by Angela Noel
July 28th, 2016
“Bye. I love you.” My stomach dropped. My brain didn’t consciously plan to say it, but there it was. Out there. These three little words, reserved for more than thirty years for only close family and romantic partners, had slipped through my lips. My friend Jenn laughed, “Ang, I love you too.”
Why did it take me decades to tell a dear friend I loved her? Short answer: I was afraid. I feared the vulnerability of such a declaration. I reserved my “I love you’s” as if the words, and the emotions behind them, were rare gems, meant to be precious and few. But love, in its many forms, needn’t be scarce. Science and philosophy agree: love is a renewable resource with exponential return on investment.
Harvard Business Review published The Ideal Praise-to-Criticism Ratio. The studies show that members of high-performing teams at work, and couples that stay married offer positive comments to their partners almost six times as often as negative ones. Affirmation, affectionate regard, friendship, gratitude, and camaraderie are all aspects of love. The Ancient Greeks, predating Harvard by hundreds of years, built this knowledge both into their language and their philosophy.
The Greeks have at least four, some sources say six, words to describe love. Deep or true friendship is known as philia, and discussed at length by Aristotle. Agape, the term St. Thomas Aquinas said means, “to will the good of another,” is the type of love blogger and TED Talk alum Hannah Brencher encourages with her campaign: The World Needs More Love Letters. Pragma, describes a patient, tolerant love; the kind that lasts.
We humans are all one team. If we want to be successful, we need a 6:1 ratio of good versus bad. We need more love.
In its two months of existence, the You are Awesome blog has featured four amazing individuals. Each of them invite creativity, adventure, and passion into their everyday lives. The posts I’ve written, and the many more I plan to write, are love letters. I write not only to share the stories of extraordinary humans who practice a kind of everyday-awesome I admire, but to honor the good in all of us.
To feel love, to express it boldly and without expectation of return, takes tremendous courage. It takes more courage to say “I love you,” than it does to climb a mountain.
Each of you know teachers, friends, lovers, parents, grandparents, children, bosses, artists, mentors, or teammates who embody goodness, who give the best of themselves in unique and interesting ways. I ask for your courage. I ask for your words. I ask that you share your gratitude and admiration. I ask for YOUR love letters.
Here’s my Invitation:
- Think of someone amazing (I bet it’s not hard)
- Write a story or letter about him or her
- Subscribe to this blog
- Email me the story at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- I’ll reply and let you know when it’ll be published (I post every Thursday-so, it’ll be a Thursday)
That’s it. Pretty easy, right?
Be awesome in real life.
© Iurii Sokolov | Dreamstime.com – Old love letter