Obama loves you back


A few weeks ago on Twitter, I followed a link to the Obama Loves You Back website and watched the numerous videos of President Obama giving speeches, interrupted by fans screaming, “WE LOVE YOUUUU!” Each time Obama responded, “I love you back!” without pause. There are maybe 20 videos that stream one after another and then it ends; it’s a fun website in its simplicity.

The first time I watched the President say “I love you back,” I was aghast. How could he love those people if he didn’t even know them? That’s a hefty thing to say — you don’t just go around saying “I love you” to any Joe Schmoe.

Then my reaction turned to skepticism. It’s a political gimmick, I thought — a smart one to keep the crowds enamored with this charismatic young president. Well played, Mr. Obama, but I see right through you.

Then I watched more and more videos, all of them on the site with Obama saying, “I love you” as though it’s the easiest and most natural thing in the world. “I love you back, thank you. I love you back but listen to me for a minute because this is important. I love YOU back.”

Then it hit me like a sea breeze in November: What if it was real? What if Mr. Obama goes through life practicing love towards everyone, and that’s why he can say “I love you back!” without a moment’s hesitation to people he doesn’t know?

I’m not gonna lie, I’m boggled. I’ve been planning a post about generosity for the past few months, chewing it over in my head; this encompasses it better. Obama loves you back because Obama walks around with his heart full of lurve.

I’ll be the first to admit that it sounds twee. And yet I’ve been doing this too! Not all the time because I am not trying to get elected, and I haven’t been calling it love. But we moved to a new apartment in a new state last year, with a new housemate and new neighbors who moved in around the same time as us. I made a conscious effort to practice generosity, to open my heart and care for these people as though they are family. Then they became family.  All of them.

I don’t mean to pat my own back here, but maybe you’ll see what I mean if I tell you that growing up, whenever I let someone borrow something, I begrudged them whatever item it was. Go ahead and picture me, the little grump with a sullen face and mussed up hair, worrying about lending my Babysitter’s Club books or my favorite pencil.

I had to make myself change this behavior over the last six months as I loaned clothes, books, cleaning supplies, cooking supplies, my car, my bike, my ear, my time. At first I felt twinges of nervousness (What if they damage my stuff? When do I expect in return?) but after a while it become second nature as we shared items back and forth, and I received more generously than I gave. This was unexpected, but it allows me to care very little about what I’m owed. No one owes me anything because the comfort and friendship I get more than repays the inconvenience of not possessing my sauerkraut jar for a few days.

This progressed to inviting these near strangers to share in our dog walks/movie nights/board game nights/holiday dinners — usually impromptu, (kind of like the time Mr. Savvy and I went hiking with strangers for five hours and came out friends). I would read about these types of situations on blogs by travelers, like Tara and Tyler from Going Slowly, or on the other side of the coin, Renee and Damien from FIMBY. Weary wanderers meet loving, generous strangers who open their homes and larders. How could this happen? I used to think. Now I know: It’s much easier to embrace the world with its uncertainties than it is to hold tight onto fear and selfishness all the time.

Maybe Obama’s not sincere about loving us back, but he’s sure as shooting setting a good example.  At any rate, it’s hard to say something like that over and over without believing it.  Fake it ’til you make it!  Who says wearing your heart on your sleeve is a bad thing?


©2012 at Simple Savvy, the simple living blog where this is a mushy gushy blog and I like it.

9 responses

  1. I think generosity is something that is slowly disintegrating from society. It’s a sad thing. I am glad you are doing something wonderful and instilling a bit more love and kindness back in. It’s so nice to know that somewhere out in the world, there is a sweet gal who is sharing with those in whom she comes in contact with. Bless your dear heart!!

  2. Thank you for this post! I’ve enjoyed your blog immensely, and just finished watching
    Tom Shadyac’s documentary I AM. If you have not seen it, it will fit with your new thought
    processes quite nicely. We are all connected and are hard wired to work cooperatively
    with each other no matter our differences or preferences. Some of us just don’t know it yet! All the best to you, and keep writing for us! We love you back (even though we
    don’t really know you). 😉

  3. I believe Obama really does love everyone. I believe it’s part of his faith.

  4. Pingback: Case in point « Simple Savvy

  5. I think this might be my favorite blog post of your so far. There’s so much about generosity and love that makes everyone feel good…whenever I live with generosity and love in mind, everything feels better…even the hard stuff. You might be interested in reading about non-duality – it’s a very buddhist way of thought, but it’s really interesting, and it’s all over what you’re talking about in this post. It’s pretty neat – look it up if you want!