute. We have all done that at least once. I refuse to believe otherwise.
That, in my opinion, is a form of love. That ache in your heart. The urge to reach out to them, help them — that’s love. That is the greatest human emotion there is. Pure and simple. It’s selfless. It’s beautiful. It’s the essence of being human.
Lesson 2: Yes, you can love a stranger.
But if we remove our brains a bit, we could move beyond having that urge for only the needy. We could have that urge toward everyone we meet. Imagine what your life would be like if you were filled with love all the time.
What if the whole world felt that way at one time? You kind of get that feeling in a stadium full of people singing along to their favorite band. It’s magical. I love it.
I’m realistic, though. Practical. I don’t always embrace that aspect of myself, but it’s there. Still, I know we don’t all feel love all the time toward every single person. I get it.
But we could try to feel that way a little more often. Say it a little more often. It would be a step in a better direction, don’t you think? Appreciate someone for just being a human being.
I’ll be honest. I am one who covets the phrase I love you. I say those words to very few people. I hold onto it for dear life.
Something happened to me recently. An epiphany I was unaware of, I believe. I said those words to someone unexpectedly. I meant it wholeheartedly. And this was in that romantic love kind of way. I said it with no expectations. None whatsoever.
This person has motivated me. Helped me. Encouraged me. So I said it. I meant it. And it felt good.
The reaction, I won’t go into. The reaction, you see, doesn’t matter. Well, of course, it matters a little, but the point is that I had struggled with the feelings because I didn’t know what the reaction would be. That struggle caused turmoil in myself. I became frustrated, angry at times. Sad and depressed other times.
Then I said it, “I love you,” and every other feeling that had built up around it disappeared. All I felt was the love I had wanted to express but was afraid to.
So, I should say that I’ve been learning about detachment, non-attachment. Whatever you want to call it. There’s an interesting little podcast on this topic on the Secular Buddha. The host mentions Thich Nhat Hanh’s quote, “You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.”
But if you are the one who is loving, that emotion, love, can also become an attachment. You covet it. You hold onto it and don’t let it out for fear of not hearing back what you want to hear.
In that sense, that emotion then owns you because you start building up things around it to protect yourself, to force the situation, or whatever. That emotion owns you. Sometimes you have to free yourself in love, as well.
Yes, I always skew these philosophies a little. Put them in my own personal context. That’s how I think. But my feelings for the person was owning me. Letting that love out, freeing it, without expectation from the other person, I opened myself up. I felt better because of it.
Lesson 3: Becoming “non-attached” to your emotions frees you and opens your heart.
It may sound odd, but by letting go of all the BS that surrounds romantic love, and just saying we love someone when we love them regardless of their reaction, we honor ourselves. We honor our emotions. We honor our hearts. We also honor the other person because we don’t put them through all of that angst that we tend to build up around it.
My philosophy is that we know pretty early on if we love someone in a romantic way. Maybe not consciously but subconsciously. If we are in touch with ourselves, our feelings and our thoughts, we’ll recognize this earlier too. Pull it up to the conscious level. It saves a lot of frustration to be conscious of it.
If we can learn to express those feelings without expectations (or at least regardless of expectations), we can save ourselves a lot of suffering. A lot of suffering.
We’re not robots. Humans have expectations. I have a lot of expectations. When you’re born with an irrepressible, unbreakable hope in your heart — and trust me, I have tried to break it — you are also cursed (or blessed) with expectations. So, for me, non-attachment means that I may have expectations but I am learning that I’m not going to die if my expectations aren’t met. I’ll pick myself up and go on as I always do.
Lesson 4: Don’t let expectations keep you from honoring your emotions and yourself.
Most of the time that is easy for me — doing something and coping with the results (good or bad) afterwards. Love is a little trickier for me, the romantic kind. So that’s why I covet it and covet the phrase.
But I’m learning to release it. Not let it own me any more. And it feels amazing, including this specific incident — even before I knew the results. I felt relieved and happy.
And, by the way, saying those words feels as good as hearing them. Now that I’m learning to detach from that emotion a bit so that it doesn’t own me, I hope that I say it more often — whether it’s romantic or not. I want to honor myself and my feelings more. I recommend giving it a try.
And maybe one day we will be one big hippie commune. That’s kind of a secondary goal.
Peace, y’all, and I love you!