The School of Thinking and Feeling

The Class of Love

2011-12

 

Sharing Love...

    1.)The first random act of kindness I practiced felt pretty insignificant to me in the beginning. In front of my dorm are always many bikes and I noticed one that was lying in the ground but that was still locked to a pile. As I picked it up I saw that the brake in the front was not in the fitting anymore. So I just fixed it. After I did that I noticed all week long bikes that were lying on the ground at the university or in front of my house, so I picked them all up.

2.)I have never seen an owner of the bikes and I guess they never knew that their bike was lying on the ground and picked up by me, but now that I have started doing it I notice bikes on the ground more often and I think I will continue to pick them up.

3.)The second thing I did was back home while I visited my family. In the afternoon I wanted to drive into the city to have a coffee with a friend of mine. So I took my parent´s car. On my way into the city I say a young woman standing at a bus station in a village that I had to pass. I stopped and asked her whether I could give her a ride. First she was a bit surprised but then she seemed to be very happy and thanked me several times. Even though it was only ten minutes which she drove with me, she could save lots of time and a bit of money by not having to catch the bus.

4.)When I was at the grocery store to buy some food, an older lady was just pushing her trolley to her car when I was exiting the store. I went to her car and asked her if I could help her unpacking the trolley. She looked at me in surprise but then smiled at me thankfully. So I helped her and brought the trolley back. While I was helping her, we talked and I actually think that she was more happy about me talking to her than about me helping her. We talked for nearly half an hour and after that she smiled at me gratefully and thanked me for my time and my help.
All the time I had to think about my own grandma and how she would have reacted. I bet she would have been really happy as well.

5.)That morning I made some cookies and put them on a plate in the staircase of my dorm next to a sign saying: “help yourself”. When I came back from uni I saw that nearly half of the cookies were actually gone. When I talked to my flatmate I pretended to be just as confused and surprised as she was and she told me that she was first afraid that the cookies might contain pot or something like that because she had heard about stories where people drugged other people with food. But she also told me that she could not resist and that they tasted delicious. We even ran downstairs again to grab a couple more.

6.)At about five o´clock the plate was empty and I sneaked the plate back into our flat. Someone even wrote “thanks” on the paper that I had put next to the cookies.

7.)I went to Hamburg and because I had to get around in Hamburg with the metro I had to buy a ticket. So I took a day ticket because I had to take the metro many times. In the afternoon when I wanted to return to Lüneburg I saw a young man standing at the ticket machine and I asked him whether he needed a ticket just for Hamburg. As he affirmed, I gave him my ticket. First he looked at me in surprise but then he smiled at me and thanked me before I went to my train.

8.)In the city I wanted to get a coffee at a bakery. When I entered the bakery I saw a man sitting outside in the cold bagging. So I bought two coffees in the bakery and as I passed the beggar I handed him the coffee. He held the hot drink with both hands as if he needed all the warmth from that cup. With a toothless smile he thanked me and I kept on walking but I couldn't stop thinking of him and his destiny.

9.)Together with some friends I went to the DOM in Hamburg because we all love roller coasters and the feeling at an amusement park. We were just standing in line for one roller coaster as I heard a mother arguing with her kids. She said that they could not get into that roller coaster because the line was just too long and they would miss their train if there would wait. The kids nearly started crying because obviously that was their favorite roller coaster. So I just told her that she can get in front of us in the line so that her kids could still enjoy the ride. The lady looked at me a bit ashamed and thanked me quickly. Her kids started giggling in excitement the moment they could enter the roller coaster. When they came out and hurried towards the exit the mother smiled at me and the kids waved at us with so much joy in their face that it was absolutely worth it waiting for those ten minutes.






Saturday the 5th of November

As I am in the process of learning to love myself, I thought it would be a good idea to start with an act of random kindness to myself, so this morning I stood up and told myself that I am a beautiful person physically and mentally. The problem was that though I smiled whilst saying, I didn’t believe myself. So in the end I figured I had to come up with something else. In class our Kate said that giving love to others makes it easier for us  to love in general. So I came up with the idea to give love to others in order to learn how to love myself. I know I am going to need years to achieve that goal, but at least I think this Love journal is a good start. So later after class I went downtown to get some grocery shopping done and on my way there I smiled at every single person I crossed. Some looked at me weirdly but most of them smiled back automatically and it seemed some of them didn’t even notice they did.

In return smiling at people made me feel “warm”. It was like a warm feeling growing inside me and in some weird way warming me. In return I somehow felt appreciated by the people I smiled at and that made me feel really good. So I decided to smile more and hopefully it’s going to make a happier person out of me.

Sunday the 6th of November 2011

Today I had class from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. so I thought most of my “classmates” won’t be really motivated and happy to have class on a Sunday. Therefore I decided to perform a random act of kindness to them in order to motivate them. Like this is a difficult task I had to think about how to do it for about an hour. Finally I decided that I wanted to motivate them secretly without them knowing that it was me.

I ended up writing little quotes, that I made up, like “Through the foggy morning the light of inspiration shines bright” or “Let your dreams shine”, and hid them in the room. That was the part of my plan that didn’t work out too well, because only five of my classmates actually found the quotes. But those five had a smile on their face almost the whole day long and that made me feel really good. It’s hard to describe the feeling, but I would say I kind of felt warmer inside and I smiled almost the whole day, too.

Monday the 7th of November 2011

Today I came up with a plan how to perform a random act of kindness quite easily. I split up my plan in two half’s and decided to leave little quotes in my apartment for myself to find after coming back from university class and I decided to hide little quotes in my friends purses.

The first part was quite easy and I have to admit even though I knew I wrote the notes, they still made me feel good and some kind of appreciated.

I don’t know yet how the second part worked out, because I haven’t talked to my friends yet, but I’m write that in my journal tomorrow.

Tuesday the 8th of November 2011

During a lecture a friend of mine was really unmotivated and sad, because last night she had a serious argument with her boyfriend. In order to make her happy I sketched a little girl smiling  and saying : “No matter what, the sun will always shine” and gave it to her. She actually nearly started crying and I first felt really guilty for making her even more sad, but then she told me  her watching my sketch  made her feel relieved and even happy, so happy that it made her almost cry and that she now knows she has to talk to her boyfriend and figure things out for the good and for the bad, so she isn’t so stressed out about it anymore.

This act of kindness made me feel really weird, because I know I helped a friend, but it also reminded me of what went wrong in my former relationships so in a way I was glad I could help her but then I felt sad because of the mistakes I made.

The second part of my Monday act of kindness came out it a very funny way, because when I asked my friends they told me that they were first scared like I wrote stuff like : “You are a wonderful person” or “You have wonderful eyes”( to a friend who doesn’t like her eyes). They felt kind of stalked by someone because they didn’t know who left the notes, but when I told them it was me , they all started to smile and thanked me and I figured I felt happy because I made my friends happy.

In the end I think leaving little notes to people isn’t the best way, because people might feel scared or stalked, so I think I should come up with another way to perform random acts of kindness.

Wednesday the 9th of November 2011

Today I left a flower on every doormat in my house so that everybody I’m sharing this house with gets one. I chose red tulips, because it’s one of my favourite flowers, and I have to say it wasn’t an easy task to get some, but after calling every flower shop in town, I finally found some.

So I left one flower on every doormat (also one on my own so people won’t figure that it was me leaving flowers on their doormats. When I came back from university all flowers where gone and I even checked the organic trash to see if somebody dumped their flower, but nobody did. Later I could catch up with the old lady that lives in my house, too and asked her about the flower. She said she was a bit confused at first, but then she felt appreciated and she said she simply couldn’t stop smiling. The only thing I couldn’t stop thinking was : “Wow, this is a really good way to show love”.

