Love. Perhaps you’ve heard lots about it this month? From heart health to Valentine’s day to marketing anything fuchsia and crimson. I’m not an expert on love, except that each day I wake up determined to love something and someone.
There’s so much to love in the world. But in the noise of the day and the week, it’s easy to let that loving feeling take a back seat: cue Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards in Top Gun.
Waking up ready to love has not always come readily for me - quite frankly, there were days and weeks it may not have come at all. We all have those dark and twisty days where the only loving feeling we want involves our pillow, Netflix, a good book, a long hike or a complimentary spa day. John Rauch describes how something happens as you approach middle age – a curious “U curve” that reflects how many of us find an uptick in overall happiness in our 50s. Maybe I am on the upswing after what honestly, was a pretty tumultuous late 30s/early 40s decade. Maybe I metaphorically bitchslapped myself right off the busy train and I realized that planning and counting on everything to be just-so was a recipe for frustration. Viewing the world through a difference lens lets me see the love instead of gripping and ruminating.
I’ve (finally) learned that in the busyiess of life it’s easy to sail through without feeling or choosing. The multitude of tasks requisite to raising kids and working and juggling multiple demands makes can make it nearly impossible to find the love and joy (unless you’re a Kondo-devotee). It’s ridiculously easy to lose sight of the love in each day and forget we can choose to view our world, our people, ourselves.
Spending my days with children always reminded me of the innate love children bring to the world, but I was often so exhausted to even feel those good feels. When we give and give to others there has to be a pause button and a way to choose to feel love. Now that I’m out of the classroom and out of the full-time parenting gig, I get to shower uninterrupted and mostly plan my day around choices that I want to make that feed my intentions and obligations. It’s a easier to see the little things that matter. The things I tended to gloss over in earlier chapters of my life have a bit more significance when I can be more present and, more importantly, choose to view them as lessons and love.
I’m NOT out there floating around with the unicorns and rainbows. I do find myself defaulting to multitasking with browser tabs literally or figuratively open and unattended. I enter rooms and forget why I’m there. I pass streets and realize blocks later I meant to turn right. Then I make a concerted effort to come back to the present moment to think about what it is I am choosing and how I can choose to love.
On a deeper level, I know I forget that the small choices matter and that those choices are tangible ways to demonstrate self-love and love of others.
The heart of all love is the choice to feel, express and receive it.
The choice to recognize goodness over frustration.
The choice to embrace fear as a path to growth with love, not a route to avoid.
The choice to express your love in small and large ways, not to hide behind what is safe and known.
The choice to see the good, not focus on the bad or fussing over it or fixing it.
The choice to accept what isn’t worth struggling or fighting and what you have agency over.
The choice see, as Stephen Covey and Oprah say, love as a VERB.
The choice to graciously accept love - in whatever form - others offer you.
I am talking about the awareness that each day, each hour, each minute, we have a choice in how we view the world, other and our self.
That loving feeling doesn’t have to be gone, gone, gone.
Today, can you choose to find something or someone to love? (Of course, it’s easier on Valentine’s day, but how about tomorrow? Next week?)
Smile and give yourself a little mental pat on the back for witnessing that love.
Come back next week for a bit of thought on love and choice.
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