Love Is A Verb

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli
Love Is A Verb

When I love you, it’s really easy to love you. But when you do things that make me not love you, well than it’s really hard to love you.

I mean, obviously.

List the people in your life for whom that sentiment rings true from time to time—a partner, a co-worker, a child, a friend. Your football team. (#@$%!!!)

I don’t know about you, but I know that I can easily get caught up in the lists of things that aren’t happening, that aren’t going right, that aren’t unfolding the exact way I think they should… and in doing so become clouded to the fact that the faces behind those lists belong to people who are—just like me—probably doing the best they can.

My boss recently led us in a workshop where she talked about the “rocks” we accumulate throughout any given day. Using literal rocks to demonstrate, she showed us how heavy and weighed down we can become when we hold onto every perceived annoyance, disappointment, misunderstanding, or gripe—when each of those become a rock we add to our pockets. If we hold onto all of those rocks, it doesn’t take long to become very heavy indeed. And if we take those rocks home with us, and if we don’t find a way to put them down, we start every new day already heavy with the rocks from the day before. You can see how quickly the rocks can become all we feel.

Love, in its most powerful sense, is a verb. It’s not simply a thing to receive, and it’s also not simply a thing we bestow upon those that are “worthy.” Instead, it’s a choice we make in the way we approach the people with whom we interact.   All of them. Even (and especially) when it’s not easy.

So what happens when I make the choice to put down all my rocks and actively love the heck out of everyone in my path? I’m not exactly sure but I imagine it quite possibly means I have to stop yelling at the Colts for their current losing streak, as if it is something they are doing to me personally. And I suppose it also means I have to actually have a conversation face-to-face with the co-worker rather than just pouting and grumbling off to the side. And I guess it further means that I need to just be at peace with the fact that yes, I am going to have to tell my 3-year old yet again not to hit me, or his sister, because the fact is that he’s THREE and he’s trying to figure out how to express himself when his brain and his body aren’t in synch.

Love as a verb is much more difficult than love as a “gift.” In fact, thinking about it makes me kind of want to say, “It’s okay, I’ll just grab all my rocks and go, thank you very much.” But if we really dig into it, if it informs every interaction, then the possibility for connection and understanding is so much richer. And how much lighter we feel when we’re not weighed down by all those rocks.

What rocks can you put down today?  


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Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.