I'm Back! With A Friendly Job Reminder...
In my experience, good feelings go away pretty quickly. Last week, you may have felt inspired to get better at LOVE - you were ready to hit the gym and do some patience pull ups and kindness kurls. But then life gets in the way and we sink back into our normal habits and our daily routine. So - today is a reminder of what we talked about and why it's important to practice this stuff...
Don't forget your "WHY"
Your job as leaders in your school or community is to use your influence to create a space where people show up and get what they deserve: respect, acceptance, safety, equity, hope. Or, in one word, LOVE. The people at your school crave and deserve to feel loved - and as leaders it is our job to practice getting better at LOVE.
A REVIEW: LOVE is confusing and weird. In the english language, we overuse the word. I love you Mom. I love bacon! I love this song. We use the word so often, we've sort of diluted its power and made its meaning confusing. How are we supposed to get better at something that confuses us? It's like going to the gym and trying to figure out a complicated piece of equipment you've never been on before - if you don't know how to use a thing properly, you are likely to 1) not get any stronger or 2) hurt yourself or 3) really hurt yourself.
So, the Greek words for LOVE have always helped me understand it a little better.
Storge (storgē, Greek: στοργή): the natural feeling of affection. We feel organic fondness toward our family.
Philia (philía, Greek: φιλία) : love through commonality. We feel close to our friends because we share things with them.
Eros (erōs, Greek: ἔρως): being "in love." The romantic love we feel towards the people we are attracted to physically or emotionally.
Agapè (agápē, Greek: ἀγάπη): unconditional, selfless love. Loving others regardless of circumstances. The capacity to choose to love someone even when we don't feel like it.
We tend to surround ourselves and spend time with the people we like - the people who are, oftentimes, easy to LOVE. But as my friend and fellow speaker Tyler Durman says, "a commitment to growth is a commitment to pain." In other words, if we want to get better at anything in life, we usually have to do challenging, uncomfortable, sometimes painful things. We don't GROW in our capacity love others when we only show love to the people we already like - we grow in love when we CHOOSE to show kindness, compassion, respect, patience, honesty, forgiveness, etc. to the people who we don't know or to the people who challenge us. In fact, in my experience in schools all over the country, the most challenging or rewarding part of the whole thing is this...
Sometimes it is the people who are the hardest to love who most need it.
PRACTICE. LOVE in ACTION
Here are 3 MORE ways you can PRACTICE LOVE over the next 24 hours
TODAY: Dedicate 30 minutes to talk to the people that you live with today free of distractions. No phone, no social media, no TV. Ask them questions and share how you are doing/what you are up to. Do you know the first job your parents ever had was? Do you know about Grandma's first kiss? Engage in meaningful conversation!
TONIGHT: Who has shown you LOVE in your life and how? The people who have been the best at it - the people who make you feel the most loved - how do they do it? Can you think of 2 examples where they showed you LOVE even when they may not have "felt" like it? Where they had to sacrifice their time or energy or money or pride for you? Write them down.
TOMORROW: Invite your friend or friends to do something you know THEY love to do and then make the day extra awesome for them with a surprise like bringing their favorite candy or ice cream. Or write them a haiku. Or make custom t-shirts with an inside joke. Or make a collage of friendship photos and put it in a popsicle stick frame. Do SOMETHING randomly loving.
SOCIAL. instatweet, snapface.
tell people that you are committed to being awesome
Share one or more of these on your social medi-uhs to show people that you believe in the message of compassion, kindness, and LOVE.
Let the PURPOSE of love fuel your PASSION and let that passion drive your PRACTICE.