Love is a many-splendored thing and means different things to different people. For me, love is a verb and I’m going to share my perspective on it.
Love is important. While it may feel you have a never ending supply, we need to be good stewards of it. As with our time and our attention, we can become spread too thin and our love won’t find it’s way to the right people in the proper amounts.
Dunbar’s number suggests we can have successful relationships with between 100 and 250 people. So it’s important to recognize and be mindful of who we’re giving our love to.
I want you to think about your love as if it were sunshine; what you give it to grows and flourishes. It needs to be shown on yourself, your family and those in your community you care for and want to see flourish.
So what is love?
It’s one of the primary motivators behind great music and art. It inspired the creation of extraordinary things and accomplishments. The absence of it can be crushing.
- An intense feeling of deep affection
- A great interest and pleasure in something
- A feeling of deep affection for someone
- It’s a deep like or enjoyment of something
What’s a verb?
It’s a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence
How is love a verb?
To give your love is an action. To be in love is a state. To express your love is an occurrence.
Applying it in your life
Life can be messy, hectic, non-stop and difficult. If we hope to care for and love the most important people and things in our lives, we need to make time for doing it.
Let’s talk about how to make love a verb in your life.
You can’t transfer what you don’t own. Loving yourself ensures you can more fully show up for others and give your love to them.
Improving yourself helps you improve the lives of those you love. Julia Cameron said “Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong” meaning, practicing self-care will not only allow myself to better show up for me, but for others as well.
Give yourself the things you need. Nourish your mind, body and spirit. It means resting and recharging as well as making sure you’re improving yourself and having fun.
Determine what activities will accomplish those desires. Once you’ve decided, schedule them into your calendar. It’s been said “what gets measured gets done” and the same is true with scheduling things into your calendar. Failure to do this means other obligations or life’s “emergencies” will take precedence.
Loving your family
There are a lot of ways we show our love for our families. We do it through getting up and doing our jobs everyday; whether those jobs are at an office or in the home. We do it through showing affection. We do it by communicating our feelings, good or bad.
Even the most self-confident and self-assured among us need to be told and shown we’re loved.
Showing up and doing our jobs everyday is expected, but it’s hard. Recognizing and showing gratitude for our hard work and the hard work of loved ones is important. It’s also important to let our loved ones know when we need some personal time.
Doing nice things for our loved ones when it’s not expected is also important. Doing extra work around the house, giving a gift or letting them know you care about them are good ways to do this.
Understanding the way your loved ones prefer to receive affection is important. Do they like physical touch, emotional interaction and or gifts?
Planned activities are important to protect them in your calendar. Planned spontaneity is a bit of an oxymoron, but the idea of scheduling a time to do something nice and unexpected for a loved one is a good practice.
The importance of working hard to be empathetic with our loved ones cannot be overstated. Put yourself in their shoes as often as you can.
I believe that undivided attention is one of the greatest gifts we can give. Put your phone away as much as possible when you’re with the people you care about.
Loving your community
Being an active member in our communities, whatever they may be, is an integral part of our lives.
If you’ve ever worked with a group of other people, you probably understand that apathy is a killer of organizations. In order to be successful, every organization requires people to be involved and to give of themselves. People like you and I.
We humans are social animals and it’s important for our overall health and happiness to have connections. The 100 year Harvard Grant study taught us it’s human connection that makes our lives rich and meaningful. If you already have a community, how can you better serve it? If you don’t currently have one, what would you like your community to be?
Community comes in a lot of forms. If you have kids, there are endless opportunities in the form of PTAs, school boards, or helping out with teams. There are alumni groups of all shapes and sizes who need help. You can get involved with Religious groups. For every hobby, like fantasy football or a bowling league, there are opportunities to play a more active role.
When making the decision to commit to a group or a role of some kind, your heart doesn’t need to be in the work, but it very much helps. If there’s no one else to serve, then accepting the responsibility is a powerful display of love.
You don’t need to become president of the group you’re involved with (though there’s no reason you couldn’t), simply offering your help and committing to being an active participant can have a big impact.
What it means to you
Is love a verb in your life? How intentional are you about putting action around it? What will you do differently moving forward, if anything at all?
How important is self-love in your life? What would you like to do more of? What can you put into your calendar to make it happen?
What about your familial love? What can you do to increase it? What can you put into your calendar to make it happen?
And finally, community love; how important is it in your life? Where can you step up and take on responsibility to get more? What can you put into your calendar to make it happen?
To give your love is an action. To be in love is a state. To express your love is an occurrence. Love is a verb, in order to put it to work more effectively in your life, you need to be intentional. Set the intention for how you’re loving yourself, your family and your community. Protect it by scheduling it and commit to keeping those meetings.
If you’d like to go deeper, check out these podcast episodes on love and relationships.
- Developing Relationship Skills with Monica Parikh
- Radical Love with Benita Conde
- Love is a Verb with Sim Sibanda
- Love More with Erwan and Alicia Davon