I was feeling particularly depressive one day while driving home through our city’s college campus. I battle with depression and anxiety, and it can be challenging to find relief outside of medication. One thing that I’m always trying to be aware of is when I’m starting to think the world seems dark, when everything sparks a negative reaction in me and people seem meaner. When I catch myself going there I know that it’s the depression shrouding my happiness, not just something inherently miserable in me, and then I can actively do something about it. I was feeling the gloominess that day so I thought to myself, what can I do to work in opposition to these draining thoughts?
I decided that instead of being incredibly unnerved by college students darting out into the road and collecting all the frowns as signs of worldly despair, I would pass love along to each person that I passed. As I drove down my regular route, I looked each person in the face and said the word “love” for them, just spreading love to all the different personalities and unique beings that I passed. That feeling of love just sort of spread beyond me, beyond these college students, beyond the campus. I started thinking about how little we actually love those outside of our own families and inner circles. I thought about how everyone is worthy of love, flaws and all. No matter the kinds of trouble my own kids have or will get into, that doesn’t break any piece of my love away, and everyone deserves that type of irrevocable love.
By the time I emerged on the other side of the campus I felt so incredibly elevated. It wasn’t just healing for my depression; it was also a meaningful practice in sending more love out into the world that made me feel better. There is too little of it to be felt so I appreciate when it’s actively given, by me or anyone else. And it’s amazing how radiating love can make the environment around us seem more congenial. I would recommend this sweet little practice anytime you’re feeling melancholy or affected by someone else’s negativity. Take a walk around the office, through a store or inside any public building. Look each person in the eye and emanate love for them. If you happen to actually catch an eye, be sure to shoot a smile along with your love so they might actually catch a glimpse of it. Be the person that passes along love, just love. And be sure to take a moment to notice how effective that love-giving is for healing yourself and your perception of the world. Simple, lovely, therapeutic.