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January 11, 2024

“If you want love then the love has gotta come from you.”

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This positivity quote comes from an unlikely source. One of the most brilliant entertainers I’ve ever come across is a guy named Bo Burnham. He’s a musical comedian who has bits that are all over the place, from crude and raunchy, to brain-twistingly clever, to deeply insightful.

In one of his songs he takes the perspective of how God relates with mankind. It’s got a lot of bad language and at times has an insensitive candor to it, but the final line of it really makes you think. So let’s focus on that - Bo says “If you want love then the love has gotta come from you.’

Isn’t that true? That fastest way to get anything is to give it away. You want respect? Give respect. You want friendship? Give friendship. You want to be more self-confident? Make someone else feel self-confident. You want love? Give love.

The irony of this line has another story. Bo Burnham took 5 years off from performing because he was getting panic attacks on stage. I imagine the pressure to perform and being constantly judged by others impacted his own sense of self-love. 

That just goes to show you that no matter what’s happening externally in your life, all the achievements, accolades, and success, our happiness and self-worth is an inner game. It’s easy to give and receive love when things are going great, but what about when things are not so great?

So to use Bo’s words, “the love has gotta come from you.” What does that mean? In my opinion, it’s taking an extra moment to put more thought and care into everything we do. It’s being more patient with yourself and others. It’s intentionally choosing to see the hope, possibility, and gratitude in life’s circumstances.

Trust me, I don’t know everything about love and I’m learning more about it every day. But what I’m finding is that “love” is a verb. There are ways that you act that are more loving than others, and the more we incorporate that into our lives, the more love will be returned to us.

Earlier in this same song, Bo has one other line that I’m not going to elaborate on, and I just want to leave you with. He says “Maybe life on Earth could be Heaven. Doesn’t just the thought of it make it worth a try?”

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