Thursday the 10th of November 2011

Last night I still kept thinking about the “flower act”, so I didn’t really came up for an idea for today. But I figured the world is full of possibilities to perform random acts of kindness so I just went out without a specific plan.

So I started to perform little acts of love, like I opened doors for people, picked up their stuff when someone dropped something, I randomly hugged a friend of mine because I kind of felt like it and she looked she needed it. Later in the afternoon I saw a girl sitting outside the library and looking really really miserable so I asked her if everything was okay. She was confused and told me that she was fine (even though I could tell she wasn’t), but I somehow felt like she appreciated the thought that someone even a stranger (in this case me) simple cared.

In the end of the day I figured it’s not always about the big things, it’s small what changes the world.

Friday the 11th of November

Today (11.11.2011) at 11:11 a.m. carnival started, a celebration of love and happiness, but I felt exhausted, burned out and I couldn’t come up with anything I could perform to show love to others.

I went to my parent’s home for the weekend and when I finally saw my parents at the train station and when I finally got home I was so happy I simply hugged my parents and when my cat came up to me I just had to cuddle it. It felt so good to give love to people I spent most of my life with and I love so much.

Saturday the 12th of November 2011

I had an awesome day today. My parents took me downtown Hamburg for some shopping it was a very long but happy day and I performed an act of love I’ve never thought of before.

We went to Schanzenstraße for lunch, it’s a very cool place I really enjoy being at, but also there are a lot of homeless people around, what makes me kind of sad and I feel guilty each time I see them, because I live a good life compared to their life style (in my opinion, because I don’t have to worry about food and a place to sleep).

Today I saw an old lady sitting all alone on a bench asking people for money. I intuitively went into a grocery shop and bought some strawberries (my favourite fruit) and gave them to her. First she was surprised but then she was really thankful. After that I bought some more strawberries and just handed them to people that I thought looked like they really needed one.

My parents told me afterwards that they were very proud of their daughter and that I was very brave showing my ability of loving in this special way to other people.

The experiment at all showed me to important things: I do have to learn how to love my self and giving love to others does help, though I know I have a long way to go. And second when I’m down helping others or showing love to people makes me a happier person




Monday:

My first random Act of kindness was in a public bus. To get to the university I had to take the bus. Like every time, the bus was full with students, but I found a seat to sit. At “Am Sande”, in the City of Lüneburg, some people came in the bus, with them also an old woman. Instead of stay at my seat I got up and left my seat to the woman. She was really happy, and was glad to have seat. I went to the middle of the bus. At my stop I left the bus with a very good feeling.

Tuesday

Today I went to the city to buy a present for a good friend of mine. We went through a big street with many shops. In front of one shop sat a man, singing and playing something like a music box. I took a two euro piece out of my wallet, went to the man and put it in his hat. There were only cent pieces in there, maybe one or two one euro pieces. The man smiled at me, it was a great feeling, giving him something. As we went back to our bikes to get home, I still was thinking about the man, and what he might buy for the money, but no matter what, I was happy to know some of the money came from me.

Wednesday

The third day, the third random act of kindness. We drove the bike to the university, talking, talking, talking. And as we went by another student, the student was sneezing and I said bless-you. The student said thank you, and as fast the situation came, as fast it was over. But I left the situation with a good feeling. I think to meet people with respect, is also a random act of kindness.

Thursday

I wasn´t sure what to do a few days ago. But then I had a great Idea. I could sent my mom flowers, and she don´t know from who they are. I thought I will be home anyway this weekend, so I can see what she looks like when she get the flowers from “some secret lover”. On Saturday, after breakfast the doorbell rang. I was a little nervous, I wasn't sure if I might say something. My dad opened the door and was wandering too. As she opened the little note, she was smiling. She asked us if we had something to do with that, but we were both (my dad and I)shaking our heads. At the end of the day the flowers were on our kitchen table and I was feeling very good.

Friday

Before I went home to Oldenburg, I had a reading in the university. As I went to through the door, I held it open for some other people. The row doesn´t really ended, so I stood there for some time opining the door for everybody coming.

Saturday

Today I went to the store and I bought some chocolate from “Merci”. I thought that could be a good thing to do on a nice Saturday. I was walking through the city of Oldenburg, because I met a friend in a great café. I told her about my duty this week, and what I had planned for today. After we finished our hot chocolate we walked along a big street. I saw a group of girls, chatting about something funny (I guessed that because there were laughing). In that moment I decided to give them the “Merci”, because there were looking nice and happy. I went over to them (a little excited) and gave it to them. There were a little bit confused, and there don´t know what to say.I went back to my friend, because I don´t wanted that they say anything. We walked away, and as I looked back there were still laughing and giggling.

Saturday II

After we were in the city, I had to work in the evening. It is a big store were business people buy their stuff for their own stores. I know that it is part of my job to be nice and friendly to the customers, but sometimes I can do something especially nice. We have some small “check out´s” (we scan the articles from the customers, there pay somewhere else) were customers come with one shopping cart, and we have two big “check out´s” were customers can come to if they have two or more shopping carts.

Today I worked at one of the bigger check out´s. Then there came a man, with three big shopping carts and after I finished his stuff, he went to the cash point to pay. I thought about being kind, and came to the end I will help the man. After he was back, I asked if I could help him, he was very happy about it. He took two of the carts, I took one and we brought them to his car outside. He was glad to have this help, so he doesn´t walk back and force again. As I went back in the market I was happy to helped that man.




I did my first random act of kindness last Wednesday. I bought a sandwich at a bakery and gave it to a hobo when he was sleeping.

  1. -On Tuesday I was in the cinema and bought Popcorn and placed it on the seat next to mine and claimed that it had been there before I came. This was quite a stupid idea because nobody eats things which they found on their seats. So I ended up eating the Popcorn which I bought for someone else.

  2. -- On Friday I went to the church in my home village and donated some money for a child project in Africa even though I am not religious at all.

  3. -- On Sunday I accompanied a friend of mine who is very dedicated at the church to a youth project and helped him there although I am not religious like I already mentioned.



Wednesday

09.11.11

I bought two pieces of cake for charity.

Thursday

10.11.11

A friend and me helped a woman in the city buying stamps from a machine.

Friday

11.11.11

I smiled to a guy in the bus.

Saturday

12.11.11

In the supermarket a friend and me led the man behind us pass us and pay first because he wanted to buy less things.

Sunday

13.11.11

I gave a massage to my roommate.

Monday

14.11.11

I told my dance partner that he was a good dancer.

Tuesday

15.11.11

I gave my the rest on my milk to my neighbour.


Day 1:

I went together with my friend to Ikea. He wanted to get the car nearer to the entrance so I waited for him with all my packages. While waiting I saw an older lady sitting down next to me obviously waiting as well. I was a little annoyed because Ikea was supposed to close in five minutes but I thought of our project. So I said some random sentence to her and suddenly we had a very nice conversation and when my friend and her daughter picked us up, my mood had increased immensely!

Day 2:

On my second day I started a little project which I continued over the whole week. On my way to Lüneburg via subway and train I tried to give everyone who glanced at me a smile. First I felt a little uncomfortable so my smiles were not very persuading I guess. Often the people didn't even notice my smile. But over the days I got better and the following reactions were surprising! I had expected that the people would look confused and surprised (“why is that strange girl smiling at me enthusiastically??”) But no! Nearly every person gave me a shy and little but friendly smile back. I think I will continue that experiment, it is very motivating.

