Being LOVE in a world that desperately needs it
Hello! In my last article we took a look at why and how to deepen relationships. Hopefully you tried some of the habits I suggested that can help avoid the deathbed regrets of wishing we had spent more time connecting to people we love. For part two, I want to broaden the circle of love. The world is in a hard place and everyone needs lots of extra love these days.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to bring some love into more daily interactions, especially ones that might typically be transactional – like hopping on a bus, calling customer service or buying stamps.
When I was traveling recently, I started asking store clerks, flea market vendors, street artists and tuk-tuk drivers if I could photograph or video them. While doing so, I would ask what they loved about their life. Just that one simple question and a little focus on the other person created an amazing rapport. It was instant connection and joy! I came home with so many happy memories of uplifting connections to people.
What if we made it an intention to BE the gift of love?
I’m not asking you to do what I did – unless you want to! I’m suggesting, though, that you do pause and consider that a lot of our lives are made up of interacting with strangers. Wouldn’t it be so much more fun if we started making more of these connections?
Here’s a little story about where this idea started for me. For many years, I volunteered for a motivational speaker. I would work at events with hundreds, even thousands, of people. My job was to welcome people into the big hotel ballroom and to take care of participants who had questions or needed help. It was rather intimidating to meet so many new people. I often felt self-conscious because I wanted to make a good impression.
One evening the speaker gave all of us volunteers a little pep talk. He reminded us that everyone who was at the event had given up time with their families to be here. They had traveled far. They had to pay for the hotel, food, transportation.
He said, “People might have hard things going on in their lives. Maybe they are scared or grieving. Maybe they have a lot of doubt. We never know what someone is going through.” He reminded us to do our best to make this a wonderful experience for each of those people.
I went back to my hotel room and thought a lot about that pep talk. I realized that when I was self-conscious it was because I was focused on ME. (Doh! SELF!) However, I wasn’t there to focus on me. I was there to focus on others! This was a huge aha moment. I got out a sticky note and wrote “Be LOVE. Bring JOY.” Then I put it on the door so I would see it when I left the hotel in the morning.
I saw in a new way that my job was to be love. Once I got that straight in my mind, it was all so much easier. I simply looked for ways to love and encourage people. I looked for ways to make people laugh. I looked for ways to bring light and lightness.
Wow, was that life changing! The more love I gave, the more love I experienced. I got so energized and filled with joy by this new way of being a volunteer at those events.
Once, when I was driving home from an event, I knew I had to stop at the grocery store. I thought, “All the people in the grocery store are no different than the people in the event ballroom. These people may be tired. They may be in doubt. They may be worried about their family or finances. What if I got out my sticky note and summoned the love and joy for the grocery store?”
Woah! I entered the doors with the intention to be love and to bring joy. I would look for moments of humor and connection.
When we set this kind of intention and we pay attention, everything changes! It is impossible to give love without feeling it. Our lives take on a technicolor feeling. Everything gets filled with a new energy and vitality.
We are changed. Being love is a gift to ourselves and to others.
How do we practice BEING the gift of love?
How do we start to practice? Just do what I did! Make yourself a sticky note that says “BE LOVE,” or write on your palm, create an alarm on your phone. Whatever you need to do to remind yourself is perfect.
Set the intention. Practice. Then, see how you feel. Rinse and repeat!
How can we BE LOVE today?
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- The next time you are on the phone with a customer service agent, see if you can find a way to joke with that person. It has got to be one of the hardest jobs to talk to upset customers all day long. Can you imagine how much a warm, friendly voice on the other end would mean?
- When you walk into the grocery store, talk to the clerk. Look them in the eye and ask how they are. Then be still and truly listen. It is such a rare thing for anyone to feel heard. Your attention is pure love.
- Offer an authentic compliment to someone you pass on the street. Tell them you love their hair or style. Tell them you see what a great dog-mama they are. Compliment the little ditty they were whistling. A compliment is kind and opens a door to helping someone see themselves in a positive light.
- Think about someone you may not know well, but who is going through a hard time. Maybe someone getting a divorce? Someone who is ill? Grieving a loss? Reach out in a very simple way – just a few tiny lines will do – to say, “Even though we don’t know one another well, I’m thinking about you. I know this is a hard time. My heart is with you.”
- When you are on the freeway or a busy intersection, wave someone in ahead of you and give them a big smile. So many people are stressed when they are driving; this will really give that person an uplift.
- Hold the door open for the person behind you who is entering the building. Even if they are still a little way from the door. Just wait, smiling. It will make them feel so welcome.
After you try some of these things, I hope you will post below and let me know how it goes!