"There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved." — George Sand
I once attended a performance by the comedian Sarah Silverman, and among her absurd things she said that night, she also said something quite profound. To paraphrase her sentiment, she argued that you cannot hate other people because they are merely you in disguise. In other words, other people are simply you but with a different upbringing and a different set of experiences.
The author Scott Blum says it in another way. In his book Waiting for Autumn he tells the story of an experience he had with his mentor, Robert. Robert asked Scot to make two lists. The first was to list of all the things that he wanted to do, and the second was to list of all the things that he knew he could do. But when Robert asked to see the lists, without even looking at them, he tore them up and threw them away! As Robert explained, "What you should or could do with your life no longer matters. The only thing that matters, from this day forward, is what you must do." He then took out from his back pocket a folded piece of paper and handed it to Scot. When he opened it he found a single word floating in the middle of the page:
The Magic Word Love reminds us to love others as we love ourselves. And if we love others more than we love ourselves, then this words reminds us to love ourselves as equally. After all, we’re just everyone else in disguise…
As you go about your day today, walk around as if you are secretly in love with everyone that you meet. Just for today, you are to act as if you are everyone’s secret admirer. How would you treat the stranger on the street if this person were the love of your life? How would you treat the cashier behind the counter if you wanted to impress them? How would you act around the homeless person if you were crazy about them and wanted them to notice you? Oftentimes, being in love with someone means that we have to go to great lengths to be there for them. But we often forget that sometimes truly loving someone means giving them space and letting them go. How will you act today knowing that you are secretly in love with everyone you meet?
Jonas Cain is an educator, facilitator, and coach, working to engage, empower, and encourage leaders and the people they serve to experience joy.