What is love? Love is part of human nature just as the need to love and be loved is as essential as breathing. Some people say being loved is the best feeling in the world, but being loved is actually the second best. The best feeling in the world comes from loving someone else. Baker believes, “Altruism is the purest form of appreciation, it empowers you to love people even when they don’t’ love you. You can’t really feel someone else loving you. That love is their experience, not yours. You can only feel it when you love them.” Altruism is a kind of love sometimes referred to as the great paradox. The paradox being when you give something to someone else, you are the one who benefits the most. The getting is in the giving. People who are altruistic are happy; likewise, people who are happy are altruistic. They recognize how essential love is to living and breathing.
Loving another person requires you to love yourself-you cannot share with others what you do not have. If you do not love yourself, you cannot love anyone else either. Loving self is not a sign of vanity, egotism, or self-centeredness. Haddock speaks of the benefits of possessing an inner love that generates a love for others, “When you move from self-centeredness to genuine love for yourself intellectually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, you learn to love with a higher love, unconditionally.” Genuine love is the ultimate goal in life.
In his book, The Road Less Traveled, Peck provides a beautiful demonstration of love, “Love is the total commitment to the full development of the potential of the other.” A selfless commitment is evident in the love you have for your children. When you truly love others, you want what is best for them to succeed. Most people at some point in life will experience failure, but they still strive to reach their potential. Fortunately, “Most of us can take any defeat if we have some people who love us”-McGinnis. You can experience emotional feelings of love when you show love toward others because those who love are loved.
Love is not an abstract emotion-love is something you do. The act of love and kindness generates feelings of love and kindness. Engaging in loving behaviors expand and intensify your feelings of love toward others. One way to express love for others is to serve them. Mother Teresa shows by example that service is love in action. The more service you render, the more love you receive. Ironically, those who serve almost always benefit more than the one who is served. Love creates a win-win relationship. The abundance of love in your life is determined by how much of it you give away through service. Sir Winston Churchill coins it best, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” Love motivates giving and is good for the soul. The good news is love does not expect anything in return.
You do not have to be a genius to make a difference in the world or contribute to society. One benchmark to strive for in your transformation is your contribution of small acts of service. The service you render will come from your gifts and talents. Let your light illuminate others through your service. Service is the antidote to selfishness. The destructive effects of selfishness are overcome by reaching out to others.
Love is the antidote of fear and can change people emotionally and physiologically. Love will overcome and conquer fear. Love’s power transcends deeply embedded pain caused by fear. The more love is increased, the more fear decreases. Fear is often portrayed as hate, and you often hate that which you are afraid. You cannot hate some and love others as love and hate cannot exist in the same heart. A healthy heart is void of hate and fear. Decreasing the role fear plays in your life is the only way you can truly fulfill your potential as a human being. The apostle John reveals this truth, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear.” Live intentionally by making decisions based on love not fear.
Countless books are written about love that includes testimonies of how love has changed people’s lives. You may not have a problem giving your love to others, but you do not allow it to come back in. In order for the law of love to work, the cycle is not complete unless you let love come back in after sending it out.
Part of your life’s mission is to invite the virtue of love deep into your being, so you may be sustained by its great power. The process of love has the capacity to improve the world by changing the hearts of mankind. The virtue of love changes not only your life but also the lives of those with whom you nurture relationships. The virtues of love embedded deeply within your soul has powerful lasting effects.
In his epistle to the Galatians, Paul writes, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he reap,” which is commonly known as the law of cause and effect. The scripture means whatever you send out, will return. Likewise, whatever you reap today is the result of what you have sown in the past. Reade clarifies, “Sow a thought and you reap an act; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; Sow a character and you reap destiny.” If you desire to reap a different outcome in the future, then you need to sow different seeds today. The seeds you will sow are thoughts and actions in all areas of your life. If you are in need of changes in your life, then you will need to select different seeds to sow. If you sow positive thoughts and perform good deeds, then you will reap a bounteous harvest of quality changes. What you plan to reap, you must be prepared to sow. If you want to be loved, you too must love.