Day 3:

On the third day I cleaned up the apartment I share with two other people. I heard one of them complaining about the chaos in there but he had a lot to do concerning his work so I did them this favour.

Day 4:

When I got off the train in Lüneburg on my fourth day, everyone was waiting because a young mother had difficulties to get her baby buggy out of the train. I helped her with the buggy and her little child. That was not really a planned act of kindness but a matter of course but obviously not for everyone and that day brought me to that shocking realization.

Day 5:

On the fifth day I helped a young woman to carry her bike, which had a flat tire, to the bus stop.

Day 6:

This day I raked the leaves in my neighbour's garden. She is already really old and always moves very slowly. I couldn't imagine how she would spend hours to work in the garden.

Day 7:

On the last day I did an act of kindness to our earth: On my way home I picked all the garbage up which lay on the path. It wasn't a very nice experience but some people do that every day!




Monday:
“Smile to people, you don’t know.” This act of kindness is the idea of an initiative in Wuppertal, where I lived the last year. For being a friendlier city they want each person to smile to three strangers on the street. At first it was very hard to smile to foreign people, who are in a bad temper mostly, but when you start to smile at them, they will, in the majority of cases, smile back. It gives you a very good feeling and you’re happier for the rest of the day.


Tuesday:
I help a mother to get the baby buggy downstairs.


Wednesday:
I try to talk to a few persons, who I already don’t know and never met before in the university. In the course of conversation I give them compliments for their clothes, haircut, etc.


Thursday:
I’ve meet a girl and she asks me for the way to the train station. I explain it to her and she gets her train on time. But she’s got luck, because a few days before I wouldn’t be able to explain it to her.


Friday:
When I went home by train and leave it at Hannover, I helped an old lady to get out of the train with her package. I think it is very hard for old people to travel alone and got nobody to help them with their package.


At night, I went out with some friends, a girl break down in front of me and I catch her up before she fell on the floor. She was very drunk and I buy her water and care for her, till her boyfriend came and bring her home.


Saturday:
I already lay in my bed and was sleeping, when my mobile rings. I got a call from a friend and he wants me to pick him and the other guys up and drive them home, because they got no money left and didn’t know how to come home. So I get up, dressed up and pick them up. I was very tired, but they’re my friends and I want to be always there for them, especially when we only can meet each other on weekends.


Sunday:
A friend of mine is in France for a semester abroad and her grandmother lives in my neighbourhood. I visit her and talk with her, because all her children are spread all over Germany and most of the time she is very alone. I’ve got a very close relationship with this woman, because she is a very, very nice old lady and like a part of my family. It’s is very important for old people to have somebody to talk to and they’ve got so much to narrate.




Day one: I Painted one wall in the room of my flatmate because I my room was already done but hers not.

Day two: I bought my flatmate cigarettes because she had no money left.

Day three: My flatmate and I bought a Hamster. So we saved him from the awful factory farming in the zoo.

Day four: I left my seat at the bus for an old lady.

Day five: I did not do anything that comes close to a Random act of Kindness. But I experienced one by my Flatmate.

Day six: I bought my friend a water at the club because she did not feel well.

Day seven: I cleaned the window of my other flatmate.

Note: What did I learn in the progress?

I learned that it feels nice to hear a true thank you. People often say “thank you” without meaning it. But if you give them a Random Act of Kindness their “thank you” always has an undertone that makes you notice that its true.




When I first heard this assignment, I thought about how hard this will be. So I was kind of scared about this. But I realized something completely different in the process.

I did not start my week of acts of kindness on a specific day, it just happened. I was out for dinner with a friend and the mother at the table next to us spilled her red wine. I automatically reached for the napkins that were on our table and gave them to the father. He seemed very grateful. About 30 minutes later the little girl at that table, she was about 4 or 5 and very interested in me and my friend, whispered something to her dad and went to the bar. She came back with two clean napkins and put them on our table, looked a little uncertain, and sat back down. That was so cute and I really liked her reaction, her act of kindness in reaction to my act of kindness.

This situation started my week of random acts of kindness.


The next day I was shopping. At the store was an elderly woman, who tried to grab something, she couldn't reach. I asked her if I may help her and get the tooth brush for her. She seemed very relieved that I helped and thanked me a lot.


On the next day, when I was walking through the city I started smiling at random people that came my way. Some were pretty confused about me smiling at them, they probably thought they knew me but didn't know from where. Some just smiled back, some didn't react at all. I actually did that the following day as well and I experienced that most people smile back, even though they don't know you. That made me feel as if I brought a little happiness into the world.


On the fifth day, my sister texted me. She was on vacation in Turkey and her flight was rescheduled, and would arrive at 12pm. There are no more trains from Hanover to Hamburg at that time and she and her boyfriend had to go to work the next day. My dad couldn't pick them up so they asked me. I know that they are not strangers but I still think that this is somehow an act of kindness, because I had to drive almost to hours to Hanover, 2h to their house and then 1h to my parents house where I had to sleep because my mum needed the car the next day. I was in bed by 3 am and very tired. But they were really grateful for what I did and that made it worth it.


On my way back to Lüneburg the next day I missed the train in Hamburg. So I had to wait for an hour. When I was walking through the central station I saw a couple that was pretty confused by the ticket machines. They weren't speaking German and since I don't have a problem with speaking English I walked up to them and asked whether I could help. Again, they were really relieved that I asked, because they had no clue what to do. This made me proud about the fact that I used my skills of speaking English and of knowing what to do in that situation instead of just walking past and ignoring their problems even though I knew I'd be able to help.


These days made me realize that it is so easy to bring some happiness into this world. It's the small things that you are able to do and that people are grateful for. I hope that I will be more aware about opportunities to help people and to do something good. Even if it is only something small.



After we were given the task to be fulfilled during the last two weeks, I asked myself how I could act out these “random acts of kindness”. Should I just act out of an upcoming situation, spontaneously, or could I plan this, just a little bit?

The last two weeks I had so many things to do, that nearly never a situation appeared to me, in which I could do something good to a stranger. At least I didn’t realize it, when there may have been a chance.

This is why I decided to approach this task with more consciousness.

Some days ago I bought a package of little chocolate pieces and whenever I had the chance to give it to someone who I thought would do it some good, I handed it out to the person. The following acts describe the actions I took.

Act 1

One day I had a class on scales in the morning, which was voluntarily. The teachers do these courses only once and some listeners talk during class. So this is a bit of an awkward situation for the tutor, which is the reason why I went to the front of the room after class and gave the tutor a piece of chocolate, a some kind of reward for her patience.

Act 2

The other day I sat in the cafeteria having lunch. A girl next to me sat all alone, too, so I gave her a piece of chocolate as a dessert. She was surprised but smiled and thanked me.

Act 3

In the statistics class one usually is under pressure to follow the tutor and understand everything. But last Thursday I had two girls sitting next to me, who helped me along with the exercises as I did them. I wanted to thank and do them something good after nearly 2 hours of work, so I gave them each a piece of chocolate.

Act 4

Our tutor in the statistics class is a very nice guy, who really tries to help us to understand everything but sometimes even he is a bit stressed. After class on Thursday I put a piece of chocolate on his desk, without him knowing it. I really like thinking about how he must have found it.

Act 5/6/7

When I came home one day after university, I walked up the stairs and out of a feeling put two pieces of chocolate in front of each door in our apartment house. We don’t know all of the inhabitants yet, maybe it is a nice sign for them, that we, although we are this young, could meet and talk some day.




