Love Conquers All Day is June 3rd.
Even though this holiday is on the weird and bizarre calendar of holidays, it might be one of the most important days of the year.
So much of what is happening in the world and in our homes can be solved by choosing love and conversely, by not choosing hate.
How would you describe love?
A condition that you find yourself in?
I believe it is more than this.
Love is a choice.
It is a verb.
Not an adjective, but an action.
“People are not born hating each other and wishing to cause harm. It is a learned condition.”Desmond Tutu
And so is love.
But what about those who do things to degrade, marginalize, or hurt us?
I hear this often in my coaching. “Dr. Paul, that person hurt me so much, I could never love them again or forgive them.”
I don’t minimize their feelings, because we are never wrong about how we feel. We do choose our response, our behavior, our actions.
Feel the feeling and then use your brain to decide how you are going to act. Don’t react. ACT.
Go back to the client who has been deeply hurt by someone. Process that hurt, the feeling. Make sure you are safe, set some boundaries if necessary.
Then, decide how you are going to respond.
Are you going to choose hate or love?
There are some powerful examples in history. I won’t delve deep into each of their stories, but if you are not familiar with these people, their stories are worth investing your time to get to know.
Victor Frankl endured atrocities we can hardly imagine at Auschwitz at the hand of the Nazis in WWII. Dr. Frankl’s family was separated and killed by the Nazis, but he realized that there was one thing the Nazis could not deprive him of, “…to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.” He chose love.
Immaculee Ilibagiza crouched with seven other women in a 12 square foot bathroom for three months in Rwanda. They were careful not to make a sound so the Hutus would not discover their hiding place. If that happened, they would be killed as were the majority of her family. Immaculee has every reason to hate her would-be killers, but she knows that she can’t control her enemies' hatred toward her, she can control her attitude toward her enemies. Immaculee chose love.
Frankl and Ilibagiza did not choose their circumstances for a season, but they did choose and work to make love a response to everyone that crosses their path.
Most of our hurts in life are not going to be anywhere near the magnitude of their suffering, but we are going to be hurt.
What will our response be? To hide ourselves away in our homes and never trust or make connections with people again?
To respond with negativity and pessimism?
To choose actions and behaviors that will push people away?
Or, will we choose love?
Will we choose to give the benefit of the doubt, knowing as Desmond Tutu said, “In our own ways, we are all broken. Out of that brokenness, we hurt others.”
Have we ever acted out and been sorry for hurting someone else?
Part of choosing love is humbling ourselves to know that we aren’t perfect and neither are other people.
When we choose to give love to others, it is surprising how much we receive in return.
Love Conquers All Day is an important holiday, it is a day that makes every other day of the year easier to live.