LOVE is Just a 4-Letter Word

For many, the idea that we should all love one another and get along invokes a warm, fuzzy feeling that just isn’t reality. Most people have no idea what the true meaning of love is. They equate love to a feeling, when love is a verb. Even that’s not enough of a description. To say you love something is wrong. Love is for people, animals, souls. Not stuff. It’s become such a commonplace word that it might as well be as taboo as other 4-letter words we’re told NOT to utter.

What’s the matter with love?

Nothing at all. The problem lies when you say, “I love my car.” Do you really LOVE your car? You’ve just stripped value away from the word. Even saying you love someone if you really don’t understand what love means deludes the word of its meaning. With kindness on the forefront of social media buzz, kids especially expect their ideology to alight like wildfire and spread love through kindness around the globe. On paper, it sounds incredible and something we can all agree upon: who doesn’t want peace and love? In reality most people define love as acceptance, and it’s a one-way street. Their love says, “You accept me and agree with me, but don’t expect that in return.” The assumption is that if you don’t behave the way you’re “supposed” to, you have set yourself outside the boundaries of the kindness fad and aren’t deserving of love.

“What are you, a love expert?”

I am not an expert in anything. I am a human trying to be the best I can be, and many times I fail. What I do know is that kindness cannot happen without love, and love is something that needs to be described in greater detail. Love is:

  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Thoughtfulness

This is not what I see on social media when I share an opinion. This is not what I see when I drive down the road. I do not see people exhibiting patience, kindness, or thoughtfulness on a daily basis equally offered to everyone they come across. I don’t see it between kids in schools when I have author visits to talk about bullying. I don’t see it between kids in the neighborhood. I don’t see it when I look in the mirror. I hear about it everywhere, but I don’t see it…and LOVE is an action.

How can we as a society expect to exist in love and harmony when we haven’t a clue what that means or what it looks like once we’ve achieved it? What we’re enduring instead is a delusion, a fantasy, a fiction where we decide what we want selfishly and call it love, forcing everyone to comply and banning those who do not. That is the opposite of love:

  • Love is not JEALOUS
  • Love is not ENVIOUS
  • Love does not BRAG
  • Love is not PROUD
  • Love is not ARROGANT
  • Love is not RUDE
  • Love is not SELF-SEEKING
  • Love is not EASILY ANGERED
  • Love does not HOLD A GRUDGE
  • Love ENDURES
  • Love NEVER FAILS

The truth is that if we act out in any of the above-mentioned ways, we are NOT acting in a spirit of LOVE. If our motivations are not from the first list of what love is, then they are most assuredly from the second list of what love is not. And you know the worst part? As adults, we are modeling incorrect behavior for the next generation under the name of love, which is now just another 4-letter word.

My mother used to say, “What one generation accepts, the next embraces.”

What lies about LOVE have we accepted that the next generation has embraced? With wars, guns, violence, and bullying running rampant in all sects of society, where has all the love gone; the real love, the tolerant, patient, kind, thoughtful love that never fails and never gives up? Have we forgotten how to model this behavior behind the wheel of our vehicle? In our marriage? In our relationship with our children? Have kids even learned the correct way to tolerate one another or have they been taught that if someone loves you they will not hurt you? This is a lie. Have they been taught that if someone loves you they will agree with you always? This is a lie. Have they been taught that if it gets tough, you should walk? This is the biggest lie.

Our perception of love is wrong, and this misconception has caused the power and truth that love conquers all to become a joke hidden beneath a blanket of intolerance. It’s time we look inward and explore our own behavior. Are we patient with one another, forgiving without condition? Are we kind even in the midst of haters’ attacks? Are we thoughtful as we move through our days, even when those around us take advantage? If the answers are no, then we are not filled with love, and a world without love will only breed disaster.

It’s time we take control of ourselves and really fight to become human beings who truly love one another. Otherwise, the intolerant hatred we see today will never have a chance of becoming our past because our future will be built upon it. In the infamous words of Forest Gump, “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.”

ABOUT FEATUREJaimie Engle writes dark thrillers where magic turns ordinary into extraordinary. She loves weaving lore into her books and creating the Stories that Shape You through JME Books. Fun facts: Jaimie danced at the Aloha Bowl halftime show & played an alien on TV. Learn more at ABOUT.

swimming in social media?

here’s a life vest

With so many social media sites available and new ones being added every day, it’s always a wonder about which ones to join. Some people swear by Facebook, and others by Twitter. Some use only Vine and still others are loyal to Pinterest. Let’s break down these groups and get a better feel for their purpose and audience.