Day 1: On the first day of my experiment, to practice “A Random Act of Kindness” for 7 days, I wanted to take it slow because I didn’t felt ready for such an experiment. Normally I  am not exactly what you call a shy person, but when I started to think about the start of my 7 days of “Random Acts of Kindness” and started to plan them I felt quite uneasy. That’s why I thought about doing something anonymous first, something where I didn’t need to look into someone’s eyes by doing it, something where I didn’t need to explain my actions to anyone. That’s why I bought a postcard with the slogan “I just wanted to say Hey! Have a nice day!”, and wrote the story of me, doing “Random Acts of Kindness” for 7 days, on the backside. While walking to the university, I just stopped in front of someone’s house, went to their letterbox and threw the postcard in. I wonder whether they’ve read the postcard or if they’d just thrown it away.

Day 2: On the second day of the experiment, I still felt some kind of pressure on me, but I  wanted to prove myself that I can do this, so I went to the bakery and bought a  bismark with a heart on top and gave it to a homeless person. I can just say that it takes guts to do it, but I am happy that I’ve done it because the homeless person was really happy and thankful for this little present and started smiling at me immediately.

Day 3: Next up, I thought that it might be nice to give somebody from my dormitory a  surprise, so I bought a “Milka – heart” and put it in front of the neighboring living  community. As I wanted to get a reaction for my act, I rang the doorbell from this living community, ran off back into my living community and kept through the spyhole an eye on the reaction from my neighbor. He opened the door, found the chocolate-heart, looked really confused, but started smiling, so I knew that I gave somebody a pleasure.

Day 4: On the fourth day, I decided to dedicate my “Random Act of Kindness” to those  people, who hate waiting at traffic light as much as me. Therefore I drew smileys on a few papers, wrote “Keep Smiling” beneath them and sellotaped them on some traffic lights. The other day, I saw one of my “posters”, I started smiling myself.

Day 5: Before I went back home, I wanted to rejoice my living community by baking little  biscuits for them. So I put them in a bowl on our kitchen table. When I came back, I found a post – it on my door with a big thank you from my housemates.

Day 6: When I was on the birthday of one of my closest friends, I went into her room and put a box of “Ferero Küsschen” into her bag because in Germany we have a saying, which says “Guten Freunden gibt man ein Küsschen”/ “Good friends deserve a “Küsschen””. When she found the box in her bag, she asked everybody if they’d put it into her bag, but everybody said no, so she still doesn’t know that the box was from me, but I know that it made her very happy.

Day 7: On my last day of doing the “Random Acts of Kindness”, I decided that I wanted to make something, which makes my mum happy because she is the one, who always tries to make me as happy as possible. That’s why I made a CD with all her favorite songs. I put this CD into her “car radio”. So when she went off to work in the morning, she listened to that CD and had a good start in her day. I can say that I have learned a lot by doing these “Random Acts of Kindness” because it has shown me that these acts doesn’t just make the others happy, it turned out  that they made me as happy as the others.





Sunday 11/06/2011:

Today I distributed some flyers in a little village near my hometown and while distributing I found the cemetery and decided to walk a little bit along. I read the inscriptions of the gravestones and suddenly I discovered one grave that had a tree on it’s right side. It looked like there was some days nobody who raked the foliage together so I thought it would be nice to clear the grave especially the head. It was a woman who was buried there and I wanted her to have a clear view from her final resting-place. I know this is not an act of kindness to a living person but I really liked the idea that someday somebody will clean my final resting-place even though I may not his duty to be done.
I hope that the woman can see this from her cloud or wherever she now might be and smiles.
Even though it is not a real act of kindness I felt better afterwards.

I found a quotation/ saying in the internet which matches very well I think.
I felt better afterwards and I think this is all that matters, I did something for
a stranger. And I really hope that she saw this.

Monday 11/07/2011:

Monday morning. Waking up early, getting ready for university and driving to the railway station. While waiting for my train to come I wanted to buy something to read. Standing in the line there was a man who seemed to be in a hurry and I asked him if he would like to be first so he wouldn’t have to miss his train. He was very nice and thanked me not one time but two times and wished me a nice day. I know what it feels like when you are in a hurry and nearly going to miss your train or bus or whatever.

Tuesday 11/08/2011:

Tuesday. I asked myself what to do today and then I got the idea. I walked along the Spitalerstraße in Hamburg and saw a homeless person. He sold the “Hintz & Kuntz” and I thought it would be nice to buy one. But this wasn’t the real act of kindness. Furthermore I decided to buy him something to eat. Nothing special only something from the bakery but I thought he really would like this and while standing in the cold he needed a little bit of distraction and someone to talk to for a while.
So I walked straight to him with a big smile on my face and he smiled back. I bought the magazine and then gave him what I bought. First he didn’t wanted to take it because he already ate but I told him to. He smiled in such a thankful way I really felt his love. I talked a few minutes with him and went on. This was my act of kindness today and I really felt better afterwards because I will never forget his way of smiling.

Wednesday 11/09/2011:

Today I didn’t do an act of kindness to a stranger but to our renter. I know this wasn’t the assignment but in the end he thought my mother did this and not me. Only after thanking my mother and her telling him that it was me he knew that I helped him.
I raked the foliage together because I thought it might be helpful for him. He is around 70 and I thought it would be very nice to take some of his work away.
I was really happy that it was a pleasant surprise for him and I felt very content with myself.

Thursday 11/10/2011:

Only something very tiny today. I ceded my seat in the bus to an old woman.
But she was very thankful and I set an example that young people are still able to be polite.

Friday 11/11/2011:

Again I only did nothing special and also on my journey with the bus. Today I helped and old man to get into the bus. He was walking with his walking frame and getting into the bus with it is very difficult because of the height older people have to bridge. So I helped him and seemed to be very thankful and wished me a nice day.

Saturday 11/12/2011:

Today I did something for an animal. I was driving with my car on a side road and then a little hedgehog walked across the street. Luckily I had no cars behind me so I stopped and took a tarpaulin we have in our trunk. Carefully I took the little guy and carried him to the other side of the road and put him into a garden with a lot of foliage.
I know this was not an act of kindness to a human being but I think it is very important to treat animals like we want to be treated and for me personally it was important to save this little hedgehog from getting run over.


Summary:

After doing every day an act of kindness for one week I realized that it is important to care about other people. But also that I did most of those things without realizing it before. Thinking about doing something good and nice I realized that I am happier afterwards because I really thought about how to make other people happy.
Furthermore I got aware of the fact that I personally care a lot about animals. This is why I also wrote my experience with the hedgehog down. We can do something kind to every individual.
Little things can change the life of a person so easily and you can make them feel better and as a result you personally feel better too. I liked this homework a lot and again got proof for me being as kind as I can be.



1. Today I helped a man in a wheelchair to get out of the bus. He was really grateful as there were also people who did not want to help - they just walked by.

It was nice to see him smile and I think it is always good to offer some help although there are many other people.

2. My father and his mother are not really in contact with each other since quite a long time. I asked my grandmother for some old photos of her, my grandfather and my father. First I scanned them in, then developed some and finally sent them over to my father without him knowing it was me. Yet I know that he will be so happy about the photos as he does not have any old ones. They will remind him of the days, where everything was good and I think that is something everyone likes.

3. In the bus I offered my seat to an old lady. Otherwise she would have had to stay all the time. She was very grateful and I think that we should always have regards for elderly people.

