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SIONE: LOVE…There are so many ways that love has been defined. People are fascinated about the topic. It is actually one of our motivating needs. Many of us seek it in all of its forms we do so with the hopes that it will contribute to the joy in our lives. There’s self love, selfless love, romantic love, familiar love, compassion, love for a neighbor, brotherly love, the list can go on and on.
ALANA: You don’t have to look far to see some form of love being expressed or professed. We can’t seem to get enough of it in our forms of entertainment and the arts. Just look at the books, TV shows, movies, music, humanitarian movements, any form of art, fundraising efforts, or that viral video we recently saw that made us want to cry happy tears. It fuels the actions of many around us to do the things that they do. And it’s the reason why people will willingly make sacrifices. And yet, have you turned on the news lately. Or maybe you’re like us, and find that it is better if we just avoid it altogether. Because with all the so called love that we’re surrounded by, maybe now more than ever, the words of Dionne Warwick still ring true. You know which ones I mean right? What the world needs now is love sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.
SIONE: Today were recounting life lesson number four, love all but protect the ones you love. It ends up leading us to discuss what it’s like to extend love to those who harm us, how to love ourselves, and those we care about more effectively, and even how to respond to the lack of love in the world today.
ALANA: Would it be cheesy if I say, I think you’re gonna love it?
SHOW INTRO: Life can be an amazing teacher for paying attention. The opportunities for learning and growth are infinite just like each of our potentials. This is the recounting life lessons podcast with Sione and Alana. Together, we share and recount our journey to discovering the lessons that life’s adventures have taught us and why those same lessons can be significant for you. We are so glad you’re here. Who knows what kind of impact this week’s lesson can have on your life.
ALANA: The wording of this lesson may have some of you thinking. Huh? Allow us to take a moment to explain.
SIONE: So it was Sunday, August 26, 2018. It was a normal Sunday afternoon attending church, and this particular Sunday I was sitting at the front of the chapel because I was going to be given a talk but there was a lady who was going to be speaking before me. And so while she was speaking about five minutes or so into her talk, a random guy came into the chapel from the side of the building, put his hands up in the air one hand holding a Bible, the other hand empty. He said, Excuse me, excuse me, the Bible says, and then he just went off ranting and raving about his beliefs,
ALANA: And it really startled all of us
SIONE: Yeah he interrupted the whole meeting and, yeah, a bunch of people didn’t know what to do and so. A week before this actually, there are a couple of shootings in churches and so, even more so people were on edge, and a few of us, including myself, corralled this gentleman without really putting hands on or anything just tried to escort him off the building. And fortunately we had a federal law enforcement officer there to really help him be escorted out of the building. But at the end of all that commotion, our Bishop came up and he said a few words regarding, you know what happened and how we should be loving all people. And this is where I heard today’s lesson, he said. While we must love all people, we must protect those who love.
ALANA: So, we sat down to prepare for this podcast, and when we did we kept feeling like there was another lesson or message that needed to be touched on in addition to just loving all people, and protecting the ones that we love. It is still very much related. And that’s why we kept the lesson as the title of this episode, but more than anything, this experience raised a lot of questions. And so in today’s episode we’re gonna focus on discussing three of those questions that came up. The first one is how do we love everyone, even if their actions cause harm to the ones that we love most. The second is how do we love ourselves and those closest to us better. And the third is, what can we do to put more love out into the world and make it a better place.
SIONE: So, question number one, how do we love everyone, even if their actions caused harm to the ones we love most?
ALANA: My thoughts would be to just do our best to see them as fellow children of God. We give them the benefit of the doubt and treat them with respect while trying to understand and see things from their perspectives. And then we do whatever is necessary to prevent or eliminate any present or future harm.
SIONE:That’s that is easier said than done. Sure is.
ALANA: But remember that love and trust are two different and separate things. It’s easy to get them confused sometimes but it’s possible to love someone, but not trust them. I’m not sure if that sounds a bit harsh. Just because I love someone doesn’t mean I’m going to necessarily trust them with something like my bank account number.
SIONE: So I work at a juvenile detention center and I have a co worker who tells the use when he sits him down. He’ll tell them. I will give you 100% respect from the beginning of your stay here and all I’m asking is that you return some of that respect back. And this is totally a way to show love to people who could harm you or people in community. But, you would never trust them with your bank account or passwords or that kind of information.
