Love isn’t everything, it’s the only thing*
I’ve hurt my back. It’s quite painful, and I don’t even know what I did.
Not only does my back hurt, but I also didn’t do anything wrong. It’s unbelievably frustrating.
So what, you might say? Come on, Jim. Get over it. It’s just a back strain.
Many people have not been able to access valuable healthcare. Others have suffered the pain of grief. Life is hard for so many people right now.
What do we do? Where do we start? How do we make things better?
When we hurt, our natural human response is to try and make it go away. It hurts right! You take a painkiller, you drink some wine, or you eat some chocolate. You try to make yourself feel better. Nothing wrong with that. Or is there?
Hundreds of thousands of years ago, human beings evolved a new skill – language. Our ancestors adapted to their new environments by developing ways to communicate. Since we started working together we have become more and more sophisticated in how we use words to make life easier for ourselves.
We learn to language. We teach our children the names for objects, and they learn to say them. It has many wonderful uses. It can connect us, bind us and give us the courage to go out into the world and make a contribution.
Sadly, it is not all good news. Language also works against us. It can take over your mind, making you anxious, frustrated, angry and ashamed.
Most of us dislike these feelings. We don’t want them, and we try to make them go away. The way we do that is to problem solve. We get caught up in the stories of why other people are useless. Over and over again, we blame ourselves for not being better.
Language can be a tool for hatred too. It can dehumanise and incite violence.
No matter how right we think we are or how clever we rate out intelligence, language will often keep you stuck. You can’t think your way out of what you are feeling. You have to behave your way into something new.
Love is a behaviour. Yes, it can be a feeling too. And, it is an intentional act, one that you can choose. Love often soothes. It repairs ruptures in relationships. It allows you to forgive others their mistakes.
Built out of kindness, warmth, sensitivity, understanding, courage and wisdom, love is a compelling tool for alleviating suffering. It will transcend arguments. It will heal the rifts between you and your friends, family and work colleagues.
Love is a gift for others, and it is a gift for you. Often we don’t see that we could love ourselves as much as we love our children. We forget, or it seems strange to offer it to ourselves. Are you not worthy of your love?
My back continues to hurt. I need to be patient, and it will get better. I have a choice; stay frustrated or take care of myself with all the love and kindness that I would extend my child.
Love isn’t everything. Many of the world’s problems and those in your life require other solutions. And, yet, I wonder how much they will work without love. Perhaps above all else, love is the only thing that matters.
*quote affiliated to Steve C Hayes.