4. Today I gave some money to a street musician. He was such a good singer and guitarist that he really deserved to earn some money. Although it was not a lot I gave to him, you could see that he was very grateful - that made me happy as well.

5.Today there was an old lady with a wheeled walker in the bus. She could not get in or out without someone helping her, so I helped her to get out. Her reaction was so cute as she first thanked me a few times with a smile on her face. Then, when I already sat on my seat again, she threw a package of biscuits to me. Of course, I did not expect that. For me it was a matter of course. Yet, when I am thinking of the old lady, it makes me smile.

6. I helped a couple to find their way to the station. They were just on holiday, holding a map in their hands. It was quite obvious that they did not know the place, so I asked them if they could need some help. I think it is always nice to ask as everybody would be happy about some help in this situation.

7. There was a very young boy who stopped walking to get something out of his school bag. Then he walked by. When I realized that he forgot his wallet on the ground, I grabbed it and ran after him. He was a bit ashamed and could not even say "thank you". Yet I am sure that he was grateful.




- I cleaned up the kitchen. My mom asked me later who had done it and I said I didn’t know. She was really happy, but I think she had a clueJ

  1. -Helping an older lady out of the bus. She was very thankful and sweet.

  2. -- Smiling at random people in the city. They smiled back.

  3. -I gave an apple and a Brötchen to a homeless man. He was also very thankful.

  4. -- Every month, I donate money for an organization that helps poor children in Burkina Faso.

  5. -On Sunday, I prepared breakfast for my family.

  6. -I posted a little note saying “I love you” on a random door.

  7. -I’m not really sure, if I learned anything extraordinary during this week, because for me it’s nothing very special to help other people. I really like to help others, that’s why this week wasn’t very different than others to me. Still, it was great to see the positive reactions of the people.




1

I left my day - pass for the subway in the ticket counter before I left – so the next person could get on without paying 5,50 Euro.

2

I made little stars out of paper while riding in the subway and gave them to a few people before getting off.

3

I bought a cup of coffee for a homeless man in downtown Hamburg.

4

I bought some chocolates and out them into letter boxes along my way home.

5

I left my day – pass in the ticket counter – again.

6

I helped an old lady down some stairs because the elevator was broken. I know that should be natural but I do not have anything better fort hat day.

7

I passed my Campus Copy Card to another student so he could print his work. No credits for that.





1. There was a man who asked for some advices, which ticket he has to get if he wants to drive to a certain area in Hamburg. So I told him which ticket to get and what train he has to catch. Apart from that we talked a bit and he was happy about the way I acted and he told me usually the people he’s asking about tickets and trains are not as kind and patient as I was.

2. Another man is always asking for tickets you don’t need any more for the train, so I gave him my ticket and he smiled and was thanked me very gratefully

3. A woman on the street asked for some money to buy a handful of food I gave her a few cents I had left in my coat and she was really happy about the money

4. I helped an old man to get his favourite juice because the bottles stacked underneath some other bottles juice and he couldn’t get them without any help.

5. There are two man who are often singing songs in the train I have to catch to get to the central station they’re asking for money and they always sing really nice songs so the last time I saw them I gave them money and I also clapped my hands when they left the train and they were really happy about that

6. I made some tea for my housemate because he felt sick and had really bad backache

  1. 7.I sat in the train and there was an old woman who looked really sad I looked at her and gave her a smile and she smiled back that was a great feeling.



After a few days of wondering what could be something different to acts of kindness like “Free Hugs” the idea was born from the situation. After living here in Lüneburg for nearly one and a half month I didn't have much contact to the two guys I was living with. Normally our contact was reduced to something like:”Hey what's up?! How are you doing?”. Last week, on the 7th of November, I decided I could try to change our relationship by my random act of kindness and I can already say, that it was a really great idea, because my everyday life changed because of this.


On the first day I asked my mate from Hamburg, if he wants to come to my flat to eat something and  having a conversation, before returning to Hamburg. Instead of going to the Mensa we decided to cook some pasta. When we arrived at my flat my roommate Arne was already back from university and his door half opened. He said:”Hi.”, and closed his door. Jakob and I thought then, maybe he hasn't eaten lunch already and we could ask him if wants to join us. He seemed to be surprised by that offer, but also he joined us. Afterwards it was on me to be surprised, because he exposes as a really funny and friendly guy. In the end we all weren't hungry anymore and it was a nice atmosphere left.


The next day I came back really late from university and found a piece of paper, where Arne wrote towards me, that he'll be back on Monday morning. Still my other housemate was left for some random act of kindness and even he wasn't that talkative we drank a beer together.


On Saturday I went home until Monday and my act of kindness towards my housemates was written on a paper as well, that I would be pleased if we can do some activities in future together, like cooking, drinking tea and cleaning our flat of course.


On Monday Arne, Lasse and me cooked together a soup and we talked about university and what we've done before going to university. It was interesting to find out more about the people you share a flat with.


The next day I just entered the flat and was really tired, but it was still time left for a short talk with my both housemates.


And the next two days I realized, because of my “kindness” it wasn't only me who had to start the conversation or asked the other two if they want to cook or if I can help them with their dishes, they did as well. And that's just fantastic, because it makes me feel way more comfortable in my flat and my evenings often more interesting.



Day 1

My mum is struggling with leaving my dad and I know that she is having a really hard time. When she asked me to leave a DVD in her car while she was in therapy I did not only leave the DVD but a message that says that I love her and keep on loving her whatever might happen in the future. Later that day she send me a message in which she thanked me for being there for her. It made me feel proud of myself and gave me a feeling of strength and belonging.

Day 2

A girl in my other seminar had to spend a long time waiting for the her bus.

Because it was really cold and dark outside I decided to take her home with my car although it meant that I had to drive a little longer and further. But I did not care because she gave me a good feeling so the extra distance was worth it.

Day 3

A friend of mine an I love eating Pizza after lecture and do it quite often. One day the till girl gave us too much change and I recognized it too late. A week later I decided to give her the 2 € back. She was really surprised, not about the amount of money, but about my honesty.

Day 4

I spent the weekend with some friends in Barcelona. In our hostel were only two bathrooms.

So we had to stand in a (quite long) row an wait. There was this one girl who had a very urgent need to pee, but nobody seemed to care. When it was my turn she was already disappeared, but I went in her room to search for her and let her go to the bathroom first. She was really thankful. I think the girls after me were not amused but I think it was the right thing to do.

Day 5

Back in Germany I was in a very bad mood and my anesthesiologist  really pissed me off. So when I went afterwards to the pharmacy and some people pushed to the front, I felt like punching everyone in the face. The chemist seemed to notice that and was not very pleased to have me there. But I forced myself to smile and be as friendly as possible what surprisingly worked better than expected. To see that I was able to control my behaviour at least in this situation made me very proud.

Day 6

I have a neighbour who is a widow. She is still suffering from her husband’s death and enjoys talking about their time together, her other family or just her health status. Normally I am not that interested in her stories, but this day I decided to be a good and attentive listener. At some point I felt like a psychotherapist but all in all it was not too bad.

Day 7

Too many people tried to leave a very crowded car park. Everyone seemed to have only one thing in mind: getting out of there as fast as possible! Unfortunately they were not the only ones. So it happened that a whole floor was not able to move at all because no one would let them in. I turned of my car and waited till at least 5 cars got the chance to leave the car park.  The drivers were relieved and thanked me lots of times.


In the seven days I practiced random acts of kindness I recognized that this actions really can fulfill your life with love.

