It’s strange to think that a little over 5 years ago, I’d never heard or spoken the words “Love is Louder”. Over the last 5 years, I’ve spoken them and written them on my hand more times than I can count. It is one of the greatest gifts that I’ve received in my career…and in my life. But even though I hadn’t yet articulated those words until 2010, the concept behind them had been a part of my life for much longer. Trying to override the negative voices in my own head and the world around me had been an ongoing struggle. I think most of us have a hard time really learning to believe the good things about ourselves and appreciate the amazing people, things and opportunities we have in our lives instead of focusing on all the stuff we haven’t done or don’t have.
"Instead of lining people up by their problems – being bullied, body image, depression, etc – we wanted to bring people together around the solutions that can help us all feel better, be more connected and support each other."
I started the Love is Louder movement with The Jed Foundation in 2010 to support anyone feeling misunderstood, mistreated or alone. Instead of lining people up by their problems – being bullied, body image, depression, etc – we wanted to bring people together around the solutions that can help us all feel better, be more connected and support each other. Thousands of individuals, campuses and communities are using Love is Louder programs, events and clubs. It’s their ideas, passion and activism that inspire us and help grow the movement.
So what have I learned through this journey? I’ve learned so many things, but the simplest and most powerful is just that there are little things we can do every day to make love and support louder in our lives and for the people around us. Here are some things I incorporate into my own life that might work for you as well:
MAKING TIME FOR GRATITUDE.
Taking a few moments every day to focus on people, opportunities and things we appreciate helps improve our outlook and keep us from getting bogged down by the tough stuff we deal with in our lives.
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS.
Sometimes the best way to make ourselves feel better and more connected, is to reach out and help someone else. Research actually shows that using our skills, talents or resources to help other people also improves our moods and feelings of connection. If I’m feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, I’ll stop and think “Who needs a quick pick me up?” and then send that person a nice note or compliment.
Holding all of our thoughts and feelings inside can make us feel alone and uninspired. Whether it’s through sharing your story, writing, music or another form of expression, it’s important for us to reach out, express how we’re feeling and learn more about other people’s lives. There are days where I just need to grab my art supplies or journal and head to the beach and just let it all out.
Work, school, family, relationships, charity events — there are a lot of things we balance in our lives. A key part of really embracing and enjoying life is to make sure we are finding balance and taking care of her own physical and emotional health while we try to balance all the obligations that fill our days. Sometimes we have to say “no” or scale back to make sure there is enough time for rest, fun and catching up with our friends and family.
Being grateful, giving back, getting artsy and trying to maintain balance – that’s the way I work to make love of myself, others and my life louder. We hope you’ll share with us what works for you. You can join the movement at www.loveislouder.com. Oh, and speaking of fashion, don’t forget to get your Love is Louder shirts and gear at www.loveislouder.com/store.