So, I stumbled onto a radical idea today while I was eating some peanuts.
What if you treated everyone you encountered like a member of your family and, further, told them that you loved them
? I mean, everyone
--and really, sincerely meant it. The lady at the dry cleaners, that C-you-next-Tuesday who is mean to the lunch delivery guy at work, your neighbors--everyone.
One of my favorite success coaches and hypnotherapists, Michael Neill,
brought this little gem to me, and I especially liked the article because he admits how nutty the idea sounds.
As a strong proponent of astrology, crystal healing, affirmations and dancing in fields without your clothes on, as well
as maintaining a professional career and paying my taxes, I'm frequently trying to reconcile my worldly self with the crunchy granola 123Valerie within. It ain't easy, so I appreciate it when spiritual and intuitive leaders nod to the realities of life.
Look, I know people think I'm crazy already. Their loss. But wouldn't people really
think I was crazy -- and possibly get violent -- if I randomly told them I loved them?
That's exactly what Michael Neill said, too. He was freaked the fook out (thanks Franki Baby
) that people were going to feel weird and awkward and punch him in the face.
But you know what? They didn't. They said, "Thank you for connecting with me." And "Thank you for making me feel special."
And "Thanks. That's kind of weird, but thanks anyway, man."
Look, kids, I'm coming off a week of straight love. I felt so much love, I thought I was going to burst, and I ain't just talking about my water bra. (Kidding, you know I don't need one of those). But, between my fambly and my friends and lovely strangers indulging in the Christmas spirit, love abounded.
Don't worry--the pictures of underpants (as well as actual underpants, Krok
) are coming. But, sometimes I just can't do the smart-ass crap, and I have to be honest and say: I love you.
I LOVE you fellow bloggers. I LOVE you friends who stop by and read, even though I've probably already told you the story 16 times. I LOVE all of you lurkers who find a piece of yourselves here, and you'll never hear me trying to pressure you to comment -- take what you need. And even if this is your first time here, I LOVE you, too.
Some of you bloggers have been victims of my own love attacks already and, alright, maybe I'm a little out there because, goddamnit: YES, I want to make a connection with you. That's what we're all here for, isn't it? To make sure we all feel a little less alone in the world and a little more appreciated and supported?
Oh? It's not? Just literary masturbation, you say? Well, I'll be.In the Comments section, tell me who you said "I love you" to today. And if you haven't yet, get ta steppin' on that biz-nasty.****Hey Gang, I found the original article, below.****
ON LOVING PEOPLE
"It is not the threat of death, illness, hardship, or poverty
that crushes the human spirit; it is the fear of being alone and
unloved in the universe."
Yesterday afternoon, my son and I were pulling into the car park
of our local basketball courts when we spotted a white car
heading towards us at some speed. As the car grew closer, we
could see that the driver's head was turned around, and despite
some pretty impressive honking on my part, she didn't turn back
to face us until after her car piled into the front end of
After checking that my son was alright, I pulled our car into a
parking space and began to walk over to where the woman had
stopped her car. On the way, I somehow had time to reflect on a
practice I began about five years ago...
At the time, I was training to be able to deliver a wonderful
program called "What One Person Can Do" (you can visit
www.oneperson.net to learn more).
The instructor told us that beyond understanding and practicing
the basic content, the prerequisite for delivering the program
was simple. All we needed to be able to do was to love every
human being on the planet, regardless of what mood we were in,
what our day had been like, or what that person was up to (or
had been up to) in the world. When I asked for clarification
about what exactly constituted "loving" someone, he said "simply
treat each person that you come across as if they were a loved
and appreciated member of your family".
To make matters worse (to my way of thinking at the time), he
actually wanted us to be willing to TELL people that we loved
them, even if they didn't have the same last name as us or we
hadn't spent a lot of time with them.
The obstacles and objections to engaging in this process came
into my mind so quickly that it took me awhile to get from a
general feeling of "bleagh!" to the specific thoughts that I
could either accept or reject about what loving people and
expressing that love might mean. When the dust had settled,
here were the key ideas before my mind:
"If you can love everybody, doesn't that make the love you have
for your partner or children less special?"
