13/02/2017 00:59 SAST | Updated 13/02/2017 15:32 SAST

Love Is All These Things, And More Beside

Love is not one-dimensional. That is the mistake that we often make.

February is the month of love all around the world, this we all know. Some feel excited about it, some depressed, others are just plain cynical.

Stores and even schools cash in on it. And then there are some who spend their days trying to find love and the meaning of it. You'll find volumes of books and poetry dedicated to the concept of love or simply type in "how to find" and Google will pre-empt your question for you with the word love.

I think the mistake we all make, is in thinking it's one-dimensional. In this year especially, I believe the meaning of love embraces many different notions all rolled into one and trying to apply it in one way or the other will change 2017 for the better, because

  • Love is Kindness – Showing kindness to anyone through any small act can reap great rewards for both the giver and the receiver.
  • Love is Mindfulness – Being aware of your actions towards your children, parents, friends and even strangers. Sometimes we take people we love for granted, not realising that they might not be there forever.
  • Love is Empathy – Trying to understand what someone else is going through and being supportive of them, no matter what.
  • Love is Tolerance – Seeing beyond differences of colour, background, status, religion and realising that people are people.They all feel and experience the same way you do.
  • Love is Caring - For the old, the weak, animals, the vulnerable.
  • Love is Compassion - Yes, it also means being kind or caring but compassion is different in that it is more emotional.Thoughtful enough to consider someone else perhaps above your own needs.
  • Love is Affection – Touch is a powerful way to tell someone you love them.
  • Love is being passionate – Finding something you love and enjoy, that makes you happy, that's love.
  • Love is Gratefulness – Because when you're content, you are able to love more freely.
  • Love is Mercy – We always associate this with God somehow but mercy between human beings is just as important. Mercy for animals, mercy between spouses and siblings, mercy for those that may have wronged you.
  • Love is Peace - Or keeping the peace. Not taking off or getting angry in an instant, pausing and letting it pass.

This world needs more love in all its dimensions. It's a fast-moving, hectic and chaotic life we lead, leaving us little or no time for worrying about others and what they may need. Gosh, we hardly have time for what we ourselves need. All it takes though is a change in being, being happier, less self-involved and lighter in relations with others. Maybe just a little time each day will help slow us down, become more present in our thoughts and actions, a little less judgemental and a lot more loving.

Love is the bridge between you and everything – Rumi