800px-Two_Gannets_editThe other day I got inspired by a thought: Have I ever had to explain what Love is to someone? Whenever I say “I love you” to someone they seem to understand what I mean. So I tried to imagine explaining the concept of Love to a child who hadn’t yet figured it out. If we look In the dictionary we see that Love can be a noun, verb or adjective.

Love (n, v, adj) refers to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes that range from interpersonal affection (“I love my mother”) to pleasure (“I loved that meal”).

I could also turn to the musical Les Misérables for an answer. As the main character Jean Valjean succumbs to an illness there is a point where all music and singing stop, and the theatre is filled with silence…until the chorus sings the following words:

To love another person is to see the face of God.

Over the years I’ve encountered some people that define Love not by how it feels, but how it feels to live without it. They often do not love themselves, and that fundamentally affects the interactions they have with other people. People stuck in a “funk” of non-loving feelings project them outward, and invariably those destructive emotions ricochet right back at them.

Every person you meet is a mirror.

If you put love in other people, that is what you will get back. But what should people do if they look in the mirror and they don’t see love? In my coaching practice I have seen many breakthroughs arise from performing a simple exercise called stream of consciousness exploration. In order to explore our subconscious it often helps to sit down with a piece of paper and a pen, and write everything that comes to mind about a certain word or concept –  in this case, “Love.”

The process encourages connections between the different experiences and preconceived notions you may have about Love. Eventually you will realize that Love is not an emotion, but a state of being – a way of life.

And why not start that new way of life with a box of chocolates? Happy Valentine’s Day!