Today as I thought about the current circumstances of my life and how I got to this point (circumstances I don’t feel comfortable sharing right now) I slowly began to realize something. Something very important and very helpful is missing from the world: love. Love is something we all need in order to carry ourselves forward in the experience we call life. We all need to learn to love one another for our differences as well as similarities because that is what makes us who we are and thus it is one of the beauties of life. We humans could all afford to learn a thing or two about love; and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m going to talk about personal experiences in my life where love was missing and how love could have improved those experiences in retrospect. I expect this post to include the word ‘love’ at least 70 times (go ahead and keep count). Because love is real and it is powerful enough to change the world.
Back in elementary school I used to wonder why kids never really liked me much. I went to a predominantly white school in Upper Dublin Township in Pennsylvania where racism existed, but silently. Unfortunately, this legacy of racism still exists in Upper Dublin, but it’s getting better as we move humbly into the future. I have faith in what can be for my former township. In my elementary school days I was often left out and excluded from activities with white kids, as you would probably guess it was much easier to get along with the black kids, whenever I tried befriending the white kids it was always very awkward and very very hard. It was notoriously difficult to be friends with the white kids in school and for that reason it was hard for me to fit in. The black kids from my neighborhood were OK, and sometimes I didn’t even fit in with them. I’ve also never been one to try to fit in, so, by default, I was left out. In revisiting my elementary school days I came to realize that not much has changed. I feel as though we’ve all gotten older and wiser, some more than others, but we still lack something that brings us together more than our differences could ever separate us. This missing element is love.
Today I think back and compare the experiences I had then to ones I’ve had in the past couple years and I notice a pattern that seems to hopelessly prevail in the face of so much suffering in the world. Yes, you may believe that love is not really a necessity for us humans, if you want to get scientific and argue how exactly altruism is not a needed trait in the history of the our lineage. However, if you go that route you have to consider the impact kindness plays on the survival of not only our species, but many others as well.
Here’s how to love:
- Forgive and Improve Yourself– you either are or have the potential to be a great person. That is because everyone, no matter how old you are, what you have been brought to believe, or whatever other reason, has the ability to do genuine good in the world. You have the ability to be a good person and do right unto others just as many religions instruct. You have the ability in this very moment to go out and affect someone’s life in a positive way. So in order to cultivate love in your life and in your environment you need to first acknowledge the not so great tendencies that you may have and how those inadequacies, whether they be personal or circumstantial, keep you from being the great person you could be. Toxic people won’t address their problems and deal with them in a healthy way and they end up leading lives of misery, shame, and regret. Once you have recognized the insufficient parts of you you need to forgive yourself and focus on improving and moving on. You are not who you once were. You don’t have to be the same broken, insecure person you may have once been. Focus now on improving yourself little by little and eventually you will notice a great change in yourself and the way you interact with the world at large. The days will get brighter, your gratitude will be profound, and your life will change.
2. Find Something To Love– This could be a hobby or your career; find something that you feel connected to that you pour your love into and watch it grow and love you back. It is a law of Karma that the energy you put out into the universe, whether bad or good, comes back you in some way, shape or form. This also means the positive energy you dedicate to something you’re passionate about has a tendency to reward you. So find something you love and love it intensely. Kind of like you’re practicing loving something. For example, I enjoy learning new things about natural history and I’ve learned to love it through years of reflection and consideration of the subject matter. Natural history has come to shape the way I see the world in such fundamental way because I’ve learned to love the subject as much I can. Whenever I get angry or frustrated with someone or something I revert back to things I love to make me forget those unpleasant emotions that harm my well being. By giving love you receive love.
3. Don’t Be Prejudice/Accept People for Who They Are– The amount of prejudice and tribalism in today’s society is very very sad indeed. Just the other day I was watching a YouTube video explaining how race is not a scientifically accurate entity among human populations and the amount of dislikes that video received was kind of depressing. It was a DNews video explaining how race is actually a social construct and not based on any scientific backing and people vehemently rejected the notion. It reminded me of what Darwin must have dealt with when he introduced evolution to the world. In the comments people were insulting the person in the video on personal levels and just could not accept what she was saying because it went against everything they believed, although it was a scientific fact. Race is not real. That is a fact. However, some refuse to believe this because it’s easier for them to separate themselves from certain ethnic groups people or even promote negative actions directed at different ethnic groups. This made me sad for the people leaving these ridiculous comments and for the world at large. We must accept science as truth and learn to not be prejudice against those who might be different from ourselves. We must learn to appreciate these differences as they are what make the world beautiful.
4. Help Someone In Need and Expect Nothing In Return– that is what it means to be a humanitarian. Just ask Rihanna. She won the Harvard University humanitarian award because of her efforts to help those in need from the region she comes from. She also expects nothing in return, as she’s explained, from the people she’s choosing to help. Surely, karma will reward her efforts in some way. Perhaps that means a spike in album sales or some other miracle coming her way. This is what it means to do good and have good come back to you even though you expect nothing in return. Yesterday night I was in University City, Philadelphia and I saw a homeless man asking for change in the middle of the street walking from car to car as I was waiting for the light. At first I was just going to ignore this poor man and keep on my merry way, but then at the last minute I decided to make a small donation of all the change I had in my car. Even though this only came out to 75 cents the man said “bless you” and I felt a little better. Because if I was ever in that situation I would want someone to do the same for me. And the ones who would are the kind of people who make the world a little better for all of us.
5. Stay Positive and Have Faith– when we manage to stay positive in trying situations we can counteract the forces of negativity and evil that will try to drag us down. We can positively effect those around us with our own positivity and we can overcome the situation with the help of others. In Napoleon Hill’s classic self help book Think & Grow Rich the first few chapters are about the power of your thoughts and your faith. Your thoughts are things with genuine power that should not be underestimated. What goes through your head manifests itself within your life. Faith is also a very powerful tool Hill describes as helping people become the very best versions of themselves. Your unwavering faith and obsession over what you desire can transform your life much like it did for legendary figures like Biggie Smalls. Positivity and faith are also very important assets to have for survival in general. For example, when you’re out in the wilderness like Bear Grylls or Les Stroud, except there’s no cameras and this is an actual life or death situation, staying calm and positive can do wonders for your survival efforts. In this way, you can make yourself learn through your hard work and perseverance. After all the hard work comes the bountiful rewards; the fruits of your labor. So when it comes to love you musn’t be doubtful and lose faith in your fellow man. Have faith and stay positive and people may surprise you.
I hope you all enjoyed these very long instructions I’ve typed up for how to love, (trust me, I’m no expert) please feel free to read over some of my other posts here and leave a comment on any advice you have about how to love.
Much love, Isaiah Dix.