Don't Be Afraid To Be The One Who Loves The Most

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Today I'm grateful to announce that I am officially a published author! My friend, Tyler Ward, author of Marriage Rebranded, has been collecting marriage advice for Millennials, and asked me to contribute. I happily obliged, and now my work is being published alongside some of my heroes, in his book called Marriage Hacks. The following is my contribution. I wanted to share it with you. If you like it, you'll love the rest of the book. Check it out here:

How I Discovered Love Is Not Weakness

On December 11th, 2013 I found myself in a car driving through the back roads of Georgia with a stiff back and weary eyes. I had spent the last two months of my life sleeping on couches, driving from city to city with my friend, Melissa, as we searched the United States for the most passionately in-love couples we could find.

We were nearing the end of our journey, and as always, I had no idea what to expect from the couple we were about to meet. I had no way of knowing I would receive the most important love advice of my life.

When we arrived at Joseph and Anne Gaston’s home, we were treated with 60+ years worth of stories and experiences. They told us how they met and how they fell in love. They recounted the struggles that came with working in the medical field while raising a family, how they had to sacrifice important things so the other could pursue their dreams.

Conversations like this are what I live for—rich in stories, personality, and practical advice. These are the reason I started recording these stories in the first place.

As we were winding down the conversation, we asked the Gastons if they could leave the world with one bit of love advice, what would it be?

Without missing a beat, Anne said,

“Don’t be afraid to be the one who loves the most.”

I felt the air get sucked from my lungs as the power of her words sank in.

I had always been taught that “the person who cares the least always has the most power.” We tell ourselves that not caring—not loving—means we get to dictate the pace of the relationship and the level of commitment. We believe the person who cares the least worries the least, stresses the least, and has the most freedom to do as they please.

We say that loving makes you weak and vulnerable. It makes you a captive in your own relationship, subject to the feelings, moods, and desires of the one you love.

One simple sentence by an 80-year-old woman changed a lifetime of belief for me.

I suddenly realized that love is not weakness. It’s power.

Love is the fuel that makes relationships work. Loving someone more than they love you is not stupid or crazy or foolish. It’s the bravest thing you can do in this life.

True love is given without conditions or expectation of reciprocation. We can love others even when they are imperfect and flawed. We can cherish them, serve them, and forgive them even when they break promises, say unintentionally hurtful things, fall short, or forget.

Love is unfair… and that’s what makes it so amazing and beautiful.

When we aren’t afraid to be the one who loves the most, and we find a partner who is also committed to loving big, we get the experience of receiving love even (and especially) in the moments we least deserve it.

That is what true love is all about. Don’t miss out on true, deep, meaningful, connected love.

Don’t be afraid to be the one who loves the most.

Don't forget to check out the book Marriage Hacks with contributions from Gary Chapman, Danny Silk, Gary Thomas, your's truly, and many others.

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Gratitude Is Magic

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About a year ago I was stuck. Full of anger, jealousy, comparison, a feeling of lack in my life. I was focused on this feeling of not having resources to do what I felt made me happy. I was unhappy with the community I lived in, and felt stuck. I was jealous of my friends I saw in my Instagram and Facebook feed. It seemed they were all traveling all over the world and working on such cool and meaningful projects. I was frustrated I didn’t know what my purpose in this world was. What was I put here to do? Can you relate to any/all of these things? It hit me one morning I had created habits of negativity. Each new negative habit I had created for myself led to even more negative habits. It was a vicious cycle and I realized I needed to replace my negative habits with positive ones. In came gratitude...

It was here that I stumbled upon a book called One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, by Ann Voskamp. She used a gratitude list to help pull her out of a deep depression. She just kept notebooks all over the place and literally filled them with all the things she was grateful for. I wanted to try this out, but I realized very quickly my list was filled with people I’d shared experiences with throughout my life, or folks who’ve impacted me in some way.

So, I started writing one gratitude letter a day to a friend, family member or kind soul who’s loved me when I needed it most. Notes filled with all the things I love about the people in my life. Lists of things I love about them, why they’re so awesome and how they’re impacting the world.

Ponder this for a second. How many times do you think something rad about someone in your life? I’ll bet a lot. How many times do you then tell that special someone the radness you thought about them? I’ll bet not a lot.

And, here’s the deal. Gratitude is magic. My very unscientific description of the whole gratitude process:

  1. A positive message travels along a nerve in the brain and reaches the end of the nerve, it releases chemicals that are then picked up by the next nerve allowing the message to be carried on.
  2. These chemicals, or neurotransmitters, have a calming effect on the brain by increasing levels of other chemicals such as serotonin, which produces calm and peaceful feelings.
  3. The more genuinely positive messages that are sent, the more neurochemicals are released and received allowing for peace and contentment and happiness.

I’ve found since I started my gratitude letter writing practice I’m less aggressive, happier, more optimistic, I sleep better and I have a better control on dealing with stress. I’ve found more JOY in the little things and an appreciation for life that was missing before. Gratitude changes everything.

Want to get started on writing gratitude letters to those you love in your life? I have a 14 day Spread Joy Letter Writing Challenge filled with tips on how to get you started and prompts on what to say if you’re feeling stuck. All the details can be found at Josh Solar Loves You.

Join Josh in a movement to fill the world with gratitude and appreciation! Write a letter of gratitude right now! Tell us about your experience in the comments.

[jbox title="About the author:" border="5" radius="15"] Josh Solar is a giver of love, creator of art, and an influence for good in the world. If you love love, you will love his blog, Josh Solar Loves You, and keeping up with his amazing family at The Happy Family Movement. I highly recommend you check out his podcast episode on The Loveumentary as well.

Want to get the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge sent to your email inbox every day? Fill out this little form here:

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National Love Note Day 2013

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Yesterday was National Love Note Day.

We decided to hit the streets and spread some love. We set up a 75 sq/ft piece of paper on the sidewalk in downtown Salt Lake City, and asked strangers to write a note to someone they loved.

Hundreds of people participated, and in less than 2 hours our love note was full. We loved doing this so much that we're going to do it again in major cities across America.

My favorite part about yesterday? We invited a lady to sign our love note. She told us, "No thanks," and hustled past. She stopped, looked back over her shoulder, and reconsidered. She then walked back, grabbed a pen, thought quietly for a moment, and  bent over and wrote a love note to someone.

She stood up and said, "Wow. I feel a lot better now," and walked away with a smile.

Love letters make everyone happy. Write a love note and submit it to our Last Love Letters project HERE.

We hope you enjoy some pictures from last night's experiment:

Love Note Day Panorama | The Loveumentary

Happy Love Note Day!

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It's Love Note Day!

We've been counting down the days until Love Note Day, and we're so excited that it's finally here.

If you are in love with someone, write them a love note and tell them.

If you love someone (not romantically), write them a love note and tell them.

If you hope to love someone someday, or you've loved someone, and they're now gone, write them a letter and tell them.

Share your love. Life is short, and love is the best part. The more you give love, the more you receive love.

We'd love it if you'd share your love notes with us HERE. We're collecting them and then turning them into a book. Don't worry, if you want to remain anonymous, we'll totally keep your identity a secret.

We love you!


Don't forget, we've launched an awesome Kickstarter. We're trying to document America's greatest love stories. You can help us by spreading the word, and by donating. Every dollar counts. Learn more about it here:

[jbutton link="http://kck.st/1aYSDOd" halign="center" size="xxlarge" color="green" rounded="no"]Check Out Our Kickstarter![/jbutton]