One day I helped an older man carrying his shopping bags to his car. First I thought he would be angry, because some older people are too proud to see their physical weakness. But he was not. He was really kind. Afterwards I talked with him about the generation of today and that it became normal for the young generation to ignore any acts of kindness. Finally we came to conclusion that special values in the young thinking is missing.

Another day I helped a woman with her luggage. She was really kind and gave me a little smile. Before I watched her, she looked very angry and sad. After recognizing her smile I really hoped that she felt a bit better because by helping her, she maybe knew that there is love in the world.

The other five days the random acts of kindness were very small ones like greeting a foreign person. I think it is important that you do random acts of kindness out of your own. If you see a person you like to help, you have to do it.  I think it is important to help people to show the society that the selfish behavior does not make you happy. Helping people, giving them a chance or just give them a little present shows a little bit of love. Sometimes you get a little bit of love back in form of a smile. But all in all I really felt good to help someone, to give love to them and to show that they are not alone in the world.


What is Love?


It astonishes me that I have actually learned a lot by reading the definitions of love or what can’t be love from the other group members. Before I have read the other comments on our homework, I have never thought about what might be love for others, so it kind of impresses me that everyone had their own different definition or memory of love, which were equal in one point, namely that even if someone thinks that love is just rational, predictable or a biological/chemical reaction and not the best, unpredictable thing in the whole world, everyone wants to get or be loved. In addition, it gets harder for me to say what love not is because after reading all those articles and texts and watching the movies in class, nearly everything seems to me to be love, which is crazy because I have never considered that point of view before.




The class definitions of love were pretty alike. Almost everybody said that love is the strongest and most important feeling or emotion. Only one person titled love as the second deepest feeling, I'd like to know, what that person thinks is the deepest feeling- hate?


A lot of people mentioned that without love there is no life. But love is also very mysterious and not definable. It was also pointed out that love is a very ambivalent feeling. It can make you happy but it can also hurt you more than anything.


By reading these, I learned that basically everybody had the same idea of love. Maybe that is because we discussed love a lot in class, but I also think that this is just how it is. We are shaped in what we think love is because of a lot of different things, like the media.




I think that there are a lot of similarities. Most people wrote that love can be the meaning of happiness. But on the other hand it can hurt and make you sad. Some students think that love is dangerous. It is a mysterious feeling which needs more than one definition. Everyone may have his own words to describe love. Another point is the influence of love. That includes what you can’t control, change or force the feeling. In one word, love is unpredictable. But if you are in a relationship, you can feel safe and secure.

Also they wrote that there are two ways of love. The one way includes the love to the family. Parents are teaching their children the meaning of love. They support you, your whole life. The second way to have love, is love to another person; the love between men and women.


It is very interesting for me, that moments of love are unique and magical, and that they can be for a second or any time period. Further I like to see love as the feeling to feel at home. That would also mean that you belong where you are and that you accepted from around. I also like that they wrote that love are depending on the own feelings and opinions. Because that means, that love is an individual feeling. Today in our world everything is measured and compared. Maybe that’s why I like to read about this individual and unpredictable feeling. No one can really measure it. 




In our answers everyone had agreed that love is a very strong emotion or feeling which can either makes you unconditionally happy or hurts you and makes you sad. Love is a word everyone knows, but no one is able to describe it because it is something beyond one’s control and unpredictable. Additionally love is very personal and means something different to each of us. Some mentioned that they are either afraid of love or that they think that love is something rational or just a chemical reaction, but although they may have a different definition for love, they wanted to experience love too like the rest of the course.




For most of us love is a mystery. We all tried to define it but it was very hard and we sometimes  indirectly came up with examples. Nearly everybody mentioned love to be the strongest and greatest feeling. Something that is connected with friends/family and relationships. I think we can clearly see that we are addicted to our social environment. It is somehow the center of our existence.




For many of us it is important to differ between the love among family members and the love of another person.

Love is described as the strongest feeling, sometimes even as the one feeling from which all other feelings can be derived. It is mostly interpreted as an unconditional feeling that is felt differently from every person, but no person can live without it. All in all it has an strong impact on our mood.

That love seems to be experienced by every human being in a different way is reflected in the great variety of answered.




When I developed my definition of love I already thought that there will be many aspects I won't figure out, but everyone agreed in their definition, that love is the strongest or one of the strongest emotions. During my definition I focused on how love influences ourselves and our role in the world. Many others aimed with their definition to express how love emotional influence us and others. As well most of us agreed, that love is kind of not finally definable.




The definitions of love are all a little different but there are some aspects, which are named quite often.


Most students of our class define love as the strongest emotion a human being can feel.

On the one hand it can be the greatest feeling in the world, but on the other it can be very painful and devastating.


It is a strong connection between two people based on trust and respect. It is existential because no one can live without it. Many students also say that love is unconditional. It’s loving a person for what they are and not wanting to change them.


Love is protection and warmth. It is also knowing that someone cares for you.

Love is different for everyone.


After reading through all the answers I realized some aspects of love, which I had not considered before.




While reading our love definitions one sentence was repeated several times and attracted my attention: Love is the most powerful or strongest emotion. I defined love in this way as well and found it interesting that several people shared my opinion.


Lots of people also mentioned that it is hard to define love, but nevertheless I think we all gave good and honest answers. That is another point I noted: The honesty in every answer. The people were really thinking hard about this difficult question.


The style of the answers was very different. Some people tried to find a general definition, often connected with other emotions. And others only wrote notes that were significant for them.


But all in all this collection gives a very good idea of what love is.




There are many similar thoughts in our love definitions and I think by reading the answers you can feel that we all know what we are talking about, that we are all loving somebody. We all wrote about the strength of love, its indefinable, the fine line between happiness and sadness, and the importance of loving somebody and being loved. Especially the longer definitions show how hard it is to describe and define love and to put that feeling into words.




The first question was being answered in different ways.

Some people tried to explain love as being something rational. In their opinion love is a psychical and physical need, caused by chemical and biological reactions. They also mentioned that is only based on the “love-to-be-loved-theory”, saying that we only love to be loved back, to receive acknowledgement, appreciation and attention. This builds on other key words having been written down as well: we are self- centred and therefore practise love to protect ourselves from being lonely.


Other members of our class had a more poetic point of view on what love meant to them. They called it…


… The unknown

… The biggest part of their reality

… A unification of souls

… A mystery

… Feeling empty and fulfilled at the same time


But there where lots of general items that most of the people defined as the meaning of love to them as well.

Most of us think: Love is something unconditional, emotional but not rational. It can be ironic and even dangerous but nevertheless always our life goal, as it is in the same way the source of all the feelings we can experience. It demands a certain responsibility and compromises but one should never forget that it is not only an obligation. Its intensity can bring us resolution, faith, security, peace. Love in its ambivalence cannot be controlled and is not to be controlled.

Its ambivalence was described by the following words.

Love is a strong connection, a beautiful feeling that can make us the happiest person on earth, can give us hope an confidence. When we love, we feel fullness, passion and joy. It is our want and need to be with this person, to do the best for the beloved person and even to sacrifice things for him or her, feel pain for this person. This describes the ambivalence of love perfectly as sacrifices are generally seen as a negative act but regarding love, it can be a sign of love, something positive.

Several people also thought that the meaning of love is shown in certain actions/characteristics


… to trust s.o.

… to respect s.o.

… to have a kind heart

… to help others

… to rely on s.o.

… to accept failures and flaws

… to commit to s.o./ s.th.