ALANA: That’s a perfect example. If someone is unintentionally causing us harm. We can do our best to let them know it and to forgive them, so everyone can move on from it. This reminds me of a time I was at a homecoming game while I was in high school. Let me give you some context a little. Let’s just pretend in this story that I’m going to share that the people in the stands around me represent the people I love most and the individual who will be standing and blocking our view will represent someone who is unintentionally causing us harm. I know it’s a bit of a stretch but I feel like this story illustrates the point of how we can confront those who are causing harm to our loved ones, unintentionally, and how we can still love them. So as I mentioned, this happened in the middle of my high school homecoming game. It was my senior year, and the stands were packed as we cheered on the castle high school night football team. We were sitting in the second row of the raised bleachers and we had a great view of the game, when all of a sudden, a young man who had just come back from the concession stand, instead of making his way back to this he decides to stop right in front of us, and stand there to continue watching the game. In turn, blocking our once perfect view. As you can imagine the crowd around me started to get frustrated. They started yelling at him to move and a few people even throw things at him. And I’m not really sure if he was just oblivious to the fact that everyone was upset with him, because it was a homecoming football game and people were yelling and cheering anyways. But he didn’t move. And so, I braved myself and stood up because I really wanted to watch the game and I went up to him and I basically said I’m not sure if you know, but you’re blocking the view a little do you mind sitting down so we can watch the game. By giving him the benefit of the doubt that he didn’t realize he was causing any harm I was able to let him know without belittling him. And in turn, he apologized and we were all able to enjoy the rest of the game.
SIONE: I feel, this my belief at least, that most of humanity, if there is harm it’s unintentional. I think that because of just differences in culture differences in communication or lack thereof, and people may think otherwise because maybe they watch the news and all you see is like intentional harm, but I I believe the majority of humanity, if there is harm it’s mostly unintentional
ALANA: yeah and once they realize it they change. Yeah. So, back to the example of unintentional harm that we just discussed, but if they are intentionally causing harm. I think it’s even tougher. While most people don’t want to intentionally cause harm to others. There are some who unfortunately do. In these cases, it probably would be the smartest to just love them from a distance. Set boundaries and have precaution set in place and be aware.
SIONE: Yes sometimes the courts actually help you with that too.
ALANA: And I think especially if you’re someone with high integrity I’ve found that it is sometimes hard for you to imagine that anyone would have bad intentions in the first place. And so it leads people who are overly trusting to be taken advantage of. And I just reiterate, just be aware.
SIONE: Just as much as intentional harm is a choice, love is also a choice. And you can choose to what degree you want to increase that loan or show that love. And I believe that if you choose to increase that love, you will be given opportunities, or it may be harder to actually love, so that you can increase your ability to love others as well as yourself.
ALANA: Did you have like a specific example you’re thinking of.
SIONE: Well, I mean, anytime I pray and ask for help to make me, or to help me become a more loving person. I am blessed with good health, to go to work at detention every time, and I get tested a lot. So that’s personal experience on a day to day basis. That leads us to the next question of how do we better love ourselves, and those closest to us?
ALANA: You know as I thought about the different kinds of love and the different ways that some people even define the same kinds of love I couldn’t help but think about how sometimes, even when someone says or does something out of love the message gets lost in translation. Sometimes love is doing and making the difficult decisions that don’t always feel so great in the moment. You know the ones that will prevent future harm or discomfort.
SIONE: Yeah, you know for you parents who might be listening. Anytime you have to take your child to the doctor’s, or they have to get a shot some immunization shot. Not fun for the child. Physical hurt with a shot, unless your kids a champ. And, but, you know, as a parent, you’re doing that for their protection, so they can be protected. Another example, a different example might be of a spouse who works a lot of overtime to make ends meet to provide for their family. But the family might actually want that person home more. In fact, if you want a good read about love and how people may perceive love differently, read the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, awesome book.
ALANA: Very good book. When we can recognize one another’s love languages, it is definitely easier to communicate that love and we don’t want our efforts and acts of love to end up lost in translation do we?
SIONE: Not at all.
ALANA: In Sione and my relationship with each other we value time spent together and acts of service most. We’d much rather receive love in that way over physical gifts or grand gestures. And it reminds me of when the Sione actually first said I love you to me. And my response was, I know.
