Life offers many opportunities for expression and fulfilment though the road is not paved with gold and the weather is not always bright and shinning.
There is a silver lining in every dark cloud we experience in life and we find it in the presence of love.
Far from a euphoric or hedonistic feeling, I refer here to love as that quiet, persevering yet exciting feeling of commitment and sacrifice that takes you beyond yourself, a self-transcendental outpouring into something bigger than self.
People set goals for their career and income but not many understand that love is the underlying foundation that produces the bliss and prosperity we seek. Why don’t we then make it a goal to pour out ourselves in love?
I believe that in order to truly live, we need to experience these 6 kinds of love
1. Love for Work
You are wondering why I started with love for work? Is it not obvious that we spend the major part of our adult lives working? Averaging 40 – 60 hours per week, why should we invest so much time and effort doing something that doesn’t tap into the core of our motivation and enthusiasm.
A lot of us are looking for that flow state, where we are so caught up in the moment; where the joy is in the process and not the outcome; where we look forward to the beauty of yet another completed project; and where according to Henry Ford, failure is interpreted not as fatal, but as an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.
We ought to do work that we love or else we will not be happy. We will not be happy because the hard work of mastery, which is the greatest expression of love for work is patiently endured when there is love in the heart for your vocation.
Abraham Maslow captures it, “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.”
What are you going to be? Are you doing what you want to be the best at, what you have a passion for? Even if it is going to be a side hustle, when do you plan to start doing the work you love?
Samuel Johnson wrote, “If a man doesn’t make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair.”
Good friendships add colour and meaning to our lives. Nothing is as lonely as success or struggles without friends who can share our pains, hopes and triumphs.
Our friends are the people who accepts us and celebrate us for who we are while always treating us to a vision of what we can be, our highest potential. With them, we don’t have to hide who we are or stifle the motions of our heart. Is this a description of your friendships?
Good friendship don’t just happen. They require an investment of time and attention. We will never feel as if we have truly lived unless we enjoy the companionship of friends who refuse to allow us settle for less than we are capable of becoming, who remain faithful through thick and thin, who walk beside us in our trying times and raise their hands with us in our moments of triumph.
You need the love of friendship. It is one of life’s inexpressible joys.
3. Romantic Love
I must be quick to admit, beyond my steely exterior (smiles), I’m a sucker for romantic love. I join King Solomon to appreciate that the way of a man with a woman is indeed a mystery. And that mystery fascinates me.
The attraction towards the opposite sex that creates that spark of romance has become the object of many platinum selling album and best-selling poetry. For those of us who will face the truth, in spite of our sour experiences, bitterness and pain in love, we still crave for true expression of love. We need not give up and we need the right attitude.
This is why I have to make it clear that the notion of effortless romantic love is a substance of fiction. In reality, for the embers of romantic love to continually burn, efforts is needed though it might have been kindled initially by passion.
When we feel the sizzle is fading away, we should understand that acts of love can bring back the feelings of love. Many of such acts of love is written by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13. We need not give up on romance. Oh! What a feeling it is to love and be loved.
Camaraderie is the love that comes from shared suffering or a belief in a certain cause. It binds people together despite differences in language, culture or religion.
Have you ever seen people fighting for freedom or enduring oppression or soldiers at war or employees working on a breakthrough project? There you will find camaraderie. Organized religion also provides a good example of camaraderie.
In camaraderie, the mindset is not me but us. It is the common interest of the group that prevails over individual interests. They all believe in a common cause and look out for each other’s interests. The force of their belief and unity eventually causes them to triumph.
5. Love for Books
I have a fanatical belief that the man who hasn’t learnt to delight his soul in good books is missing out on one of life’s greatest love.
I’m passionate to share my enthusiasm for reading. It is one of my breakthrough habits. I read for the sheer pleasure of it. I delight in the expansion and enlightenment that it facilitates.
I can’t agree more with Oliver Wendell Holmes, “A man’s mind is stretched by a new idea or sensation, and never shrinks back to its former dimensions.”
Nothing stretches the mind more than good books for it is true what Adlous Hexley said, “Every man who knows how to read has it in his power to magnify himself, to multiply the ways in which he exists, to make his life full, significant and interesting.”
Make it a priority to read at least 15 – 30 minutes every day. Read good books that will stretch your mind and help you grow. Don’t just read for mere entertainment. Grapple with the hard stuffs too.
6. Love for God
This is the supreme love that the human soul can find and ought to experience. It begins with faith in the existence of God, a desire to know him as he is and an ongoing expression of obedience to his commandments.
We must not close our hearts to this possibility and must not be distracted by the illusions that ignorant expressions of religion have provided. For beyond the thick veil of religion is God waiting to be found when we let go of our guile, our pride and our desire to impress.
He wants us to come just as we are. And he hopes you will do that pretty soon.
Let’s have a conversation
Do you think there are other forms of love I might have missed? Please freely share your ideas by commenting below.