… to share

… to be patient

… to stay loyal




For me love is the strongest, most beautiful and dangerous feeling a man can feel. It can make one feels like he’s the happiest person of the entire world. But it also may make one feels like if the world’s ending if not corresponded or if one is disappointed. Love means passion, danger, beauty, fullness. It’s when one misses that special person and tries to do, get and be the best for that someone.

¬This definition is mostly about romantic love, not about love in general.


Love is the urge of being with a person all the time and missing that person to death when he or she is not around. It is knowing that there is nothing in the world you would not do for your beloved. It is trust, joy, pain, and sacrifice. It is something you cannot control!

¬This is a specific definition for romantic love.


I personally think that love is a very strong feeling, maybe the strongest a human is able to feel. Love is a very strong connection between people. And it really has to grow up on a base of trust and respect to each other. From my point of view it is very important, that we have to diversify love between friends and family, on the one hand and in a relationship, on the other hand. Well, in my opinion the feeling - love – is the same in both ways. Except of that people have sex in a love relationship. Consequently my definition of a good relationship is that you need a very good friend and a lover, in one person. From the poetic point of view love means the biggest unknown in a human’s life, for me, because the fewest people got the ability to give a definition of love. But everybody is looking for love, without to know what it really is. To sum it up, love is something confusing and ironic, on the one side and the most valuable good for everybody, on the other side.

¬This definition is about different kinds of love. On the one hand it is about romantic love, on the other hand it is also about love between family and friends.


Love to me is something everyone wants and needs. It’s also something I am afraid of because it really can hurt. Love should be unconditional. It is the strongest feeling one can have, so it’s emotional, not rational. Love to me is something I don’t really understand. It happens or it doesn’t. I do not believe that one can influence love.

¬This definition is a mixture of a definition of love for/of family/friends and romantic love. In my opinion, the mentioned unconditionality would be part of love of/for the family/friends, whereas the sentence "It happens or it doesn't." would stay for  a definition of romantic love.


It’s a feeling that makes you feel happy, feel confident, you realize that you can be yourself because you are still loved with all your tics and it depends you to somebody. Love makes you addicted because you want more of it and you know you have to work for it.  On the other side it makes you feel sad and frustrated and in the worst case even sick.

¬This definitions represents romantic love. I think so because the author states that you "have to work for" love. For the love of your family you usually should not have to work - it should naturally be there.


I understand "love" as the general love you show to everybody. To me it means to have a kind heart and help other people.

¬As the author states, this is a general definition of love. I do not think that love is only about helping other people, tough.


To be honest this is a very difficult question. I was actually hoping to be more certain about this question after the class, but now I will try to do my best.
I think it is important to differ between the love among family members and the love of another person.      On the one hand, the love of a family member is based on reproduction. Parents love their children because they are parts of themselves. They want to protect their children and make sure that they can survive. In that way they can make sure that their genes outlast.        Whereas children love their parents because they can rely on them, no matter what, their parents will protect and support them. In the early years children are fed by their parents, through their entire live they learn things from their parents and by that finally know how to survive on their own.

On the other hand the love of another person, that is  not a member of your family, is – in my opinion - based on the “love to be loved-theory“.

I think that all our actions and feelings are self-centred and self-protecting. Everything we do, we do because it has got some profit for us.

According to this theory we love someone else in order to be loved. We need acknowledgement, appreciation, attention and want to feel special, needed and understood.

Because someone else can give us all that, we pick that someone and try to make sure that he or she will give it to us for as long as we need it.

These two theories are the basement for the feeling that we call love. It is a great feeling, one of the strongest emotions we have. And even though I talk about love like it is some rational and predictable emotion, I strongly believe that love has thousand of different ways it can be experienced totally subjective feeling that everybody sentences in his or her own way.

For me personally love is something that I can not define. I don´t know whether I have ever been in love, this is why it is so hard for me to say what love is to me. It is definitely an emotion that I can´t wait to experience and that I think I have felt rudimentary.

All in all love seems to be an feeling that everyone is talking about, that seems to be one of the most important goals in everyone´s life and that has a strong impact on our behaviour, our actions and our emotional world.

¬This definition is really complex. On the one hand it mentions love between a child and its parents, on the other hand it is about the love between two non-related people. I think the author distinguishes these two different kinds very well.


Love to me is the strongest emotion a human being is capable to feel. Love is the source, you could even say the “mother” of every other feeling we experience in our life. Love guides us and determines what we do and what we say, if we hurt someone or make a person we love happy. This emotion is a chemical, biological reaction as well as something from deep inside us to me and I do love “Love” as much as I fear this feeling, as it causes pain, war, destruction (physical and mentally), as it kills and breaks us in little pieces. And still I am addicted to this feeling and I can’t even imagine living without it, because it’s everywhere and it’s probably the biggest part of my reality.

¬This definition is not as complex as the one before, yet it mentions a lot of different general aspects what love can be and even its consequences - both negative and positive.


Love is for me to love someone like he really is. Love is to accept all her failures and flaws. Love is to look at someone and knowing that you want to spend all your time with this person.

¬This is a simple definition for romantic love.


Love is the most important feeling one can have but at the same time the most undefinable word I know. It is the base of human relationship and its power is bigger than anything else. Without love our life would not make sense and we need to appreciate the simple fact that we are able to love.

¬The author of the definition says that love is "the base of human relationship" which I would absolutely agree with. It is a general definition for love.


Love is the most powerful emotion. It makes our life worth living. I couldn't live without love, it is a feeling deep inside of me, just to know that there are people I love and who respond my love. Love makes me incredibly happy.

               -          commitment

-          compassion

-          affection

-          faith

-          intensity

-          cooperation

-          vulnerability

-          care

-          responsibility

-          connection

-          resolution

-          self-abandonment

-          unification of souls

¬This general definition shows many different emotions etc. love affects.


-Hope.

-  a process which changes permanently. (e.g.: There are two people in a relationship.    This causes joint challenges etc.)

- to live. (Life without love does not work)

- Peace.

- keeps you grounded. Security.

¬The author of this definition states what love brings with it. More positive aspects than negative ones, though.


It is very hard to definite love. It is an abstract word and so everyone got his own interpretation. For me, love is the strongest feeling a human can feel. It is a great gift when somebody loves you. Love can make you happy and when you are in love, you think everything is good and perfect. But love can also hurt when your partner broke off or the one you loves does not love you back.

¬The author states that it is quite hard to find an absolute definition for love. Though, he/she defines it as romantic love.


It is the warm feeling which spreads through your body by recognizing a new detail of one’s personality/ look / face / character.

¬This definition for romantic love is about the warmness you might feel when you are in love with someone.


- a word

-  a feeling to belong to someone and/or the feeling of belonging

-  the need to be with that one person

-   to rely on someone

-   to care about that person

¬This is a definition for romantic love as the author is only talking about "that one person".


Love to me is a mystery. Love is a growing process and I’m sad I didn’t arrive to really give into this process.    Love is, when I miss my friends, who gave  so much warmth to me but are now travelling around the world.    Love to me is, when I worry about my friends and family. Love to me is something unconditional.    Love is, when I listen to my grannie, telling me the same story again and again. Love is, when my sister and  I are lying on our beds, laughing about a secret joke.    Love is, when I come home and my mom’s waiting for me in the kitchen, waiting to tell me all her news and ready to hear mine.

¬The author of this definition points out in which situations he/she felt and experienced love, in both a positive and negative way, regarding family and friends.


Love is the strongest, intense and intimate feeling and emotion that you can have, for either someone you’re strongly attached to or for anything you feel really connected to. Love is the hope for happiness. Furthermore it is ineffable. To know what love really is, you have to experience it by yourself, because love is an individual experience and feeling.

