How to ignite a little bit of everyday love
Today I am shamelessly writing about love because I think it is an essential ingredient to our everyday lives.
Love is not just on or off, not as simple as 1 and 0. Love is not just binary. It is a complex and rich emotion, which we can experience in a million different ways by ourselves, or together with others. It is possible to love some a little bit, and some endlessly. Some for a while, and others forever.
Love is much more than a feeling, it’s in fact magic. I’m sure you’ll agree with me. We feel the magic intensely when we share unforgettable adventures and steal moments of infinity with those we love the most. It also happens in our worst times of grief and sorrow, when our families’ and friends’ generosity carries us through the unbearable.
That’s the big magic. But that magic is everywhere in small doses too and I think we can ignite it and make a difference in our lives but for that we need to understand how to ignite a little bit of love.
What is love? It is FOCUS.
Think of Hollywood movies. The actors are not these beauty demi-gods, they’re in fact quite ordinary people — but the good ones give us something authentic when they act and then, the camera does the focusing for us.
A sharp close-up of an actors’ natural face, fully in character in a dramatic scene, and we’re touched. They’ve provoked a little bit of love in us. Not because they’re pretty, but because we (the camera) are focused on them and they reveal something ‘real’.
What is love? It is MINDFULNESS.
It is the enhancement of life experience. People who have shared strong adventures together often fall in love. Even students or co-workers who have worked intensely on a project are closer at the end of it. Not that I’m encouraging affairs with your colleagues! But it happens.
What is love? It is the GIFT OF ATTENTION.
Think about it. When you are falling in love, you have the object of your affection constantly on your mind, you are infatuated. They have your attention even when they’re not with you. Attention is the magic.
When people admire others for spending time caring for the sick, the elderly, the homeless, the differently abled, the addicted, and so on, they don’t always realise that it is not that hard; because when we give attention, we give love, and that is good for the soul. As good as a gorgeous landscape or a fit of laughter. That is why people always say that they are the ones learning from caring for those “in need of assistance”.
Giving attention makes us grow, it makes our hearts and our minds expand. But attention is not often given fully and I that’s a shame. In fact, I bet you that if you make the conscious effort to give your full attention to someone over and over again, you’ll end up loving them just a little bit.
And when you love, you are a little vulnerable. And you are connected and you are more likely to be honest and to trust. You are more likely to care and it is not an effort to care because it comes from the heart.
It’s a very beautiful and authentic small every day thing that we are so often distracted away from.
You could say that love is not a state, it is an activity. Old married couples will tell you that making a marriage work takes work and that it is all worth it.
So I propose that you join me in an experiment in 2016. For a little while, try to make that tiny effort of focusing and looking others honestly in the eyes, of giving attention and listening 100% when you converse with another person, however mundane the chat (put down your phone too). Try it with your partner or spouse. Try it with your kids. Try it with the postman, the cleaning lady, the janitor, the CEO, the HR manager. Try it with your neighbour, your in-laws. Try it with yourself.
And then, see if it reveals a little bit of magic and puts a little more connection, friendship, empathy, and fresh perspectives in your interactions. See if people return it.
Then, if you like it, you can even try to make it a habit.