The Power of Love


With all of the heated aftermath of the Valentines Day massacre still swirling around the atmosphere, I have been seeing multiple different perspectives come forth.  The ones that have stuck with me the most, however, are the ones that demonstrate the power of love, either by its presence or its absence.

One video in particular that stayed with me was of a man who was reading a pre-written speech, filming himself in a bathroom mirror.  He revealed that he, too, might have been a school shooter if he had access to guns, simply because he felt unloved and left out.  His life circumstances sucked, and his experience at school did nothing to build him up, but rather everything to tear down what little he had left.

As a teacher, I see several students like this on a daily basis.  Many of them may not be severe cases; friends that are outside of school, loving families, a super-resilient kid, all of which can be the deciding factor between going haywire and just feeling momentary, normal bouts of sadness.

But there are some kids who don’t have that.  Children with parents who outright ridicule and hate them.  Children with parents who are so wrapped up in their own lives they don’t notice when their children begin retreating inward.  Children who then come to school and, because we as a human race are sensitive to the energy other people put out, have problem after problem there as well.

Even I have found myself naturally avoiding certain students or people because the vibes they give off are so off-putting I feel the need to protect my personal state of being.  Yet it only takes a small bit of light to dispel darkness.  If we keep the need in our minds to SPREAD the positivity after it has been cultivated in our hearts, we can do a lot of good.

The power of positive love is demonstrated most harshly when we look on a life where it has been conspicuously absent.  Babies who do not get cuddled and held simply do not grow and/or are in actual danger of dying.  Senior citizens who don’t get visitors are noticeably more depressed than those who do.  Even a garden, when neglected, is overgrown with weeds.

Love is a powerful force, subtle when it is present, but alarmingly potent when it is absent.  We should make it our mission to make sure that everybody who shares a moment of our lives feels a least a small morsel of love from us.

Whew….just thinking of the amount of effort and presence that would take is exhausting!  But like anything, repetition lends itself to ease. Not to say that there won’t be days when you fail….but consciously thinking about it will dramatically improve the amount of positivity you are able to spread, not to mention the benefits you will feel personally.

And the effort is well worth it.  I am reminded of the power of love each time a student writes me a note, or tells me that I’m they’re favorite teacher, or comes up at the end of class for a hug.  I know that I am not the greatest teacher in the world; my lessons can be boring, my planning is sometimes rushed, and I don’t always give the feedback to my students’ writing like I should.

And yet, I will forever and always be proud of the types of relationships I can have with my students because, being energy-sensitive human beings, they can TELL that I love them.  As much as they drive me nuts, I love being able to spend time with them and make an imprint on their lives.  And they naturally are drawn to that no matter how  terribly long the minutes in my class may seem.

So I turn to you:  What can you do in your life to ensure that you are properly using the power of love?  What are the things that get your positive energy flowing?  How can you harness those awesome vibes and not only hang on to them for yourself but spread them around to the people that you come in contact with?

For me, it’s usually the simple things: smiling a people you pass by (you’d be surprised how often you DON’T do this), putting a bit of extra cheer in your “good morning!” greeting, carrying on a small conversation while walking rather than walking along in silence.  Once you start thinking about ways to spread the love, it’s actually quite easy to interject into your daily life.

In my experience, the more positive you are, the more initial push back you will get from the energy that either is negative or that is used to staying in a neutral state.  I have had many people dislike me or my actions because they didn’t understand where I was coming from (granted, I do have a pretty strong personality, and this may also cause some backlash).  However, once people get past the tsunami force of my presence, they usually appreciate what I can bring to the table.

So you may, in trying to spread positivity and love, may experience some resistance.  I would encourage you to keep loving anyway.  The power of love is a marvelous thing, and you will be surprised at who or what you might influence.

How have you experienced the power of love?  Talk to me in the comments!

Be F*cking Nice


Today, I was the recipient of pure, unconniving, good ol’ hometown nice.

