This I Believe

Cael - St Paul, Minnesota
Entered on October 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in love.

Love is the driving force behind all good in the human world. Love generates altruism, compassion, superhuman strength, confidence, laughter, and purpose. Love costs only what you choose to pay, and is available in infinite supply to anyone who actively seeks it. Love pulls firefighters into burning buildings, passers-by into car wrecks, and environmentalists into the political world.

I am alive today because my mother, bless her kind soul, took one look at my shriveled, ugly mug when I was born and felt compelled to love me. At age two, when I decided to eat a tasty-looking moth ball, the doctor that saved my life was driven to his profession by a loving urge to help others. When I found myself plagued by the horrors of early adolescence, love motivated my teachers and coaches to teach me, inspire me, and pull me through. Finally, today, while I struggle daily with the question of who I really am, it is love that keeps my family awake with me through late-night crises and early-morning moments of revelation. Love created my life, sustained my life, and, as a result, is my mission in life.

I believe that, if everyone paid a little more attention to the love that they feel from and for others, the world would be a better place to live. Acknowledging and appreciating the valuable relationships in my life invariably brings into perspective what is important and what is not. When my field of vision isn’t clouded by tests, dirty dishes, papers, and financial matters, I can see much more clearly what actually matters, what has kept me alive for 21 years, and what will make my life worthwhile for many more.

This change in perspective then makes me more prone to displaying the love I feel, through acts as simple as smiling at someone on the street or picking up a dropped paper for a classmate. These acts require minimal effort but have enormous impact overall, because they are infectious. In the same way that other, less positive “love diseases” are spread, a smile at a stranger can indirectly “infect” many others as the love is passed on by each recipient. The ultimate result of infectious love is that each participant has infinite potential to improve the world.

This theory does not just apply on the micro level; loving acts of generosity spread just as easily when initiated by businesses, organizations, and even governments. I believe that, if we can slow our society down enough to get each person to recognize the contribution of others in his/her life, we will see the love begin to flow. We will see income inequality and hunger become a distant memory, while televisions and fast food become less important than conversations and the pleasure of cooking and eating with loved ones. We will see worldwide cooperation begin to eliminate war and environmental destruction, and we’ll see a lot more happy people.