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    The gift of love

    As I sat here trying to decide what I wanted my first blog post to be about in order to give an understanding of what I want this page to be for all of you amazing readers I, of course, had to choose love. I have had an inner battle with what my faith looks like, what I believe to be true about myself and others, who I wanted to be as a person, and searching for the mantra of my future. The word that always came back up over and over again was love.

    The world and society have a lot to say about what other people should and should not be doing. There is so much judgment of others going on in our world without taking the time to get to know the person that is being judged. Words of hate are thrown around like candy on Halloween and the experience is not at all fun. People are suffering from depression as a result of all the hate in this world. People are dying by suicide because they do not feel a sense of belonging in this world. People are intolerant of others and we are all suffering for it. People want to feel loved. They want to feel like they belong.

    This quote by Brené Brown says exactly what I am trying to voice. “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we do not function as we were meant to. We break. Fall apart. We numb. We Ache. We hurt others. We get sick.” “You are imperfect, You are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”

    I call out to each and every one of you to show love and expect love! Love those who are different from us. Love those who are hard to love. Remember when you say words of hate the negative impact could spiral out of control. Remember to love no matter what. Love the woman who decided to have an abortion. Love the person who decided to have gender affirmation surgery instead of living in a body they hated. Love people of different races, ethnicities, and countries. Celebrate different cultures. Cheer on the man or woman who carries more or less weight on their body than you do. Love the people who are less or more fortunate than you. Love the police officer who does their job to keep you safe. Love the individual who chooses love, no matter their choice of partner. Celebrate each other. Forgive each other. Love each other!

    Side note: This is not suggesting we should put ourselves in dangerous situations in order to love others. Boundaries are an important part of love. Keeping yourself safe is an important part of loving yourself.

    Ashley Hubbard, MS, NCC, Licensed Professional Counselor