Step 3: Expressing Love

Take the time to think about the one person you love the most in the entire world. What is their name? What do they look like, sound like, smell like? What are they wearing, and how are they acting? Absorb the entirety of this person, and imagine they are with you right at this moment. Now I want you to think about why you love them so much. Why is this person important to you, and do they know how much they mean to you? If the answer is no, then what are you waiting for? If the answer is yes, then what can you do to remind them of it? Now that you have reflected a bit on one of your deepest loves in life, it is time you put your thoughts into action. Sadly, those we love so dearly often do not know how much they actually effect our lives, and they may never know if we do not frequently display our feelings towards them. You never know how long you will have with particular individuals on this earth, so it is important that you appreciate every second spent with them and show them your gratitude through words and actions.

This past August, I received devastating news about someone I love unconditionally; my Grandmother, “Grammy”, was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. The news hit me and the rest of my family like a block of concrete. Grammy is the rock of our family, always watching over and taking care of everyone. She holds all the holiday dinners at her lovely old tutor house and refuses to be anything but selfless. Grammy is my best friend and a great role model. We share many similar opinions, values, and beliefs. Shopping together was always my favorite pastime because Grammy has the best taste in clothes and is very fashionable. When I found out the news about her illness, I was in disbelief. At first, I was in utter hostility with the world and refused to do anything but mope. It was emotionally taxing for me to even talk to Grammy, and this is what pained me the most. The idea of losing someone I have so much love for drove me mad, yet I knew I could not just hide from the world. Since the shortness of life became evidently clear to me through this distressing news, I became aware of how unprompted life can be. It became a duty of mine to let Grammy know how much I love her and to do the same for everyone else I love because I may not always have the opportunity to.

That is the fact of life; it is full of opportunities, if you use them wisely. Tell that person you pictured a few minutes ago how much you love them. It can be simply ineffective to just say, “hey, I love you”, so tell them why you love them. Give them full details with examples and enthusiasm. Give them a hug, write them a letter, or simply just be there for them. These affectionate actions make relationships and people stronger. Your love can be spread to everyone you encounter, and all it takes are small words and actions to illuminate your heart.

I challenge you to daily express your love towards someone you care about, whether that is complimenting them, thanking them for making you smile, or praising their talents. Once you can do that, I challenge you to show some love to people less close to you. Give a stranger a high-five, hold a conversation with someone who looks lonely, or tell someone with rockin’ hair that they have rockin’ hair! Deeds like these can transform somebody’s day and possibly their life. You never know how much someone may need a little more love in their life, and you never know how much longer their life will be. Love until the end of time because you never know if it will be the only thing you can depend on. “Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.” – Pedro Arrupe, S.J.


Step 2: Recognizing Love

Kisses, hugs, roses, and heart shaped diamond necklaces on dinner dates: all clear, conventional visions of love. I can remember growing up, getting blissfully excited for October 10th every year, my parents anniversary. It would make my heart grow in admiration of their deep and affectionate love for each other. Every year, my dad puts on his nicest, new, spunky suit and tie, and I usually help my mother pick out a nice outfit for their dinner date. The two smile like giddy teenagers as I take a few pictures of them in front of the fireplace in our den. “This is what true love is”, I say to myself as I wave goodbye to them for the night. It is clear to identify this kind of love, the love of two partners living in complete harmony and fidelity to each other. However, some love is not as recognizable as that of two spouses at first glance. Love is not limited to this passionate, romantic version. It has no boundaries, requirements, or limits. It is something you feel and act on, and it is seen in everyday life; you just have to recognize it.

What if I told you I love you? You would most likely feel shocked, uncomfortable, and probably a bit frightened. That is normal! People do not just go up to everyday acquaintances and strangers in their lives and tell them they love them. Love is more often shown through actions rather than said. You never know when one tiny act of love and service can make an immense impact on one person or an entire community. Johnny, a nineteen-year-old grocery store bagger, found a way to do just this, by inspiring each costumer he met. Explained in this video is how a simple action of kindness and positivity can amass an entire community to feel loved and joyful. Johnny stated that he is “just a bagger”, but that did not stop him from making his job and his costumers feel special. His “thought of the day” brought smiles to people’s faces and eventually “transformed the store”, as the manager claims. Inspired by Johnny’s acts of love, the floral department of the store began to give broken flowers and unused corsages to elderly women and young girls. Creating memories, smiles, and happiness is what love is about. It brings communities together and allows people to live the way the world is supposed to live, in peace and harmony. All it took was one teenager’s idea to spark a movement of love across an entire population of people.

A small note of inspiration is not something thought to make that vast of an impact, causing a surge of customers and a renovation of a grocery store, but it did. All it took was one customer’s recognition of Johnny’s love, and by word of mouth, lives were transformed. A little bit of love can go a long way if we allow it to. One way we can recognize love is by noticing the everyday blessings and acknowledging anyone who contributed to them. For example, this may be thanking a classmate for helping you study for an exam and letting them know how much it meant to you. By recognizing, acknowledging, and praising another individual’s act of service, you are encouraging them to continue to spread love in good deeds, and this can spread to vaster groups of people. The more we notice love, the more we can help spread love!

I hope you now know that you don’t have to receive roses and kisses from as many people as possible to detect and be familiar with love in your life. Love is all around us; it just takes a bit of positive insight and encouragement to enable it. Keeping a “love journal” that you write in at the end of every day with all the acts of love you saw that day recorded in it is one tactile way to notice love in your everyday life. However, the real challenge is using your own brain and heart as this journal, and investing in the process. Put on your love glasses and guise at the world with your heart instead of your eyes.