Spread it like Peanut Butter
“People can you feel it? Love is everywhere.” – The Allman Brothers Band
But love can be light, too, and it’s available to us every day. There are entire shows, blogs, books and campaigns devoted to what infuriates people, what they hate. (We believe in free speech, but how many venting outlets do we really need?) On the other hand, how refreshing is it when somebody speaks from the heart about something they love? Bluegrass, blue fishing or blueberry pie: the subject matters far less than the personal passion. The world needs more love, and when you share what you love, it brings people together.
Our friend Packy loves grilled cheese sandwiches. Our Dad loves mountains. Our sister Eileen loves deep ocean dives, and Berta loves to paint. Our brother Ed loves space exploration (sometimes in mid conversation). And Big Al? He loves to bang on the drums. What do you love? Seriously, who and what do you love?
The more you share your love, the more you connect with the people you love — and the more you connect with the people you love, the more you enjoy life. So go ahead, spread it. Love is a superpower. Don’t keep it in a jar. Spread it all around like peanut butter, because life is good.
Allow yourself to step back and take a long, broad view of your life. Write down the things you love to do most in this world. Then, with the list in your hand, ask yourself, are you doing what you love? Are you loving what you do? If you’re like most people, the answer is, “sometimes”. And that’s not bad. Next, take a best guess at what percentage of the time you are doing what you love. Same for loving what you do (however you choose to interpret that.) Now, over the next 30 days, try to move the needle. See if you can increase by 10%. Just by being conscious of the things you love and by monitoring your actions, you will make positive changes. Then write down what changed, how you feel, anything else you’ve noticed. Continue to monitor and use these simple words as a guide to make big or small adjustments in your life.
Choose someone you love very much, and honor them by bringing them with you everywhere. Many people put pictures of a loved one in their wallet or on their phone display or screensaver at work. Keeping them in your heart and front of mind helps frame your experiences from a foundation of love. Let’s say, for example, you choose to bring your daughter with you. You’ll be surprised how she might change your mood on a long commute, or in a meeting that’s dragging on. Carrying the people you love with you at all times can help carry you through even your hardest days.
Love is not a power to reserve for the emotional peaks and valleys of our greatest personal joys and grief. Unique occasions like weddings, birthdays, as well as funerals, tend to naturally crystalize love — but it’s too powerful to hold back from our daily interactions. Express it today through your words AND your actions — because even among superpowers, nothing is stronger.
This article is excerpted and adapted from the book Life is Good by Bert and John Jacobs, published by National Geographic on September 1, 2015. Copyright © 2015 The Life is Good Company.