Your Love Story

Life can be so unrewarding! We get bushels of love when we’re born; and then again, once we’re gone; but not nearly enough while we’re still around.

Even when they shower us with lots of love when we’re alive, we don’t readily recall nor have a placeholder for easy access to that love when we hunger for it the most, as we face the lows of our life.

It’s fundamentally flawed. And it’s been this way since inception. Yet we keep perpetuating it. But we can put an end to it starting right this weekend, so when humans look back at us a couple of hundred years from now, they’ll say, the one thing we did, that really shored up the human spirit, was to get this thing right.

It’s never too late to appreciate life. Make it a habit to light up people’s spirits by sharing something endearing about them while expecting nothing in return. But it will come back to you from the most unexpected quarters. It’s one infallible truth that’s held true all my life. Trite as it may sound, what goes around, comes around. The law of reciprocity never fails but act as if you didn’t care.

Oxytocin, a neurotransmitter, also called as “cuddle chemical” or “love hormone”, is secreted through stimulation, as is evidenced by the pleasure centers of the brain lighting up with touch.

But it’s not just physical touch that floods our brains with oxytocin; words have a similar effect which is why when someone showers accolades on us, we’re touched by their gesture!

Now you know what they mean by good chemistry

Wait, that’s only half of the love story. The same goes for paying a compliment to others. Just as you can’t arouse without getting aroused, it turns out, you can’t make someone feel good without you feeling good. Goodness has to first pass through you before it gets to them.

And science has now shown us that the loving-kindness you put out into the world increases your own oxytocin levels so don’t dismiss it merely as a fuzzy feeling. They don’t say love is its own reward for nothing. Love lines are mutually magical!

Also, the more you’re loved, the higher your levels of oxytocin and the more you will want to love the world around you, creating a ripple effect that sets off an emotional contagion with far-reaching effects. And anytime oxytocin is boosted, so are serotonin and dopamine, the other two elements in the happiness trifecta!

One more thing. Don’t just wing it. Give it a concerted thought. There’s little need to glorify. Tell it like it is. We’re surrounded by awesome people, just like us.

Plus, there is strength in weak ties! As is backed by hard science, it’s our peripheral friends that are most generous with job referrals and social accolades, alike.

Wake up the love storyteller within. And for all the bad rap it gets, we’re so fortunate to have the means to preserve love, thanks to ubiquitous social media, and that means, unlike ever before in human history, we can hoard that love and recall it as often as we want. Plus, a loved person perpetuates love all around. We take this recording for granted but it’s nothing short of an emotional goldmine that can be mined forever.

Back to storytelling. If you struggle to come up with something evocative and heartening about someone, pretend for a moment that they just departed from this world, as they will someday, anyway. Now sit down for a few moments to write a touching eulogy. As tears roll down your cheeks in your mind’s eye, vivid memories will come flooding to your mind, melting away your writer’s block in the blink of an eye. Once you pen down a few love lines, switch to the present tense and send it to them. They so deserve it while they’re still alive and kicking! Don’t you?

Or send them some love on Insta or WhatsApp or whatever’s your preferred social channel. To establish context, forward them this love story. If nothing, it’s your license to show your love for your friends plus plant some seeds of love for countless others.

A tad too tied up at this time? And when was the last time you weren’t? Just joking. Okay, I’ll let you off the hook this one time. But at the very least, forward this story to all your friends so your busy life won’t deprive them of love. That said, if they do send you some love, don’t be a freeloader. Send them a return gift of love. Fair enough?

Lemme reiterate. The fastest way to earn the love of others is by simply loving others first. And the wonder of it all is they don’t have to be the same people. Clearly, collective consciousness must be keeping count. Ideally, be known as someone who’s always spreading good cheer at will (aka goodwill) and your whole world will love you unconditionally.

Not only will you sleep better for it, knowing fully well that your generous overture along with the love of their other friends, which they will have saved in a sacred space on their mobile phone, that they constantly reach out to read, is lifting their spirits from abysmal lows, and who knows, even saving the sushants of the world on a dreadful day. You have no way to know and that’s okay. Your motive should be influence, not contribution.

And seen from the other side, this could be you. Nothing can fill the void of despair more than endearing love from your friends that’s just a few finger taps away.

While you resolve to do the honors for your friends each passing weekend, or time permitting, more frequently even, make sure you set off a chain reaction of universal benevolence by forwarding this love story to anyone you will meet in the future. Besides, it’s the best ice-breaker coz if they send it to their acquaintances and so forth, we will have collectively triggered a pandemic of love!

Your love for humanity may only seem a trickle but before you know it, a trickle can turn into a stream, a stream into a river, and in no time, a river can aggregate into a life-nourishing ocean of love!

And what you say of others or what they say of you need not be long-winded and formal. A few succinct bullets should suffice. Or a real short passage. The more folksy and conversational it is, the better they will relate.

Also, when you save the endearments you receive, place them in quotation marks (proper “inverted commas” for effect) and provide attribution. You want to know who sent you the love so rather than read by rote, you can vividly picture the person saying it to you, complete with your reaction to it, each time you recall it.

