The Power of Love
Stronger than anger, hatred, or revenge, love is the force that has the ability to heal everyone, because love is an act of self-care.
Much like electricity, love is the energy that runs through each one of us. You share this energy in many ways. For example, reaching out to hold a hand or touch a shoulder passes the energy of love through your touch. Speaking kindly to another passes the energy of love through your words. The deliberate use of this force—this energy—produces predictable, powerful results. People feel your love and are healed.
A few years ago, I experienced how the power of love can heal even the most challenging situations. One summer day, my friend Max and I were driving to a supermarket to pick up food for lunch. Traveling down our favorite beach road, we came upon a young man backing out of a driveway. As I stopped to let him out, I was surprised when he continued moving backwards until he hit my car. Because he gently tapped the bumper, I thought nothing of it, until he stepped out of his car and informed me that I had hit him. He proceeded to beep his horn until neighbors came to the scene.
I stood by my car, in a state of shock, as I heard him request an ambulance for his injured neck. Had Max not been there as a witness, this stunning act of injustice would have made me question whether or not I really hit him. In the next few months, I wound up in the center of a lawsuit for injuries, pain, and suffering.
I was angry. I felt betrayed and I wanted to hurt this young man. Truth be told, I really wanted to hurt him. My mind and heart couldn’t understand why someone would be so blatantly dishonest and manipulative, and I felt compelled to fight back. But, after getting caught up in the slow-moving legal system, I decided to try something different: I sent him love. I asked God to send this young man whatever he needed, so that he would not need to get it from me in this unlawful way. After all, I figured that if he would go to this extreme to get money and attention, then he must have needed it pretty badly.
For two months, every day, I imagined him surrounded in love, getting all of his needs met. Now, trust me, I'm no saint. And I’m not suggesting that sending love is easy in the face of injustice or betrayal. (Nor am I suggesting that you do so in place of taking firm actions to protect or care for yourself). I am suggesting, however, that for those circumstances that are beyond your control, sending love can be a powerful healing act. As I sent this man love, I noticed something miraculous: I felt better. I relaxed about the situation and was better able to let it go and allow the process to play itself out.
One day, out of the blue, I received a phone call from the police, telling me that a mysterious witness had appeared and the case had been dropped. In that moment I understood the power of love. Stronger than anger, hatred, or revenge, love is a force that has the ability to heal everyone involved. Sending love is also an amazing act of extreme self-care. Because of this experience, I've made the act of sending love my "default button" in any challenging situation. You can, too. Is there someone right now who needs your love?
Each day you receive messages of love. Sometimes you're awake enough to notice them and sometimes, in your busyness, you can sleep right through them. There are very direct messages, like an, "I love you," from someone close. And there are the more subtle messages, like the driver that lets you into traffic, or the person that holds the door for you as you enter a building. Why not become more conscious of your ability to be a messenger of love?
Each morning, imagine you are given a large pocketful of love to share with others throughout the day. Your mission is to empty this pocket daily. You might decide to simply say, "I love you," to your son or daughter (it's usually the people closest to us that need to hear it the most). Or, you may want to send love to someone that has caused you harm. Regardless of the situation, stop right now and choose someone. Then, pick up the phone and tell them. Or, sit quietly and imagine your energy of love radiating outward and touching another’s heart.
Cheryl Richardson is the author of the New York Times best-selling books, Take Time for Your Life, The Unmistakable Touch of Grace, and The Art of Extreme Self-Care.