How to Love?

How to Love?
Hint: It all starts with a simple question

What would love do?

I came across this question at the end of an article I was reading about love. I was reading about love because I wanted to understand how something as simple as increasing our capacity to love (even when it’s not easy) can better our world. I wasn’t just interested in how to better love our partners or our families or our friends. But also how we can collectively make the world a better place through the power of our love.

I wanted to know how we can use our ability to love to have hot-button conversations with more understanding and ease.

I wanted to explore what kind of impact the strength of our love can make.

I wanted to understand how we can ultimately use the power of our love to evolve our collective humanity. 

Obviously, the answer to these big questions can’t be found in a short article about love found on the internet. But I found a wise message to use as a guide on our journey to learning how to deepen and strengthen the power of our love:

When we feed and support our own happiness, we are nourishing our ability to love. That's why to love means to learn the art of nourishing our happiness. - Thich Nhat Hanh

What do you feel when you read this quote?

Isn’t it strange that when I read it, I felt a sense of relief? In this quote, I found a reason to prioritize my happiness.  As someone who has lived through a lot of sadness and tragedy, I sometimes struggle between wanting to feel deep joy and happiness, while also feeling that I don’t truly deserve to.  How can I when I know that there are people all over the world deeply embedded in the middle of challenges or life situations that I can’t even imagine.  Who am I to be happy knowing this is the case? 

When I reframe happiness as a vehicle to improving my ability to love, it gives me the freedom to embrace my own. Our happiness level affects our mood, the energy we put out, the decisions we make, the actions we take and our overall being. And when we are happy and aligned with who we are, it has a ripple effect that reaches far beyond our immediate circle. We deserve and need to feed our own happiness because doing so allows us to love better.

Expanding our ability to love is how we begin to transform and evolve our world. We can use our intellectual brain, we can speak or write in a clever fashion, we can be excellent at debating online and off. We can definitely be right. We can cut the other down. Or we can look at our neighbour and say, I want to understand.

Now that - is love.

So as we near that heart-themed day that shall remain nameless (in this letter at least), let’s take a moment to ask ourselves, how can we love better? 

One answer could be, ask at any given moment, what would love do?

In this difficult situation when I don't know what to do next, what would love do? 

When we are beating ourselves up for something we did earlier today, what would love do?

When I’m in the midst of a stressful conversation with a co-worker, what would love do? 

When we feel exhausted, and out of ideas what would love do?

When you are struggling in any way, try asking yourself first, what would love do? I’ve found the answer to that question in any situation to be empowering, rooted in good intention and one that I may never have thought of otherwise. Imagine if we all committed to choosing our next thought, feeling or action through the lens of love?

Note: I found the Thich Nhat Hanh quote above in an article about love by one of my bookmarked sites, Brain Pickings. Read the article to go deeper into his philosophy about love. It is a worthwhile read.

With love,

Kena xo

Kena Paranjape, Founder, All You Are