Showing Love

When I was asked to write about the question, “How do you show love?” I started down my normal analytical, academically oriented path of writing. So many thoughts, emotions, theories, and practices come to mind, processing such a question might make one seek counseling. So, I will attempt to keep this short and sweet.

I show love through the way I treat people, animals, and things. If your first thought after reading the last sentence was something like, “Whoa! He shouldn’t lump people, animals, and things into the same category.” I understand. There was a time I might have thought the same way.

After all, if I say, “I love this book!” is that the same as saying, “I love this woman?” If I grab my grandchild off the couch, tickle and nuzzle him as he laughs and wiggles, telling him I love him, is that the same as when I react to a puppy similarly?

The answer to the preceding questions is simple, yes and no. Okay, that is not simple in some ways, but in others, it is. Love is not shown through what you say but through what you do. It took much of my life and lots of time with a counselor to understand that was the case.

Take a book, for example. A book cannot feel, but if you truly love it, you’ll treat it respectfully and take care of it. Perhaps that means just keeping it in good shape, rereading it multiple times, or gifting it to someone.

Treating the child and the puppy the same way differs from the book analogy. Still, the principle is the same. You enjoy them, you take care of them, and they feel your love. Not only that, others see how you treat them and how they respond.

In a broader but just as important sense, you show your love to the world the same way. I do not always practice what I preach here, but I try. I offer my love for other people, things that deserve love, and of course, for pets and other animals in the same way. I treat them as valuable and worth my time.

From buying a hamburger and a drink for a mentally challenged young man at Braum’s to holding a door for a woman with a child and groceries in her arms, I want to show them and others a touch of love and respect.

From stopping on the side of the road to help someone with a flat tire to buying $5.00 worth of gas for the down-on-his-luck kid who was lying about why he needed the gas money to over-tipping a server or writing a thank-you note to the nurse who watched after me the last couple days, I want them to know they are worthy of notice and kindness.

Photo courtesy Lubos Houska

© 2023



About S. Eric Jackson

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