Passionately Loving

“Chirp chirp chirp!”  “Hold still little guy. I am only trying to help you!” I say to the injured baby bird. It had fallen out of its nest, and the mother was nowhere in sight. I was about fourteen years old at the time, and the flowers were just beginning to bloom for the springtime. With an old, grimy pair of work gloves on, I carefully placed the wounded bird into a shoe box with a blanket of paper towels. I looked at the bird, and the bird glared at me with its glossy eyes as I pondered on what to do next. I did not just want to place the creature behind a bush and abandon it; I was determined to help it at all costs. With a bit of research and phone calls to the wildlife rehabilitation center, I was informed that the bird probably had a concussion and broken wing and needed to be kept in a dark room. I quickly ran back outside, grabbed the box with the bird in it, and carried it into my house into my bedroom closet. “Chirp chirp chirp!” “Shhhh no chirping in my house!” I ordered the tiny, winged animal. I decided to call the bird “Jimmy”, and decorated his shoe box with his name written in marker. Jimmy kept quiet that night and I was worried he did not survive. However, when I opened my closet door and peeked into the shoebox, Jimmy’s globelike eyes and pointy beak greeted me with another “Chirp!” Thrilled about Jimmy’s survival, my dad and I drove him to the wildlife rehabilitation center that morning. The workers were very pleased and amused to see my “Jimmy” labeled box and the curious little bird inside of it, alive and loud as ever. I felt so warm and pleased with what I had done on that early spring day. On the car ride back home, I could not help but to feel a bit empty. I craved more. I wanted more. I wanted to feel more love, like I did when I saw that I had helped the bird’s injury. I have found that everything I do and everything I have a passion for fits into the category of loving and serving others, and I plan on living this quality out through my entire life path. “Where do you see yourself in ten years?” “How much money do you want to make?” “What job do you want?” These are all specific questions that I am often bombarded with and cannot answer. Quite frankly, I do not see how any nineteen-year-old could answer these questions about their future. The best way for me to answer questions like this is to simply respond with, “I will do what I love to do.”

I believe that no matter what one’s passion is, they should live life fully enveloped in that passion. Whether it is music, school, sports, or whatever seizes your imagination, what you love the most should take up most of your life. Whether you believe it or not, love is what the world revolves around! Who you love, what you love, and how you express love drives the world towards happiness and success. In the words of English poet Alexander Pope, “The ruling passion, be it what it will. The ruling passion conquers reason still.” The power of money, security, and conformity never outrank the power of one’s true passions. There is a reason people feel so strongly about the things they love, and this intense emotion can emerge from the inside out if they allow it. Passion is the most powerful aspect of life, and for me my passions are my life; my life is my passion. What is yours?


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.


Step 1: Love Yourself

What if I told you to look into a mirror right now, and examine yourself and your qualities? How many would you be proud and boastful of, and how many would you be ashamed and embarrassed about? It may be easy to profess your love for other people, such as your friends and family, but do you ever think of the person who you spend the most time with, control, and understand the most? That’s right, it is you! You should love yourself and what you live for with every piece of your heart, even when you make mistakes. You are your own person and your own best friend; you were made uniquely different from every other human being and should celebrate every moment of your life on this earth. I mean, think about it. Absolutely no other human being on this planet is the same as you. You are special, so celebrate it! By learning how to successfully love yourself completely and fully, you should be able to look yourself in that mirror and say, “Hey good looking, I hope you have a fantastic day because you rock!” because that is what you deserve!

Loving oneself can be the most challenging concept to learn and live by. It may seem unnecessary, selfish, or just plain false to some people. I know for a fact that this was one of my biggest challenges in life and still is from time to time. I had a very secluded view of love growing up, and this is where my difficulties stemmed. I would watch movies like Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast and think that love meant being swept away by a royal prince and moving into a castle to start living happily ever after. It was all just this fictional, fairy-tale to me, where love is meant only for princesses. Though I may have dressed like a princess every year for Halloween, I never thought of myself as one. I specifically remember one instance, when I around the age of six, where my dad was putting me to bed one night, and he called me a “princess”. I replied, “I’m not a princess dad”, and he said, “Why is that?” I sternly answered, “Because I don’t have a pretty enough face for a prince to fall in love with me.” Of course, my Dad, being the ridiculous man he is, leaves the room and comes back in a prince charming costume, placing his enormous slipper on my tiny foot exclaiming, “The glass slipper fits! You are truly a beautiful princess!” I remember this whenever I feel self-conscious or embarrassed about myself and my qualities. My dad is one of the most influential people in my life, and this simple moment of my youth is just one example of how. He is never afraid of what others think of him, and he wears all his goofy, ridiculously unique traits on his sleeve with a smile. From that day forward, I remember not only dressing like a princess, but becoming one in my own way.