SIONE: What every guy wants to hear.
ALANA: It’s not the most obvious choice of words, when someone tells you that they love you but I went on to say that I knew he loved me, because of the way he treated me. And of course I did let him know that I loved him too. So understanding how one another feels the most loved also allows us to get the most out of our resources. And I don’t know if that’s a weird way to look at it but let’s say Sione wanted to do something to go out of his way to say and express his love for me. I’ll just ask you, what would you do if someone suggested to you that you buy me a piece of fancy jewelry to show that love?
SIONE: Naturally, I will probably giggle, but I would probably try not to giggle because that might show some disrespect. But I’d probably say something like you know that’s a great gift for some people, but I know my wife that’s not her love language, and the money I would spend on this gift she’d probably want to spend it together doing something else thinks of activity,
ALANA: Which is exactly right you know that the same amount of money spent on that jewelry, those that resource money would be better spent on an activity or a date or something where we’re working together to get the message of I love you, across more clearly.
SIONE: So understanding how we and others feel the most loved can help us to have a better idea as to how to communicate those feelings.
ALANA: Yeah. And while we’re on the topic of feelings. Haha, I don’t know why I want to say feeeeeelings. But anyways, sorry, got distracted. While we’re on the topic of feelings I read a great quote the other day from Spencer w Kimball. He was referring to the less popular commandments and counsel given by prophets of God, he said quote, those prophets, I have known are the most loving of men. It is because of their love and integrity that they cannot modify the Lord’s message merely to make people feel comfortable. There are two kind to be so cruel. End quote. This teaches me that sometimes the most loving thing to do is to say what needs to be said, even if it doesn’t feel good for the person hearing it at the time. You do this in order to protect them from having to go through experiences that will hurt them or cause them to feel much worse in the future. And in addition, I’d also add that it is also then letting them choose for themselves what they’ll do with that information so don’t force them to just do whatever it is that you’re trying to express, because I don’t think forcing something onto someone is ever a form of love.
SIONE: Yeah, it’s more manipulation, or definitely considered control
ALANA: And control is more selfish than selfless and love in its purest form seem to be more selfless in nature.
SIONE: I think of a little story heard, where a boy asks his father to make him lunch and so the dad goes into the kitchen and makes some food. He comes out a little bit later, puts out a plate on the table with steak and potatoes. And then the son goes and starts to grab the plate and says, Ah, Dad your best. You love me so much. The Father, you know, stops to plate for moving, brings out another plate with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and replies. Sorry, son. I don’t love you, that much.
ALANA: You know I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but I’d be pretty bummed if I was that son.
SIONE: So the point of that story is just that I think everyone has a different degree of love. We may not yet be at a place where we can love people, let alone love people who harm our loved ones. In fact, we may want revenge. And then there are those people who can forgive a drunk driver who has killed their family members in a car accident. And that seems like a pretty wide spectrum as far as being able to show love to others who hurt our loved ones. And wherever we find ourselves on that spectrum, that’s just where we are. It just is. What are your thoughts on that.
ALANA: So you know that saying, to love others as we love ourselves and treating others the way we feel they’d want to be treated?
SIONE: I hear that a lot.
ALANA: Someone recently said, you know, there’s a commandment that says we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, but what if I don’t love myself? When I heard that I almost felt like everything around me stopped for a moment, because I know there are so many people who struggle with this very thinking. When we learn to love ourselves in a healthier way it will be easier for us to extend grace and love onto others. I’m grateful that the negative stigma around seeking therapy and getting professional help is slowly being torn down. When we get help with these things I believe it helps us advance to a more selfless love on that spectrum. And I’m no professional on this topic but here are five things that I have done to foster a healthy self image and self love for myself. The first one is I work on my relationship with Heavenly Father. I see myself as his daughter, and the more I’ve strengthen that relationship, the more I’ve been able to see how and why he loves me. It’s also just helped me magnify the best qualities within myself and when you’re becoming better it’s easier to love yourself. The next number two is I pay attention to how things are affecting my feelings when it comes to lyrics in music, I will read, and look up the lyrics for any song before I allow it on my playlist. When it comes to a show I’m watching mindlessly or an activity I’m engaging in, if it is draining my spirit and enthusiasm and joy than I know to stay away from it. And I try to be really aware of the intentions and messages that are being sent in the media or entertainment that I choose to consume.
