Saying “I love you” seems like such a simple thing to do.
And, in fact it is.
I say it all the time—to my family, friends and anyone else I feel compelled to share it with. I can speak for Emily as well in that she is equally as generous with this simple sentiment ( it’s one of many things we have in common ).
It sometimes catches people off guard, as I once said it to a group of acquaintances after a get together. These were not close friends and I said, “I really love you guys.” I could tell that to some, it went over like a turd in a punch bowl ( as my mom would say ). And I immediately felt flushed and a teeny bit embarrassed. But when I got into my car, I thought, “but I do love them,” and it was a natural thing for me to say. Nobody ever said anything to me about it, but I certainly gave it a lot of thought after.
What is love?
What does it mean to me and others?
How differently do people express and receive love?
I have come to understand that it’s personal. I have friends who rarely heard, “I love you” growing up and therefore are not comfortable saying it freely as adults. It doesn’t mean they don’t feel it as often or as strongly, it’s just not what they are used to.
Here is what I think:
Love is a verb. It’s an action.
And we all deserve to hear it, experience it, and share it.
We were put on this earth to love. That’s it—to give and receive love.
But here's the thing. Lately I have been pushing myself to love those who may seem undeserving of it.
Those who I have felt wronged by, don’t share my political views, or who seemingly want to destroy love. Those who steal, lie, commit crimes, and those who hurt others.
It’s hard. But, when I really think about it and lean on my faith, I know that everyone is deserving of love.
The teacher who said I wasn’t college material when I was a 4th grader. The designer who copied a piece of our art. A politician who seems to sew ideas of division and racism. Even the men who took my brother’s life when he was 25.
It doesn’t mean that people should not be held responsible for their actions. Of course they should. But, they also need (and likely needed, love).
As Dr. King famously said,
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."
It’s quite conceivable that those who seem the least deserving are the most in need. And those who seem to need it least actually crave it more.
At 2021 C.o, our vision is to create products that sew the seeds of love and (ideally) have a profound and positive impact on human connection.
Our new campaign, #alovestorm is just one part of this vision and we are excited to share it with you in the coming days. For now, here is a sneak peek.
And ps, I love you.