People need love. It's an innate human need. We all crave love as human beings. We want people to love us. We desperately want to connect with others. We all want to be accepted and be a part of a community.
However, in today's world, we are moving further and further from that. Somewhere along the road, our neighbors became strangers. Trolling became the norm. Real relationships were replaced with social media.
As more our life becomes digital, it's becoming harder to love people. It's especially hard to love people who disagree with us. It's easy to "ghost" people we don't like. It's simple to "block" difficult people. It's easy to avoid people in your life if you don't want to see them anymore.
So, how do we turn things around? How can we start radically loving people? How can we learn to trust people who are not our friends and family? How can we stop using people and pursuing things?
What is Radical Love
Radical love is unconditional love. It's a type of love that overhauls the convention of the word "love".
The word "love" gets used very loosely in today's day and age. You love pizza and you love the color blue. It gets so much use that it has lost its tarnish. Even when we use love in the context of people, it's usually describing conditional love.
For example, you might love your co-worker Jessica because she's a high-performer. Or you love your friend Steve because he is reliable. But what happens when Jessica is no longer performing well or Steve becomes unreliable? It's easy then to not love that person anymore because you only love qualities about them.
To practice radical love, you unconditionally love people regardless of their flaws. This does not mean you become someone's doormat. You can unconditionally love someone who is manipulative without falling into their manipulation. You can unconditionally love an alcoholic without enabling their behavior. Radical love is not a free pass for bad behavior. But it is loving people despite their qualities and flaws.
How to Love People Without Reservation
"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise, we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them."
-- Thomas Merton
Healthy relationships begin with radical love. Instead of trying to fit everyone into our mold, we learn to love people for who they are. People will fail you. They will let you down. They will disagree with you. But we have to learn to love people despite their failures. This is a massive part of our own personal growth.
Loving the people you meet in life should not feel like a chore. In fact, you should be excited to connect with all types of people. Don't hold back love because of the way someone looks or behaves. Offer them love and support despite their deviances from your mold.
Being able to give love and feel loved is the most beautiful part of life. Radical love is a transformative thing. It tells people that you love and support them, even on their worst days. Practicing radical love signals that everyone is worthy and in need of love, regardless of their background, beliefs, or merits. Radical love is truly the thing makes the world a better place to live.
It's not easy to love people. We sometimes judge people harshly based on their merits, background, or beliefs. But when you practice radical love, you learn to love the person despite their flaws. Radical love tells people that all are worthy in the eyes of God. You begin to see past people's flaws, without excusing their bad behavior. Loving people is not always simple, but it is always worth it.