We need more fucking love.

Not romantic love, not “this is my boyfriend” love, not “we are meant to be together forever” love.

In fact, we probably have too much of that.

We’re sold this lie (among the many other lies we are sold) that the ideal design for life is getting everything you need – including love – out of one person. They’re meant to be your bestie, your partner, your lover, your support.

And then…we neglect all the other ways we could be spreading and receiving love in our life. The moments where a friend throws a bid for connection, and we could turn towards them…but instead we’re just waiting to talk. Or the moment where someone at the car place where you’re getting your oil changed wants to shoot the shit with you about his day…and you’re too busy to be human and respond nicely. The moment where your kid’s teacher had a shitty fucking day herself and could use a parent being genuinely caring and asking about it…but you’re too focused on your own kid being the center of the universe.

Merriam-Webster currently defines love as follows:

a (1) :  strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties

 (2) :  attraction based on sexual desire

 (3):  affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests

According to that definition, we don’t even need to EXPAND our current definition of love in order to have more of it in our lives. We can feel a strong affection for another arising out of kinship with the barista. Or the grocery check-out clerk. Or the overwhelmed college student on the train.

Not only do we need more fucking love, we need to remove the focus of our lives away from ourselves. Sure, I joke about being the star of The Anjali Show sometimes, but that’s a joke – not the way I want to live my life. The other day, I pulled over for a teenager and his dog, walking in the rain, whose car had broken down after he had been walking to get gas. And you know what? It took less than twenty fucking minutes out of my day but it absolutely MADE his because he was looking toward an over two mile walk back to his car, in the rain, with his pup. And when I drove away, I reminded myself to get the fuck out of my own head more often.

A few years ago, a wrote a piece for The Huffington Post called “Yes: It’s About Gun Violence, But It’s Also About How We Treat Each Other” and in that post I said the following,  regarding the causes of gun violence:

But we also need to have another conversation in this country, perhaps even this world, and that conversation needs to be about how we prevent the inception of the crime in the mind of the would-be criminal. The answer isn’t just to fix our gun control laws, it’s to fix ourselves.

What we aren’t doing, and likely have never done, as a nation, is to connect all the dots. Our children go to school and fear they will be bullied; those same children spend hours watching reality TV shows where contestants and judges bully each other. We tell our kids to follow their dreams, but we think it’s okay that we live lives where we hate our jobs, drink to numb ourselves and barely connect with our families. We teach our children to turn to God, have faith and treat their fellow man as they would want to be treated, but those same religious teachings are being used as an excuse for Americans to spread hate throughout our nation. The social media culture that lets us continuously talk about ourselves is overwhelmingly accepted, but stopping to ask a stranger if they’re alright isn’t.

The answer can’t be trying to fix just one or two issues, the answer must be an overhaul of the way we live our lives. We talk about the gun accessibility and mental health of the shooters, but we rarely talk about the fact that anger and loneliness isn’t just reserved for criminals. Who among us hasn’t felt lost and alone, with no where to turn? Perhaps that’s a consequence not of the fact that only certain individuals reach the “mental illness” threshold, but perhaps that’s a consequence of the fact that we’re living in a broken world. When our bodies get physically sick, it’s perfectly acceptable to take a day off from the world, sit home and heal. When will we allow the same for our minds and our souls?

To me, those words feel truer than ever today. Our world isn’t getting better over time: with the possibility of someone like Donald Trump as president, in my mind, it is continuing to devolve.

And we’re the only ones who can turn the tide.

NOT being racist or homophobic or sexist is good, but it’s not the end. It’s the fucking beginning. You’re not a good human being just because you’re not a SHITTY human being. Be fucking better.

Why can’t I love someone I’ve just met? Why can’t I feel a connection to another human…just because they’re another human? Why can’t I actively remind myself that life sometimes sucks for all of us and connecting to another individual is never a bad thing?

Well, there’s no fucking reason I can’t.

So today, here’s to love!

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