Written during a cold November, AAPN publisher, Richard James had some thoughts about LOVE. Thirty days worth…
Day 1 – What is LOVE? My answer: Sacrifice for the joy of the other.
Day 2 – What is LOVE? The strengthening and encouragement for the other to reach their highest potential.
Day 2 – What is LOVE? An understanding of mutual respect. An deep appreciation for the other.
Day 3 – What is LOVE? The knowing that the other will be there for you when you are no longer attractive or when you are sick or when you are penniless.
Day 3 – What is LOVE? It is irrational trust in the other. It is the risk of being hurt. It is the lowering of your defenses.
Day 3 – What is LOVE? Perhaps love is hard to define. And I am no expert, that’s for sure. But I am pretty sure what LOVE is not: selfish manipulation, oppressive control tactics and exploitation. LOVE is none of these things.
LOVE is never abusive or deceptive.
And I doubt seriously that LOVE is violent. Violence comes from anger and anger comes from fear. And FEAR is not LOVE.
Day 3 – What is LOVE? When Mother Theresa went to Calcutta India for the first time, the story goes, she was a young woman. She saw a woman dying in the gutter. She stopped the car that she traveling in, got out and held the woman in her arms. The woman gave a smile of gratitude then she died. that was an act of love.
Unfortunately, some people never know LOVE.
Day 4 – What is LOVE? It is recognizing our own faults, limitations, dysfunctional behaviors and correcting them for the betterment of the relationship, the other’s growth and for the self.
Day 5 – What is LOVE? Love is a healing thing. Don’t confuse the NEED to be loved with LOVE. The hunger for love can bring disastrous results. Our craving to be loved short circuits our judgement and renders common sense useless.
LOVE builds us up, not tear us down.
Day 6 – What is LOVE? Sometimes it is a non-verbal expression like a smile, a gentle touch, or a wave goodbye. Sometimes it is implicit rather than explicit. Recognizing it requires great skill and wisdom.
Day 7 – What is LOVE? People used to say, “Love is not having to say you’re sorry.” I disagree. We are all imperfect human beings who are prone to make mistakes. We are likely to hurt the ones we love. LOVE is the deep remorse for causing pain in the other and the resultant healing of the relationship through forgiveness.
Day 7 – What is LOVE? It is when someone does something special for you, because you are in their life. In other words… If you were not present, nowhere to be found, the other would miss you. They recognize the gift of life and how fragile it is. They value every precious moment when you are with them. Because one day the inevitable separation will occur.
Day 8 – What is LOVE? “Love is like a beautiful butterfly resting in the palm of your hand. Appreciate it, admire it, cherish it but don’t try to hold on to it. Controlling it will only destroy its beauty, will only crush it.”
Day 9 – What is LOVE? It’s gently nagging the other to take care of themselves. It is nudging them to be healthy in mind, body and spirit. It is reminding them that they are not alone in this world and that they have friends that care about them.
Day 10 – What is LOVE? Time is probably our most precious possession. Each of us have an unknown, finite amount. How we use our time is our choice. Choosing spend time with a friend is a great gift of LOVE.
Day 11 – What is LOVE? It is telling the other the TRUTH when they don’t want to hear it. But truth telling is tricky business. Truth can be used to hurt or heal someone. We must examine our motives before speaking our inner thoughts. Some truths are best left unsaid. Speak the truth with LOVE. (You might lose a friend but you could save a life.) The TV reality show INTERVENTION comes to mind. Relatives and friends eventually refuse to support dysfunctional behavior and they reveal their true feelings for the sake of the one at risk.
It is a painful process but not hurtful.
Day 12 – What is LOVE? Love is wanting to be with the other even when it is impractical.
Day 13 – What is LOVE? A co-worker told me of her hardships in the taking care of her husband who was bed-ridden. She couldn’t afford a nursing home. She took a part-time job at the bookstore where we both worked to pay the bills. One day she said, “Richard, how does a 110 lb. woman lift a 180 lb. man? By attitude!” She said a nursing home manager had gave her some advice, “If you don’t think of it as a problem – it won’t be.”
Day 14 – What is LOVE? It crosses all boundaries. It does not respect social conventions. It turns up in the most unlikely of places. It is not logical. It cannot be bound or restricted. It survives even DEATH.
Day 15 – What is LOVE? It is the unifying characteristic of music. (See the video by Playing for Change, Higher Ground.
Day 16 – What is LOVE? It is the caring for the other. It is caring for each other. It is NOT using the other for our own selfish interests.
Pedophilia is the opposite of LOVE. Sexual child abuse is an illness, perhaps an evil. The sexual gratification of children by an adult creates deep psychological and emotional scars that could last the entire lifetime of the victim.
Sexual abuse destroys trust, creates anxiety, sexual confusion and feelings of shame and guilt. The child almost always believes that she/he was at fault.
Why does this happen? Who knows. But it is my guess that the offender, the perpetrator, the defiler was/is so consumed with his own pain that he didn’t care about the others he hurt.
