Do you remember the first time you said “I love you” to a human being who wasn’t a family member? Even more importantly, do you know how many times in your life thus far you’ve uttered those words to others? Counting them up would make for a great rainy day task, right?
As teenagers, we’re in love with the idea of love. As young adults, love is connected to significant others and the search for a mate. But as we mature we realize that, just like the proverbial rainbow, love is more than just one shade. It takes on the hues of appreciation, admiration, acceptance. And tolerance.
Loving other people is an important tenet of many faiths. However I think it’s equally important to love ourselves. Not unlike putting on your oxygen mask before assisting others in an airplane emergency, if we don’t love ourselves how can we spread love to others? Furthermore, contrary to what you might think, loving ourselves in turn makes us lovable.
And that brings up a good question: how do you love those who are UNlovable? Individuals far wiser than I have pondered this. My humble thoughts are these. We are all here for a purpose, whether that be good or bad. As we live, we impact the lives of others around us, also for good or bad. Together, we help one another fulfill our mutual purposes. In other words, we are all necessary to one another.
In the case of those with dark hearts, I choose to use the alternative form of love that I mentioned above. I tolerate them. Because without their darkness, the beautiful light of someone who is courageous, and giving, AND loving would never shine so brightly.