When people think about love the tendency is to jump to the common interpretation of “being in love”, “to love”, “loving” or some such connotation. Love is one of the pillars in my philosophy for life but it is not just relating to one of those common interpretations. I am also referring to the ability to like and all the relationships you will have based on “like”. This would include social friends, work colleagues and even the stranger in the supermarket. Love is about connecting and sharing.

Love and its intensity and therefore your enjoyment and growth because of it, is determined by the combination of (1) a state of the heart, (2) a state of the mind and (3) a genuine openness and honesty.

State of the Heart. There are times in life’s ups and downs when it definitely feels easier to like or love. The period of time following, for example, a failed relationship or the loss of a loved one will feel tougher to consider loving. Being aware of the state of your heart will arm you with the knowledge to navigate love. That said, just because something may happen to burden your heart does not mean you are not capable of liking or loving at that same moment. Of course, you will still have the innate ability to love. In fact, in the times of one relationship failing or ending, it is commonly observed other existing relationships have their meaning and emotional value subconsciously amplified. You need to be consciously aware of your heart if you are to love. You need to open your heart if you are to love. You need to allow people to touch your heart if you are to love. You need to give your heart if you are to love.

State of the Mind. Before truly becoming aware of your heart you will be led by your mind. The mind allows for assessment and judgement which in turn makes way for action, or reaction. It is your mind that will control your approach, action and reaction to those you meet every day with whom you have no knowledge or existing relationship, as well as those you do. Your mind is what initially and instinctively controls whether, for example, you are civil to the waitress or treat the cashier at the checkout like a second class citizen, or throw your payment disrespectfully at the taxi driver. To enjoy the intensity of love, you need to eradicate any negative feelings and actions to those you know and those you don’t. This is achieved with a state of mind.

Genuine Openness and honesty. Most people, at some stage in their lives will feel insecure. This is common when a relationship fails or ends. When we feel insecure there is a mental and emotional shift towards defending. We defend ourselves by building imaginary walls to protect our heart, mind and soul. By closing off so we don’t need to deal with the anxieties. With this defensive reaction we will actually be compromising our future. A future filled with limitless possibilities. Possibilities that could be enriched with love. We need an honest perspective on our current situation to ensure we do not close ourselves off and block the most wondrous of possibilities.

General awareness and honesty will lead to a greater intensity of love in all areas of your life. That is why it is one of the pillars to my philosophy for life.