It‘s a big word. We use it all the time to describe our feelings towards people or things that we appreciate.
I love your new shoes/pants/dress/hat.
I love this restaurant.
I love going for a walk.
I love my Mom.
Maybe it‘s the german in me that gets confused by one word describing these quite different feelings towards something.
It gets more confusing when I am asked about my opinion.
“How do you like this place?“
“How is your food?“
“How was class?“
In case I really like one of these things you might hear me say something like: That is pretty good.
Followed up by dissapointed faces on the other side.
I honestly feel like that, I think it is good. Nothing more, but also nothing less.
It‘s hard for me to describe my feelings towards a sandwich using the same word that I would use to verbalise my feelings towards another person or a passion that I have for years.
Let me try to explain what differs liking something and loving something in my perspective and why it matters to me.
When I was a teenager I started loving to play music. Today I love surfing and spending time with my dog. Why do I use that word in these contexts?
One thing these beloved parts of my life have in common is that they are not profit oriented.
I would like to call that (unconditional) love.
It is pretty obvious to me that I will never make a living from playing music or surfing or walking my dog. Still I enjoy these things as a part of my life that are key ingredients to my happiness.
I don‘t expect them to do anything for me.
Opposing to that my relationship to a restaurant highly depends on the quality of food and service.
I like going when it is good, but the moment it is not good anymore I would stop going.
That is not unconditional at all. I expect them to do something for me.
On the other side there is my little dog Snoopy. When she destroys my sunglasses and chews up my sofa it is safe to say she caused me a lot of stress and there is no benefit for me.
I got to take her for walks everyday and spend quite some money on her well-being. When I travel I need to make arrangements to have her taken care of.
Speaking in business terms the turn-out of that investment is pretty poor. But something in me makes me still want to do it.
It is a feeling that makes me do that.
When I practice playing my guitar I am basically wasting my time from a money perspective. I could do something like trading penny stocks and make some cash in less time.
It‘s just that I love playing guitar. It is a feeling not a reason.
Countless times I physically hurt myself doing things like snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing.
I could have just gone to the gym or running, if it was just for the goal of maintaining my fitness.
The ability to enjoy something just for the sake of it, without expecting a particular outcome can be very challenging.
I grew up in Germany, efficiency is quite a thing there, but of course not only there.
The idea that streamlined thinking and making decisions out of risk-calculations helps in the business world might be a valid point.
When it comes to love it leaves out a blind spot though.
Once we ask ourselves if relationships or friendships are serving us we are taking that efficiency thought into our private life.
We are human beings. Sometimes we are doing good, sometimes not so much. It changes all the time. That is life. We evolve through the ups and downs.
So do our friends and loved ones.
My grandparents were married for 65 years before the both passed over the last two years. I am pretty sure that they were quite annoyed about each other at times.
As a child I noticed that they would make fun of each other all the time. Not because they hated each other, but because they knew each other, including all weaknesses.
Sharing our insecurities with someone else makes us vulnerable. It is a risk that we take with an unknown ending.
Do we need to take that risk?
Not necessarily. We could also just stay by ourselves and manage every aspect of our life without anyone else, without being vulnerable.
That would be more efficient. But is that really what we want?
Go out, take risks.
That is Love.
Do what you Love, Love what you do.