What the World Needs Now…
In wake of recent events in Orlando, the sentiment that we need more love in the world has been prominent, and rightly so. Trite-but-true phrases about loving one another have been all over my news feeds. All this talk of loving has got me thinking about what that really means. It is easy to say you love someone you’ve never met who is thousands of miles away, when it only has to be in the abstract. But what are some ways that love can be put into practice? I have been lazy about love recently. Here is what I plan to work on:
- Speaking up when I see or hear something. I am guilty of not doing this. Often I let friends and family members’ racist or homophobic or sexist posts scroll past, or let there comments go without remark. Relationships are important, but so are lives, and that is what is at stake.
- Vocally letting people know I am holding a safe space. Again, I am guilty of not doing this. I do not often express my views in public ways. How is someone supposed to know they can turn to me without judgment if they do not know where I stand?
- Holding space. I am learning more and more how powerful it is to craft one’s own narrative. It helps us make sense of things; it helps us define who we are; it helps us connect to others. By allowing our loved ones the room to explore their story we can show them that they matter. We can show them that they belong. And while we cannot take away the grief or pain or confusion or whatever it may be that they are experiencing, we can walk with them.
- Listening…yet another skill for me to work on. Really, truly listening requires vulnerability. If some one disagrees with us or has an experience that to share that we cannot relate to, it can feel threatening. Listening means taking our defenses down and seeking to understand. I want to be able to listen when someone tells says that my comments are hurtful. I want to be able to take it as an opportunity to re-evaluate myself, instead of seeing it as a chance to talk them out of their opinion.
Mr. Rogers is quoted as saying, “Love isn’t a perfect state of caring. It’s an active noun like ‘struggle’. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.” I want to add more of that kind of love to the world.
What other ways have you found to make loving a more active process?