Love might seem like an odd value to explore in a blog focused on business, but it can be quite relevant and fulfilling, if we choose to see its significance. The dictionary defines love in multiple ways:
- A deep and tender feeling of affection, fondness, or devotion.
- A natural affinity for another, manifesting itself in concern for their welfare and pleasure in their presence.
- The development of an emotional and benevolent attachment of people or entity.
- A feeling of brotherhood and good will.
Although the definition of love might seem self-evident, like all values, there is value in looking a little deeper into its meaning.
There is erotic love (eros) and platonic love. There is love of friends (philia), familial love (storge), and love of self (philautia). There is reciprocal love and unrequited love, new love and enduring love (pragma), playful love (ludus) and obsessive love (mania), love for life experiences and love of material belongings. Like most things, love is subjective and different types of love generate different meanings and manifestations.
The last bullet from above comes from the Greek word, agape, in which love is universal and selfless. It is considered a holy platonic type of love that takes the form of being open to receive, welcome, and embrace; it helps one to see a divine spark in the world and in others.
- Do you love the work you do?
- Do you have an affinity for the people you work with?
- Do you feel a sense of good will towards the people who benefit from your work?
- Do you love who you are when doing your work?
We tend to think that the opposite of love is hate, but as Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel (1928-2016) observed, the opposite of love is indifference. Love and hate each require intense emotion while indifference stems from the lack of caring and absence of feeling. If your work breeds indifference, it might be time to think about where you can ignite feelings of love, pleasure, good will, and connection.
Love is often seen as something that happens to us, at least when related to romantic love. However, platonic love, love of self, and love of our work generates from an internal state. A subjective outlook that we have the power and responsibility to foster, enhance, and expand.
In addition to the inquiries above, below are three reflection questions and one action item intended to encourage you to consider love in a unique way. Don’t over think them, thinking and love are rarely compatible. Do your best to respond instinctively. If you want to take the exercise to the next level, forward the questions to a friend/spouse/sibling/partner and then share your responses. It can be quite enlightening to see how different people interpret and relate to the same values.
- When was a time you loved the work you were doing? What did that feel like?
- Who in your life is an example of someone who loves their work? How can you tell?
- What in your life do you have an affinity for/appreciation of, that you might experience habitually or take for granted? How can you relate to it in a way that gives you a deeper sense of pleasure and connection?
- Take a day and approach people and situations from love. Write about it.
Stacey Zackin, PhD, MSW, PCC (Manager, WORK_SPACE)