I found a desk that I wanted to get on Craigslist yesterday, but I lacked the space in my tiny Nissan Versa to move it.  I posted a message on Facebook asking if anyone had a truck or an SUV they would be willing to let me borrow, but made plans to rent a Uhaul as I wasn’t really expecting anyone to respond.

Lo and behold, a guy I haven’t spoken to in quite a while commented that he had a truck and was willing to help!  I texted him and arranged the time; he drove me to the place where the desk was, helped me load it, and gave me a hand bringing it in to my apartment.  When I offered him payment for his gas and time, he refused and said “nah, it’s just what nice, normal people do.

How refreshing is that?

He had zero agenda.  He did not benefit from the exchange at all.  And yet, he gave his time and assistance in spite of the lack of reward.

I follow CEO Andy Frisella on Facebook, and a couple days ago he posted the following:

Be fucking nice.

Its not that hard.

You never know the impact a simple gesture can make on someone.

A hello.

Holding the door for someone.

Complimenting someone (with out an agenda)

There are a million ways to help people…and sometimes the simplest are the best.

Give people faith in humanity through your daily actions. Its good for both of you.

I love this post.  So much so that I stole part of it for my title.

It is admirable to be a driven, goal-oriented person.  Sometimes, however, the same people who are galvanized to succeed are also the people who brush past the niceties in order to drive hard for the prize.  This tunnel vision is great at times for getting results, but it sucks for creating relationships.  And relationships are what push you past the finish line those crucial .2 seconds before the competition.

Case in point, if you have equal on-paper qualifications and an equivalent success track record as someone who is gunning for the same position or sale as you, but you’re a bitch/dick/unpleasant, it will go to the nice one every. single. time.  Humans don’t want to be around horrible people (even if they are a horrid specimen themselves).

Nice has gotten a bad reputation.  So many individuals think that “nice” is a synonym for weak.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Try doing someone a favor when you are exhausted and all you want to do is sit at home in silence.  Try holding a pleasant conversation for a couple of minutes with someone you secretly can’t stand.  Try to compromise on something when the outcome actually affects you.

Yeah.  Not weak.  Not weak at all.

Sometimes, being nice is a task accomplished by those with only the most impressive store of willpower and inner strength.

Growing up in the Midwest, I was saturated with nice throughout my entire childhood.  Neighbors stopped in randomly to chit chat.  Checking out at the grocery store always included a “have a great day!” from the cashier.  The mail lady bought our pet rocks that we were selling on the side of the road.  To me, nice was simply normal.

In today’s world (or maybe it’s just anywhere outside of the Minnesota bubble), being nice is viewed as an anomaly rather than the status quo.  I have never had so many people comment on how “nice” I am more than I have in the 2.5 years I have lived here.  It’s something people notice and appreciate, especially when it’s atypical.

Now, to play devil’s advocate, one cannot go out of their way to be nice all of the time, or nothing personal will ever get accomplished.  There comes a point when your actions can cross over from nice to doormat.  That being said, when it costs to you nothing to lend a helping hand or give of your attention except a little bit of time or effort, just do it.

The world is one big mirror that gleefully reflects every single thing you show it.  Is the universe displaying positivity?  Are doors opening for you?  Do you step outside into a playground of friendliness and possibility?  Or, is the galaxy one swirling dark mass of negativity and suffering, with walls rising in every direction and people slamming into your shoulder as they rush past with their hat pulled low and their collar pulled high?

You have the power to create a little bit of beauty multiple times a day.  The more times you take the opportunity to be nice, the more times the world will bring nice to you.

The guy who helped me move my desk today?  I became friends with him after I offered to help him push his truck into the garage when I saw him struggling to do it himself.  You never know when your acts of kindness will come back to benefit you, but I can promise you, they will come back.  It might not be the next day or even the next year, but eventually, the tiny seeds of positivity that you plant will bloom, and the winds of life will blow those second-generation seeds back into your own garden right when you need them.

So really, what do you have to lose?  Go ahead–pull on your overalls, grab a shovel and hose, and plant nice.