I can't get this woman out of my head.
She was on Newsnight, a news and current affairs programme on the BBC. She had lost her only son in the Israel-Hamas war.
You could clearly tell she was devastated. Devoid of any energy. But here she was.
And you know what she said? 'The only answer is love.'
Not war. Not violence. Not retribution. Not 'winning'.
In this article I'm going to talk to you about love.
But not before I ask:
How are you? How are you doing?*
Forgive me for this being a bit of a jumble. But these are my thoughts:
Love is ...
Love is a complex set of emotions, behaviours, and beliefs associated with feelings of affection, care and warmth for another person, is what a quick google tells me.
What I also think is that love is made up of certain actions. Of being optimistic and seeing the good in others. In being able to listen and be empathetic. In making time for others.
Love is a verb
We often think of love as this thing. Something that floats in the air. That some of us are lucky to have. Something precious. Something breakable. Something that needs jealously protecting.
But I think love is a verb. Something you DO.
And not just when everything is fine and bobbing along nicely. No, when you love, actively, is when things are NOT smooth. When anger flares. When tempers rise. When circumstances are bad. When the world is in turmoil.
You LOVE. Especially in hard times. Actively. Determinedly. Fiercely.
Love is a strength
Love is a strength. You all know that you're happier when you use your strengths every day.
So, what can that look like? Yes, you can use this strength in your relationships with your partner, your children, your family.
But you can also use it at work. Which is where we're going next.
Love at work
By now you've got serious doubts about me. Why is she talking about love in a blog about careers? What's that got to do with ANYTHING?
But hear me out.
Love is a strength. And you can show love in actions. Right?
Love is empathy, listening, building relationships, taking time, caring for other people.
Qualities that are all to do with emotional intelligence. The so-called 'soft skills' (which aren't soft at all!), which are important leadership skills to have and cultivate.
Do you have love as your top strength? Using your strength of love will make YOU feel happier (and the people around you too!).
Loving your work
A while back I read Marcus Buckingham's book Love + Work. It talks about how to bring love back into our lives. How to choose what we love, based on what we know about ourselves.
Because too often we cram ourselves in boxes. Shoehorn ourselves into job descriptions. Conform to what's 'out there'.
Rather than coming from a place of loving what's already 'in here'. In you. Your strengths, your values, your dreams, your skills.
Because you are great. Just the way you are.
And finally ... scalable love
A throwaway comment in a LinkedIn post led me even further down the Love rabbit hole.
Marc Andreessen wrote The Techno-Optimist Manifesto. About the good that technology can do. I won't bore you with it.
What triggered me was his throwaway comment that 'love isn't scalable'.
Having watched the news over the last few weeks I've seen men protesting and fighting and arguing. And I've seen women looking after and protecting their children. LOVING their children and loved ones.
What if we, as women, started there. By using our LOVE. By loving, like the verb it is. Loving hard. Especially now. Listening. Building relationships. Showing empathy. And not judging.
Because I don't believe that love is not scalable.
Love - after all - is the answer! One woman at a time.
So, there you have it.
My long, somewhat rambling thoughts on love. One thing, one strength, lots of actions. Multiplied by all of you. Sending this positive energy out into the world.
I can see it from right over here. Can you?
(* Seriously. How are you? Are you affected by what's going on around us? Are you struggling? Drop me a note. I'm happy to chat.)
Tineke Tammes supports professional women in making successful transitions to careers of Freedom, Flexibility and Fulfilment! Besides that she is also a lifelong feminist, part-time portrait artist, never-only-read-one-book-at-any-time reader, and obsessive doodler.
Join her now in Pick 'n Mix - the FREE community for creative, multi-passionate women ...