Statistic: 1-in-four women have been sexually abused when they were children. (1-in-6 for men) Quite often the abuser is a close friend or family member.
How do we stop the epidemic? I have few suggestions;
1. LOVE the survivors of sexual abuse. Appreciate their courage of living beyond the trauma.
2. Scrutinize all who work or interact with children. This sounds harsh but pedophiles will hide themselves among those who are close to children.
3. Report sexual abuse to police.
4. Now’s here’s the kicker… No doubt you agreed with the first suggestion, “Love the survivor of sexual abuse.” But what if the survivor was also an abuser? Sexual abuse is like a contagious disease. It can spread like a virus.
Can we love the abuser? Can we love thine enemy?
If you can LOVE the lowest of the low, then you truly know what LOVE is. Loving is not easy.
Day 17 – What is LOVE? It is the warm feeling you feel when you know – without a doubt – that you are loved. It is the comfort of knowing that others value you. And you don’t have to do anything to earn their love. This allows you to face the world’s problems with confidence, because you know that someone has your back.
Day18 – What is LOVE? Does love cross species lines? Watch the YouTube clip, then you decide.
Day 19 – What is LOVE? It is doing something nice for somebody else. Just a little something to make that person’s life a little bit easier. It is doing something to show appreciation and affection without expecting anything in return.
Day 20 – What is LOVE? It is fond anticipation of enjoying each other’s company during a holiday like thanksgiving.
Day 21 – What is LOVE? It is discipline. It is the “going the extra mile” for the other. It is doing something you don’t want to do, but you will do it because it will benefit the other. Example: Good parents sacrifice themselves for their children in order for their children to grow up healthy. This self discipline is very difficult and can require tremendous personal effort.
Day 22 – What is LOVE? It is said to be an enduring flame that is never extinguished. I suppose this is true. But for some, it is more like a flickering candle in a strong wind. It might not go out but its light is erratic.
Day 23 – What is LOVE? Whatever it is, it is often complicated.
Day 24 – What is LOVE? It is being grateful that the other is in your life. It is appreciation. It is saying “thank you” in a thousand ways. It is the inward smile you get when you know that you are loved.
Day 24 – What is LOVE? Enjoying family on Thanksgiving Day.
Day 25 – What is LOVE? The “love of self” creates high self-esteem. Self respect enables individuals to endure the “troubles of life”. It is the road less traveled. Most people conform. They cower in the darkness of common wisdom. Most people disregard their sense of integrity or self worth to gain the benefits of this material world.
The person that LOVES him/herself is courageous. They have high standards. They compromise only in the interest of all involved. They won’t sell out for personal gain.
Self love is not egotism. Self love is not narcissism. Dr. Martin Luther King said it this way, “A man can’t ride your back unless it’s bent.” A healthy love of self lift others up. Standing up straight when the winds of change and uncertainty swirl around you, sets an example for others.
Self love is valuing yourself when others won’t.
Day 26 – What is LOVE? Endurance. Persistence. Perseverance. Most of us have had individuals in our lives that truly cared for us, especially when we were the most vulnerable – when we were children. Usually, but not always, these persons were our parents. Sometimes another member of the family like an aunt or a grandmother took the role of nurturer or provider. In extraordinary cases, it might have been a friend or an acquaintance. For them, the sufferings that they had to endure was a “Labor of LOVE”.
Day 27 – What is LOVE? Well, how about this one… love your body? Think about it, its the only one you got. Some consider the body to be a temple. It is irresponsible to treat it badly. Do this: bend over and touch your toes. If you can’t, you are out of shape. Of course there may be medical reasons why a person could do such a simple task, but for most Americans it is due to a lack of exercise. Keeping your body healthy is a form of self love. (Simple stretching exercises, done slowly over a consistent period of time will loosen tight muscles. Limber up.)
Abusing your body speaks to larger psychological and emotional problems. Please get the help you need. Illegal drug use, excessive eating and drinking (or dieting), smoking, and overworking are signs of deeper issues.
Day 28 – What is LOVE? It is the ability to let go and let live. Life is full of separations. People zip in and out of our lives all the time. Most, we will never see again. As we approach the ending of another year, take a moment to remember old friends. Wish them well. (See photo above)
“Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne ?
And for those who are still in your life, appreciate their presence.
And if you’re lucky to experience a homecoming, a reuniting, a reconnection with an old friend or relative… cherish the moment. (Like a soldier returning from war. Bring the troops home.)
Day 29 – What is LOVE? Common courtesy. It is treating the other the way you would want to be treated. It is an acknowledgement of universal equality.
We all have hopes, fears, desires, secrets, past mistakes that we must deal with everyday. No one is exempt. No one is perfect. We all have feelings. We all are vulnerable.
Understanding the other’s point of view is huge first step toward peaceful co-existence. Being civil in an uncivilized world requires the courage to be a non-conformist. Loving can be a revolutionary action. The golden rule can be considered a manifesto of LOVE. Treating each other with respect and dignity, is a radical idea.
Day 30 – What does love mean to you?