When I first began exploring this one, it seemed to stand up -
after all, if loving someone was just a choice, what difference
would it make if I was with my wife and kids or someone
However, once I began consulting my experience instead of my
thinking, it became obvious that the reason I was with my family
(as opposed to someone else's) wasn't just because I loved
them, but it was because I enjoyed their company and wanted to
share my life with them. Loving someone doesn't mean you have
to spend all your time with them - it's just a choice about how
you want to be with them while you're with them.
"Won't it make people uncomfortable if I tell them that I love
them when I don't really know them?"
This thought really hooked me in, and I convinced myself for a
time that "it wasn't a kind thing to do" and therefore was
inconsistent with the aim of treating all people with loving
kindness. After a time, I realized that far from being nobly
motivated, the person whose discomfort I was most concerned with
was actually my own.
I decided to put this to the test in a business course I was
leading in the UK. Towards the end of the second day, I went
up to each of the delegates on the program and one by one,
looked into their eyes, found the loving feeling inside my heart
for them, and told them that I loved them.
They were, on the whole, horrified. Or so I thought.
Yet over the next few weeks and months, I heard from nearly
every one of them how touched they had been when they "got" that
I meant it, or the difference it made in their lives when they
turned around and told someone in their life that they loved
One man on the course, who had expressed his discomfort and
displeasure in no uncertain terms on the feedback forms,
e-mailed me almost a year later to share how that incident and
some of the other ideas and techniques we had explored on the
course had let to a complete transformation in the way he lived
his life and ran his business.
Does this mean telling people you love them (and meaning it)
will always lead to a positive life change?
I have no way of knowing. But it has happened so many times for
myself, my students and clients that I would call it a pretty
good bet with an extremely limited downside.
"What about bin Laden? You want me to love bin Laden?"
I addressed this one in "Feel Happy Now!" like this...
"Asking ourselves to love bin Laden, Hitler or any other world
leader who espouses hatred, particularly hatred of those things
we hold dear, is equivalent to asking a novice pianist to play
a Rachmaninoff concerto. Blindfolded. With one hand.
You learn to play the piano by practicing scales. And you learn
to choose love by practicing compassionate understanding - by
recognizing the us in 'them' and the 'them' in us.
The first time I really understood this was when I heard the
story of Marge Knuuti, a nurse and teacher who decided to
volunteer to work in Mother Teresa's Home for the Dying in
After many hours spent on old train tracks and bumpy roads in
the heat of the Indian summer, she arrived exhausted, wanting
nothing more than to jump into a cold shower and collapse into a
Instead, she was greeted by the scene of dozens of people
queuing up outside in the hope of being given the right to die
with dignity and compassion. Her tiredness fell away and she
reached out to a man whose legs had been crushed in the street
and whose life was clearly ebbing away. As she looked into his
eyes brimming with love and compassion, he repeatedly said to
her the word 'Namaste'.
Many hours later, she asked one of the other volunteers what the
word 'Namaste' meant. She was told it was a Sanskrit word
'I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I
honor the place in you of love, of truth, of peace, and of
light. And when you are in that place in you and I am in that
place in me, there is only one of us.'"
By the time I reached this woman's car to get her insurance
details, I was back in a place of loving kindness. I could see
her innocence, even as my brain raged against her poor driving
habits and my body shivered in shock. We exchanged details,
wished each other a merry Christmas, and went on our way.
My willingness to love this stranger in the midst of a
circumstance I would never have chosen may not have
earth-shattering consequences. She may never remember the
incident as anything more than a bizarre interlude in the midst
of an increasingly busy life.
There was also nothing saintly about my response. It cost me
nothing to handle it from that place in me, and I duly filed my
claim with her insurance company an hour or so later.
But I do know that it didn't contribute to the un-wellness and
unrest that can poison us from the inside even when we aim our
upset and unhappiness at the world around us.
In other words, it didn't hurt - and it may have helped.
And for that opportunity and possibility, I am truly grateful.
Labels: I love corndogs, I love my fambly, I love my friends