Whether it is Disney princesses, Victoria’s Secret models, superheroes, or sport’s icons, we all desire to be someone else besides ourselves at some points in our lives. Today’s media makes it difficult for young people to accept themselves as being beautiful when they are compared to picture-perfect beings in magazines and television, and no one is alone when it comes to this struggle. In fact, The Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report reveals the impact low body esteem has on a woman’s ability to realize her potential, with nearly all women (85%) and girls (79%) saying they opt out of important life activities – such as trying out for a team or club, and engaging with family or loved ones – when they don’t feel good about the way they look. Although you may never have the same ballgowns, body-type, or talent as these so called “perfect” people, you can always have an unlimited amount of love in your life, which will bring you 1,000 times more happiness.

Your time on earth is limited; in fact, it is dangerously short. Do not waste your time wishing you were different, but embrace yourself and just live in love and happiness! This is your life, so treat yourself with the most affection as you can. Whether that involves taking a killer selfie or writing yourself love letters, there are hundreds of ways to show your self-appreciation. Before you can adequately love others, you must learn to love yourself.


For the Love of Love!

What is the definition of love to you? Is it a feeling, concept or action? For me, love has a very broad definition, and I see it in every aspect of my life. From the bubbly professors who seem to be excited for class everyday to the gracious gesture of a fellow student holding a door open for me, my heart is warm with love in many moments and for many people. Love is everywhere, and it is the most important aspect of my life. I know what you are thinking: “This girl is nuts!” There is no way love is that prominent in day-to-day life, right? Well, I am going to try to convince you all otherwise with this blog of mine. I am going to give an extensive definition of the word “love” and what it means to me as well as offer advice on how to be more aware of love and how to express it more frequently. Love is more than just the romantic, Romeo and Juliet kind with roses, hearts, handholding, boyfriends, and girlfriends. It is being with someone or a group of people that make you feel warm, happy, and welcomed. It is coming home to your favorite home cooked meal, dancing like a maniac in your room with friends, or even simply acknowledging somebody with a luminous smile. I get it, love is complicated. It is not a light subject that should be tossed around like meaningless nonsense. Its message is powerful, large, and real, so we must learn how to handle it and how to properly use the phrase, “I love you”.

The concept of love did not always play a huge role in my life, however. In fact, I struggled with the idea for a very long period, especially during the first few years of my high school career. Being the youngest of three brothers and having a mother with nine brothers, I have many aunts, uncles, and relatives to share moments with in my life. I would get graduation, birthday, and Christmas cards from all of these people who supposedly “love” me, but for some reason I never used to feel that warm sensation I thought people are supposed to feel. I was numb to the phrase “I love you”. I felt like these words were being thrown around so often and so bluntly that they had no meaning. My parents, brothers, and I are never very sappy or affectionate towards each other, but we would say we loved each other on special occasions, which seemed to be enough for me. I believed that they did because they are my family, and that is their job. I began to question this whole idea of finding love, experiencing love, and feeling love. As I grew, especially recently in my young adult years, I began to see more clearly as to what love really is. What I learned was that people do not tell you they love you if they do not mean it, and sometimes, the word “love” is not even mentioned. Love is not a noun; it is a verb. It is not some concept or magical thing that grows in people, but it is the way humans interact with and treat one another. You show your love for your school when you wear its colors and name. You share your love for someone when you ask how their day was. You experience love every day, yet you might not realize it. So, let us live more, and the love will come naturally. I am not saying everyone must love everyone. That would just be impossible. My goal for this blog is to open the minds of people in modern day society to show more affection towards each other and realize that there is always someone who loves you. With just a little more love, we can make the world a more peaceful, happy, healthy place.

-C. Hart