I want to write you a letter with some personal thoughts on love.
1. Why love?
First of all, I think love is the most important thing in the world. Love is what makes us human. Love is what keeps the clockwork of society ticking. Love is what gives vigor to our veins. Love is what we need to give one another.
2. Loving is hard
Loving is hard. Loving is the most difficult when someone has hurt you. How can you love your enemy, when it seems like they are shooting an AK-47 straight to your head?
3. Where I learned love
I learned love through my mom. She is the most loving person I know. She essentially devoted her entire life to make sure that me and my sister made it through school. She worked 6 days a week, 12 hours a day, menial labor jobs, just to feed us, pay the rent, and give us the chance for a brighter future.
I think you can only show love through actions. Talk is cheap. Anyone can tell you that they ‘love’ you— but do they show it through their actions?
I have also learned love through Cindy. She loves her friends, family, and me through her actions. She leaves that last piece of meat for me. She calls her friends and family back home to see how they are doing. She is a compassionate and patient listener. She opens her heart to others. She loves.
4. Everyone is your brother or sister, mother or father
I am the first to easily judge others. Yet, that is the opposite of loving.
I nowadays try to assume that everyone is either my brother and sister. Like we are one big familia. Why would I insult my own kin? And why would I wish harm upon my own family members?
When I see older women, I see the eyes of my mother. When I see older gentlemen, I see the mournful eyes of my father.
So when the older lady cuts me in line, I just treat her like my own mother. I let my mom do anything.
5. How to love your enemies
Our buddy Jesus teaches us to love our enemies. Easier said than done.
Probably 90% of the internet doesn’t like me. I’ve got death threats via anonymous comments, racist comments, and just overall mean-spirited stuff.
I used to disdain these people. I used to hate these anonymous trolls. I wish if I met them in person, I could give them a juicy knuckle-sandwich.
However what I realized is this— many of these people with ill-will in their hearts, are tormented souls. I had someone spewing a lot of poisonous hate about me on line, and I learned later that his mom had passed away. Of course, that doesn’t excuse the fact that he should put all that negativity on me. But it helped me be more compassionate.
The sad thing is a lot of people who are mean or hateful have had fucked up childhoods. I know some kids I taught in an inner-school; they joined gangs because their single-mother was doing crack-cocaine or heroin at home. They were beaten up or sexually abused by family members. No matter how bad I had it as a kid; a lot of these kids had it probably 100x worse than me.
So now, I give people benefit of the doubt that they are suffering a lot of negative shit in life, or have suffered a lot of negative shit in life. And when they take out their anger on me, they are like rabid dogs, who have no control over themselves. Or they are like people who have been inflicted with the Black Plague, and they cannot help but transmit their disease on others.
If you’re a doctor, do you get angry with your sick patients? Or do you have patience, and tend to your sick patients by administering to them medicine, rest, and love?
6. Practical tips how to better love others
Some ways I am able to better love others:
a. Love others through small acts:
It can be small. Opening the door for a stranger. When you’re angry at your loved one, telling them that you love them. Waking up early to cook your partner breakfast, or coffee. Sending a friend an email or text-message, telling them that you are thinking of them. Acts of love and kindness don’t have to be big. Often the small gestures are the most meaningful.
b. Don’t criticize others:
I think criticizing others is the opposite of love and compassion. I know that I often criticize others (either in my words, or in my mind). What I try to do instead is to think to myself:
Have I done this myself?
Often it is yes.
So I try to keep my mouth shut, and rather than criticizing or judging others, I try to open up my heart of compassion, and try to put myself in their shoes.
Often the kindest act of love can be as subtle as a small smile. Smile at your barista when you’re ordering your coffee. Smile at your taxi driver, and ask him how he is doing. Smile at your kids and partner, and give them a big hug.
A smile is the best act of love. Small, subtle, and free. Why not smile more?
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