Valentine’s Day will be the topic of many comments, blogs and articles in the coming weeks. Perhaps “Love is in the air,” but it’s certainly in our newsfeeds and advertising.
A quote by Marianne Williamson got me thinking about love in general. She said, “Love is the essential existential fact. It is our reality and our purpose on earth.”
In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, love is positioned in the middle. Physiological needs and safety are basic, but esteem and self-actualization need love and belonging as a foundation.
Love is a Foundational Gift
We begin life a bit oblivious to the needs and dreams of others. As we grow, we become more aware of others. If we’re astute, we notice someone everyday who needs and would appreciate some small expression of love. Their “foundation” of belonging and being loved may be a little shaky. Maybe they just need a virtual hug at the moment. To the extent we are able, it’s good to make expressing and giving love to others a daily objective.
We can give it to a haggard parent, an ignored or needy child, to those who serve us in a myriad of ways, to an older family member, to someone ailing, someone angry, someone harried, someone sad, even to someone who seems to be having a great day. We can give words of love to someone who is always giving love, but may not frequently hear the reciprocal words. Why don’t we give love to someone we encounter at 3 pm today?
What does it mean to “give love?” Love is in the simple things. We can give love as a smile, a kind word, a helping hand, a small compliment, a touch. We can give it with our attention, our time, our words, our money. Maybe this month we can write a few “I’m thinking of you” notes. Perhaps, once a week we could generously pay for coffee or a meal or parking for an unexpecting stranger.
A Love Habit
As the New Century Version of 1 Corinthians 13:13 says, “So these three things continue forever: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.” Expressions of love don’t end in February, but it’s a great month to get into the habit. Let’s get into the habit of giving love away.
Love isn’t like a pie or cake with a limited number of servings. Love grows to whatever size is needed as we become increasingly fortunate to have more people to love in our lives. Our hearts expand and our lives are enriched.
In whatever form it takes, the more love we give away, the more ours grows. That’s what I’ve discovered.