Now who do you compliment first? That should be easy. Of course, send your first love lines to a friend who is going through the roughest patch in life, maybe to a very close friend of yours or along with a thank-you note, to whoever sent you this love story that got you off the ground.

Oh and don’t forget to send some love, from time to time, to people who least deserve it, for, they’re the ones who need love the most. This is a true test of character. Are you nice to others because they are nice to you or are you a nice person by nature? There’s a vast difference.

Important thing is to get started. Balance your hedonistic side with some altruistic nectar.

And where, pray tell, should we harvest all the love our friends send us? I was afraid you’d never ask. Android users need look no further than downloading this neat little free clipper app (iOS folks should have something similar). Then populate it with a starter pack like I did, by simply excerpting a few love lines from your social media.

Just one caveat. While you must onboard your family, both immediate and extended, on the love story bandwagon, what you don’t want is exchanging accolades with them. Friends, unlike families, have no skin in the game therefore more credible.

Well-meaning family can be the ultimate refuge for unconditional love which has a cardinal place in your life but it’s beyond the scope of this story.

Likewise, spare your vendors, employees and any mutual admiration partners that have vested interests. These ain’t testimonials so no need to go overboard.

The best part is accolades reinforce behavior which begets more accolades until the positive feedback loop thunders into a torrential downpour of love as it happened to me.

Late in life, I’m 62 now 😱 (dang, why did I have to blurt out my age at this time?), in merely a week after I began gleaning people’s love for me from social media, I’ve built a sizeable stockpile of love, without seeking it even, and it’s showing no signs of letting up. No, I’m not beating myself for not starting sooner coz, unlike yours, much of my life was bereft of social media so love wasn’t digitally recordable, much less, transmissible.

Now imagine the vast fortune of true love you can amass in your lifetime if you started early. Like, this weekend? And even then, consider this. What you can savour in one sitting will be a fleeting glance of twenty-odd twinkly stars in your growing galaxy of love.

What do I say to those smart alecks that are quick to dismiss this as a narcissistic act of vanity? Not so fast, pilgrim. Not by a long shot, sherlock. Those are leftovers of freudian psychology. Today we know better.

Given, you can’t love the world any more than you love yourself, do you think the world would give a bleep how much you’re into yourself as long as you’re a better mom or a better dad, a better spouse and a better sibling, a better son or a better daughter, a better friend and a better neighbor? Heck, no.

Au contraire, when we’re hopelessly lonesome as we all are bound to feel from time to time, and we refuse to reach out for help, it takes boatloads of love to sail through choppy waters. That’s when we fall back on supplies we’ve built.

If what happened to others is anything to go by, you wouldn’t wanna bet on going solo. As unlikely as it may seem, when suicidal ideation, there I said it, is biochemically mediated, you need to be on a war footing to battle it. Love is your ultimate savior!

Like, seriously. We are all strong until we’re not. View it as a love supplement that constantly nourishes your heart so you don’t have to numb your pain with food, alcohol, drugs or god forbid, ending it when all hope is lost.

What the? Not exactly what you signed up for. Not too gooey, lovey-dovey but as grown-ups, that was one grim convo we had to have. It didn’t take a tick, did it? Now, will you feign a smile for me, plis?

Oh and do let your loved one in on your loot lest you forget where you’ve stashed it, just when you need it.

Okay, that’s all fine and dandy but what does a typical love letter look like? Ken Blanchard of One Minute Manager fame avers: praise in public and reprimand in private. I’m taking it to the next level, openly posting my love life, just to give you a sense of its affluence.

However, I forbid you not to delve into it in any detail. Just joking. You’ve better things to do than crane your neck to take a peek at how girls are gushing over me 😔 Be my guest and eye-ball this week’s snapshot of the love letter, a prem patré that my love storytelling world keeps appending accolades to untiringly.

Are you back? Come let’s take one last deep-dive. We’re almost on the home stretch.

What catapulted me into fast-tracking this story is the devastating extent to which silent depression, and its attendant suicide, are rearing their ugly head, wrecking people’s lives due, in large part, to the social isolation mandated by this pandemic.

More importantly, the gripping fear that someday we may succumb to it may be more crippling than the deadly virus itself, further lowering our immune defenses for all-cause mortality.

Our immune system conjures up images of this formidable fortress that shields us from disease. In a similar vein, love is our mind’s own immune defense, a cerebral citadel that shields us from despair.

In fact, there are really only two basic emotions: love and fear. If you are not acting out of love, you are acting out of fear. Despair is a derivative emotion. This is the core of Love Therapy. Your love letter is your love therapist.

If we act together, we can dispel the doom and gloom of all this distancing. Once it goes viral, our love will prevail over fear. Like it says in the song:

You may be too young to write a will but you’re never too old to write a love letter — a legacy that will live on forever!

KJ Subz is a Software Engineer turned Heartware Entrepreneur based out of Bangalore, India. Passionate about Performance Music after-hours, he practices Lifestyle Medicine by day.

You can connect with him on Instagram, Facebook or WhatsApp. You could also check out his Lifestyle Medicine profile or Performance Music bullet bio.

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