SIONE: Jim Rohn said, stand guard at the doorway of your mind.
ALANA: The third thing I do is to do things that cause me to grow. So when we do things outside of our comfort zone, even if we don’t do it perfectly we are teaching ourselves that we are capable of doing hard things and it all, it’s always a confidence booster for me to recognize that I’m progressing, or growing into my best self. And we’ve mentioned it in a previous episode, but, write down and keep track of these growth and progress experiences, because they’re always great to go back and read over. Number four serve someone put your focus into doing something for someone else. So in college during finals week I was feeling pretty down on myself and my ability to grasp things that I knew I was going to be tested on. I felt like I was going to fail. So the only thing that helped me break out of this pattern of beating myself up, was when my friend suggested that we go and spread some cheer and do some service for those around us. And so we went and we bought a bunch of candy and some blank cards, and we wrote, and left “Good luck on your finals” notes and treats in a bunch of the dorm mailboxes. And number five. This one is easier said than done, stop caring about what other people think. Practice placing more value in the opinion you have of yourself then in the opinions that others have of you. Worrying about the opinions of others is placing more confidence in their opinions than your own.
SIONE: I heard this quote, because I do personal finances. And it said, I used to value the opinions of others. And then I tried to pay my bills with their opinions, and it didn’t work so I stopped paying attention to their opinions.
ALANA: Do you have any examples, yourself, of ways that you practice loving yourself
SIONE: Yeah, actually, and not that looks or everything. But I do believe in the mantra, which I heard from my good friend, a police officer in Hawaii. He said, look good, feel good, do good. This was after he bought himself some new shoes. And it doesn’t hurt you know to shine your shoes from time to time or iron your shirt or do your hair a little or whatever it is to make you feel a little better, because you are showing that you, you know, love yourself enough to take a little extra care for yourself. Dionne Warwick,
ALANA: Dionne Warwick, as I mentioned in the beginning she said, what the world needs now is love sweet love, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. And when we look at all the calamity and contention that we see in the news and sometimes in our own social media feeds, I am in 100% agreement with those lyrics. So, what do you think we can do to put more love out into the world. And when I say that I’m referring to love that would make it a better place for everyone.
SIONE: So I’m not exactly sure if this is actually putting love into the world but when I served as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. My mission president once said, if you approach, everyone, as if something very tragic or traumatic has happened in her life. It will be easier to treat them with kindness. And I believe kindness is a form of love and so if you approach people that way and you treat people with kindness, I guess that’s a way of putting out more love in the world.
ALANA: And as you did that did it become more of a habit?
SIONE: It, it did. You have to you have to really practice it and think about that when you’re meeting with people, especially if, when you first meet with them they’re maybe unintentionally trying to harm you.
ALANA: So just practice being kind and
SIONE: Be nice.
ALANA: One of my favorite movies is pay it forward starring Kevin Spacey and Haley Joel Osment. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a 12 year old boy who has given an assignment in social studies to think of an idea that they think could change the world for the better and to put it in action. His idea is to do a good deed for three people and to have those people pay it forward by doing a good deed for three people as well. Over a short period of time this simple assignment ends up spreading and affecting individuals across the nation. I believe we each have the same kind of potential when we put good and love out into the world, but I also believe we have the same potential when it comes to negativity. So choose to put out kindness, not negativity. We may never know how far reaching our simple acts of kindness can have in creating an environment for love to flourish within ourselves and others.
SHOW OUTRO: Life can be an amazing teacher, before paying attention, or the opportunities for learning and growth are infinite just like each of our potentials. But its potential is only as powerful as its application. So here’s one last thing before we go.
SIONE: A few takeaways, and ideas for application, give people the benefit of the doubt.
ALANA: Forgive and be aware of the intentions of others
SIONE: Learn about how people give and receive low and then use that knowledge to communicate your love more clearly.
ALANA: Develop a healthy relationship with yourself and practice habits of self love
SIONE: Be kind,
ALANA: Think of ways in which you could put more love out there that would make the world a better place, then go and do it.
SIONE: Did you know that these life lessons were inspired by our video series, counting life lessons?
ALANA: To watch the series and get a sneak peek at next week’s life lesson, visit sioneandalana.com, and sign up to become an insider to be notified every time we post new episodes. Who knows what lessons this week’s adventures will teach us. Until next time.
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