eric kim photography-0009369
Photo by Cindy

What is love, and why is it important?

1. Love, according to me:

To me, love is everything. Love is what gets us up on the morning. Love is the glue which holds human society together. Love is what keeps our heart beating.

I know for myself, all the work that I do is based on love. I love my fellow human beings, so all that coffee I drink is in order for me to write more ideas which I hope will help empower, uplift, and motivate others.

I wake up in the morning to make Cindy breakfast and coffee, because I love her.

2. Love is action

To me, love is an action.

I show my love to Cindy when I bite my tongue, when I feel myself feverish with my egotistic anger.

I show my love to others by giving away books, videos, and information for free.

3. Why don’t we say the word ‘love’ more often?

It is sad that in today’s world, we are afraid to say the word ‘love.’ We are afraid of looking dumb or weak.

But is it truly love which makes life worth living. The ability to be loved and to love.

4. Showing love to others

I try to show love to strangers by addressing them by their first name.

I try to show love to my friends by listening twice as I talk.

I try to show love to myself by not being so hard on myself. By being self-compassionate, but also working hard to try to serve others.

5. Love is service

The more I think about it; love cannot just be a feeling or an emotion. If love was just an emotion, then we would get the same experience from shooting up heroin.

I think love is something deeper. Love is a virtue, which is only showed through actions.

You can tell your partner you love them, but are you willing to show little acts of love (like not watching your first Netflix preference, and letting the other person choose?) Or perhaps by not being overly-critical of others. Or having to get the last-word; even though it is superfluous.

6. Love isn’t winning or losing

Life isn’t a zero-sum, winner-or-loser game. But often we treat it like it.

When we get into arguments with our loved ones, we always feel upset when we ‘lose’ an argument. If someone else hurts us, we feel anger and want to commit pain to the other person; to gain sweet revenge.

But we are all brothers and sisters in the same family. If I hurt my brother, I am hurting myself. If my brother hurts me, he is hurting himself.

7. We are all on the same team

If we are on the same team, when my ‘enemy’ attacks me, it is like someone on the same basketball team scoring on your own net. It makes no sense.

Another way to think about it: I am the left arm, and you are the right arm. We are both part of the same body. Would it make sense for the left arm to try to tear off the right arm, and vice-versa?

8. Love is patience

I find the biggest obstacle to love is anger, frustration, and the feeling of revenge.

I try to be patient with Cindy, because I see us as part of one flesh. I think of her as the rational side of my brain, while I am the less-rational side of my brain. Perhaps she is the left brain, and I am the right brain (or whatever order it is).

9. Love is subtractive

Another way to think about love:

Think of love as acts of omission. Meaning, what you don’t do to someone is the best way to show love to them.

So for example, to show love, you can try:

  • Not hurting the other person (either physically, mentally, or emotionally)
  • Not saying anything poisonous to the other person (if you are angry and feeling irrational)
  • Not being greedy.
  • Not inflicting revenge on the other person.

Interestingly enough; even in the 10 commandments — we are told what not to do (rather than what to do).

10. Today is my last day

If today were my last day on earth, how can I better show love to others?

I would certainly call my loved ones, and let them know how much I appreciate them — rather than just focusing on my work, and worrying about my own problems about money, or other stresses.

If today were my last day, I would do some sort of selfless work which I thought benefitted others.

If today were my last day, I wouldn’t say or do anything poisonous to others.

If today were my last day, I wouldn’t waste my time. I would spend less time mindlessly browsing the web and app store, and instead— counting my blessings, reading philosophy, writing, or doing other creative work.

11. How to love ourselves

One of the difficult things in life is to love ourselves.

Many of us have our self-esteem beaten out of us as children. We get fucked up by our parents, by our teachers, by other adults, or our fellow family-members, or ‘friends.’

You deserve love. Certainly to yourself, by yourself.

What I do is that I imagine each day as a blank new slate. I try to reformat or delete my past memories. Each day is a new opportunity for myself. No regrets. No residue from the past. A fresh new canvas for me to paint bright colors on.

12. How to love the work we do

I also think it is important to love the work we do. After all, 80% of our lives is probably going to be spent working. If you can’t find any joy in your day job, at least try to find some way you can do charity work or ‘pro-bono’ work on the side. Or even more courageous— quit your job, and dedicate the rest of your life doing something that you feel really is making a positive change in the world.

Or embrace your day job, and spend all your free time doing creative, personal, and meaningful work — that not only uplifts your soul, but the souls of others.

If you’re a 9-5 office worker, make photos in your spare time (before work, lunch break, after work, weekends, holidays) that are beautiful. Make photographs that uplift the spirits of your viewer. Make personal meaning through your images, and encourage others to do the same.

Pay it forward. Spread the love.

Imagine each little act of love you do as a domino. Stack those dominos, and knock them over. You will change society, and the world for the better.

13. What is the meaning of life?

I have no idea what the meaning of life is. But I certainly know what isn’t the meaning of life.

The meaning of life isn’t to buy a bunch of Lambo’s, Rolex watches, mansions, and to stack up my dollar bills to the heavens.

The meaning of life isn’t to just eat at fancy restaurants, to travel for the sake of it to exotic places, or to play video games.

The meaning of life isn’t to be selfish, and to only live for my hedonistic pleasures.

It must be opposite.

To not care about my material possessions; but care about the positive impact I make on others and society.

To not be fussy with my food; or want to travel the world for the sake of filling up my passport. But to eat enough to keep my health in-check, and to give myself an environment which is conducive to living a meaningful and purposeful life.

To not care about fulfilling my hedonistic pleasures, and injecting more dopamine or endorphins to my brain. But rather, to cultivate my own virtue; and to hopefully be a better human being, and better serve others.

14. Small acts of love; big effect

To sum up, I think we can show love through small acts. Small acts of doing things, or not doing things.

Things we can do to show love:

  1. Write a loving email or text-message to someone you care about.
  2. To spend 30 minutes to calling your mom, and telling her that you love her. Or another family member.
  3. To smiling at a stranger and saying ‘hello’

Things we can try not to do to show love:

  1. Not get angry at our loved ones (wait at least 24 hours before responding)
  2. Not doing or saying anything we wouldn’t want others to do unto us
  3. Not wasting our life, and not saying or doing anything harmful or hurtful to ourselves (self-compassion)

Fill your heart with love, and let it spill over to others.

Always,
Eric