When I was a teenager, observing how one develops feelings of love (and watching Sixteen Candles, Footloose and St Elmo’s Fire for guidance) I was pretty sure that love happened. It was a switch that flipped, a rush; see this adorable one minute animation for an example.
Now, as I’m approaching 50, I see love differently.
When my third child was born, I wasn’t sure that I could love her “as much”. When they put her tiny body on mine moments after she was born, I observed her. I didn’t fall in love. I thought – gosh she’s big. She came fast. She really does look like her 3-D sonogram pics. Technology is amazing.
I didn’t think “I love her.” It’s just not where my head went.
In early February, pre-pandemic, I adopted a puppy. To do so, I sorted through all these dog mug shots online, looking for a creature to love. Does this dog need me? Would this dog fit with our family? I read the heart wrenching biographies, and then before we even meet the dog, we committed to it.
When I met her, I thought: she’s small and wriggly. Can I love this dog? Will I? Or will she just be an obligation, a chore.
I nursed that baby and I trained that dog. I fed, I walked, I burped, I came when they cried. In taking care of them, I verbed my love. I loved them in my actions.
I love on all kinds of things – I love on my rug when I vacuum it, my windows when I clean them. My clothes when I wash and fold them, my teeth when I brush them.
Love is a verb.
By waiting for love to strike, we leave our fate up to forces beyond our control. When we do the work of love, the labor of love we create love. Like Elsa throwing out icicles, we can throw out love wherever we want to, to whomever needs it.
By throwing out love, we become more agile in our love webs. We move faster, develop more connections, and surround ourselves with this powerful, peaceful feeling.
At work, I love my clients. I listen, we imagine, we build together. I support. I check in. I gently encourage, and when asked I advocate for your better self. I get to know who you are and we co-create who you want to be. I love you to that place.
Love is a word I’m starting to use more actively, because really, why be sparing with it? It increases the more you give.
With love (I mean it!),
PS: I want to recognize it’s been a while since my last newsletter (six weeks, to be precise). If you’d like to hear from me more regularly, please subscribe to my podcast wherever you listen. Here are some of my recent episodes:
- Black Lives Matter: Time To Speak Up
- Ring Theory: How To Comfort, and Ask For The Comfort You Need
- What’s The Story You’re Telling Yourself?
PPS: After you listen to all the freebies, use the code ALLISON for a free month of my podcast.