Facebook

Facebook is the Mother of All social media networks. Family, friends, high school reunions, viral photos, and places to conduct business, all under one virtual roof. Facebook is best for:

  • Communicating with broad groups of people
  • A place where people can find you and like what you do
  • Conversational
  • Build relationships
  • Build your business

Create a business page or community page (they are different) so fans have a place to find you and catch up on what new products or services you have, and not on what you ate for dinner. You can also manage ads, target customers in your niche, and tally how many views each post brings in. Building lists off these groups mean you can create perfect ads that Facebook will recognize and share. Facebook is ever changing their logarithms, so be sure to keep up to date on what works. The current trend is to create multiple conversations within your post between people engaged by your post, and not you. You can’t ask a question in the post, but you should present a topic that inspires conversation among members. Facebook Live is also a huge new tactic to stay in front of your audience, competing with YouTube to become a new source of show programming.

Twitter

While Twitter is probably equally as popular, it tends to be geared toward older adults aged 65+ (Facebook demographics are women ages 35-45) and reaches a much broader market than Facebook. Many get their news for the day through what’s trending on Twitter. Twitter is best for:

  • Finding what’s trending
  • Following trendsetters
  • Studying markets in your niche (readers for me)
  • Analyzing what’s working for others in your field and what isn’t
  • Posting short tweets to entice readers to visit your website as part of the funnel

The cool thing about both Twitter and Facebook (and other social media sites) is that you can link them through tools like Hootsuite or weave them into your blog so that when you post on one, you post on all. It saves time and provides you with a greater reach.

Pinterest

Pinterest is the fastest growing social media site in the marketplace. Like Google, Pinterest is a search engine which means it utilizes keyword phrases instead of hashtags. It’s the #3, behind Google and YouTube. People love visuals, they love sharing, and they love discovering new pictures. What benefits does it have for you building your brand?

  • Pins of you interacting with clients
  • Pins of your videos or business/book trailers
  • Pins of you creating your product or service through the process
  • Pins of what inspires you to build, create, and live

I love to use Pinterest for storyboards to give my fans an idea of what I see as far as the actors I imagine portraying my characters, examples of settings, cover and interior art, etc. Pinterest allows you to share every visual aspect of your book business with your fans. And the best part is you can link everything back to your sales page on your website.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is your professional network. You can connect with other like-minded individuals to help promote one another or even to find someone to mentor beneath. If you are a blogger, this is a great place to post educational articles based off your business entreprise. On LinkedIn, you can:

  • Build your professional portfolio
  • List your credentials for speaking engagements and conference availability
  • List your awards, publications, and resume
  • Find other professionals in your niche to sell to or learn from

I’m not very active on LinkedIn, but I keep my account up to date as a professional platform for potential fans and followers.

Instagram

Instagram provides a quick and easy way to upload images, like pictures from school visits or short video clips from conferences. This social network connects you to likeminded individuals by niche market or topic, allowing a much kinder platform, in my opinion. There’s not as much trolling on Instagram as you find on Facebook, in particular. I use Instagram:

  • To build my following at events through engaging photos
  • To entice through product placement and clever phrasing for sales and bookings
  • To instantly publicize speaking engagements or book signings
  • To post on ‘one and done’

Instagram offers connection options to Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook, which is awesome because you can choose to share with each photo. I link to my business accounts, and now that Facebook owns Instagram, it makes marketing so much easier and reaches twice as many people with one ad. It’s a much easier way to share what’s happening in your world because it doesn’t require any writing if you don’t want to add it, plus you can post in real time as opposed to blogging about it later or doing a Facebook Live, which you many not want to or be able to do depending on the location and service.

There are so many other social media sites to choose from, and so many other ways to use the ones I’ve mentioned. It’s so easy to get caught up and lose yourself in social. Just make sure you’re not working for the social media, but it’s working for you!

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ABOUT FEATURE

From social media and marketing to gaining support for your cause, the art of storytelling enables business owners to connect with their intended audience. Using experience as an independent author, Engle shares:

  • Social media best practices
  • Storytelling to share your brand
  • Finding your audience
  • Blogging and other ways to connect

Learn best practices for connecting, engaging, and inspiring followers who not only buy products, but share them with their circles. Use the CONTACT page to request pricing & availability.