¬This definition points out that that love can be experienced in different ways, for instance romantic love and love to your family.


Love is the best and worst feeling in the world to me. Something you cannot describe but everybody knows it. It makes you vulnerable and strengthens you. It hurts and inspires you. Love is very ambivalent. Love is something I want to share with everybody because it is the best experience a person can make. We can learn a lot from the feeling of love.

¬I think that the author of this definition did really well by pointing out the contrasts love might cause. You can see that love is never quite the same for everyone.


Love is the second deepest feeling there is. It’s the truth. Loving someone is knowing he’ll back you up, give you his shoulder; unconditional help, both ways. Love is the feeling of being indestructible.

¬This definition shows what the "perfect love", without any negative effects, should be like.


Love can be different things to me - a feeling,  a gesture, . . .

Love is when someone truly cares about somebody else, when you can feel the affection of someone. It is the most powerful force that everyone craves for in some way - it is something that guides us through our life and is responsible for the things we do and for those we are not doing.

¬This definition represents both romantic and "general" love. The author states that love is responsible for our behaviour and that everyone craves for love, though it can be different.


Love is happiness without knowing where it comes from.

Love is emptiness and fullness at the same time.

Love is trust.

¬This is a real short, but meaningful definition of general love.


“Home is where your heart is”, concluding to that sentence love is “feeling at home”.

¬The author states that love can be found everywhere you like to be. Where you feel home, there is your heart - with that, love as well.


Love is a feeling of being attracted to someone who stands out of the crowd for you. Love is always something, that is based on your personal opinion and feelings. I won't try to explain where love comes from, because I have no idea, but what I can try to explain is, what is caused by love.

¬The author emphasizes that love is based on ones subjective emotion, which is part of a general definition. He/she also says that it is "a feeling of being attracted to someone" which would be part of a romantic definition of love.


I think everyone should experience love from the first day, given by the persons around you. Actually my mother showed and told me always that she loves me and this love protected me during childhood up to now to handle every trouble. Of course life is never easy, but only with love we are able not to despair of some situations in life. Many people think there is nothing like love in our world, but I believe that they only have been disappointed a several times by persons they were in love to. I know, these people can find love all around them, if they let it happen, in every friendly reaction and never forget, there are 7 billion people out there, who are searching for love and want to share love. Why do I believe they are searching for love? The most powerful evidence they should accept is, that they love others and if they are full of hate they have loved before. Unfortunately love is the most mysterious emotion, which we are able to and we can't influence who we fall in love to, as well others can't influence as well. We are able to love for lots of years or just for some seconds, minutes, hours...but these moments are magical and unique. There are many different cases of love and first I wanted to take a closer look on the different steps we go through, but then I realized again: We can't influence love, because love can include every other emotion and can push us to do things we never did before, that means maybe we go through several steps but maybe we won't. Sometimes love is controversial, sometimes nothing is easier, there are just endless possibilities to try to express what love feels like, but actually it's nothing then a big surprise we can't explain.

¬This general definition is really complex.

The author states that even when someone says he does not believe in love, he or she is wrong because almost everybody in the world has got people he/she loves. There are no general steps which can be followed regarding love - it just happens.


The unconditional happiness gained from the time spent with the loved person.

¬This short definition can be for both romantic and "general" love as everybody likes being with a beloved person - regardless of whether it is the partner, parents or friends.


Love is a strong feeling that can make you very happy but also very sad. Love is friendship, partnership, closeness, loyalty. Love is when you know that you can trust the other person, when you feel safe and secure being with this person. Love makes you feel very happy seeing the other person. Love can also make you sad, if you could not be together with the person you love. If you love someone you also love his faults.

¬This definition says that love can be found in a friendship, partnership, etc. It also shows that love can be happiness as well as sadness.


What is not love?


Most of us have in common that we think that it is harder to say what not love is, than what love is, because you decide on your own what not love is or what you cannot love. Nevertheless, most of us had agreed that addiction, pain or habits aren’t love. If someone is being forced to do something or pretends to like doing something it can’t be love. We said that love is unconditional. Therefore conditional things cannot be love.




Most answers in this section have to do with egoism I guess. Most of the answers related to “one-sided” love. I think it can be summarized like love is not when it is not an advantage for all affected people or it hurts them.




Most students say that sexual attraction, materialism, forced love, and love only as a social convention is not love. Also staying together, although there is no love left in a relationship.


One word kind of splits the class in half. Hate. Half of the class says that hate is not love, and half says it is love or at least based on it.


I strongly believe that love and hate go together. You cannot truly hate someone if you haven’t loved that person before.




I was really general with my definition of what love is not and wanted to compare the interaction between our feelings and our environment. Nearly all other definitions concentrated on exact examples which emotion is not love or in which situation love isn't possible.




So many different things where mentioned in this category that it is hard to sum them up. One common understanding of “what is not love” is that which hurts someone else. Another aspect that was mentioned often is the being together with someone because of materialistic reasons or for not being alone. Sexual attraction was also mentioned several times.




A lot of us compared „not love“ with something that is not voluntarily. Prostitution, forced marriages and relationships because of other reasons than love. I like the one answer that love is not materialistic, I think that describes pretty well what we all mean. Love cannot be forced because of materialistic reasons.

There were different opinions about the feeling of hate. Is it the opposite of love? Is hating someone not love? We discussed this in class and I agree with the conclusion we came to, that hate cannot exist without love; they are always connected.

Also, war was mentioned as not being love. I thought about that and about one entry contains the statement that war develops out of love as well. I found that quite interesting, the idea that all depends on love.




Materialism and selfishness is not love. Doing harm to someone and having conditions is not love. Just sexual attraction is not love.




These definitions all go, similar to the love definitions, basically in the same direction. Nearly everybody associates not love with selfishness, ignorance, with only taking without giving. Some mention the expectations that come from our society, for others it’s important to make a difference between love and sexual attraction. But I think again all of us had problems defining not love and we tried to express our thoughts by making examples where love can’t exist.




‘Not love’ is not caring for a person. I also saw the answer that addiction is not love, which is different from what some people said is love.

I saw how many people had the problem to tell the difference between love and hate. I had the same problem. To summarize these answer I would have to copy all the answers, since there were so many different definitions of what love isn't. I think that shows how hard it is to answer that question. You can't find a general definition, and you start looking for the little things that may not be love.




The answers to this questions where not as long and not as many as the ones to the first, but not less interesting.

The most obvious answer was of course that love doesn’t exist in actions of hurting somebody on purpose or causing pain.

More subtle opinions on things not being love:


To be with someone in order not to be alone

Trying to love someone you don’t actually love

People staying together for other reasons than love: money, habit, a house


Actions were drawn out, that show that you’re not really in love:


Cheating on someone

Having expectations/ conditional love

Intolerance

Disrespect

Ignorance

Trying to own and control somebody

Indifference

Dishonesty

Being egocentric


Left are now a few very interesting items, which do not fit into any structure of actions or anything similar. Sexual Attraction, for example, or lust, where described as not being love, as they can also be felt or acted out by people who are not in love with each other.

Addiction as something that is in most situations something imagined, an illusion may not be love as well as, regarding one special definition, everything outside our innermost self is not love, as it is only an artificial influence.

Leaving the higher level of what may not be love, some also discussed inconveniences of our society as for e.g. ….

... Forced love

... No civil courage

... Prostitution

   ... Greed to money, greed to power




What is not Love?


Attraction, lust, pain, narcissism, egocentrism, selfishness

¬I would not say that attraction is not love - for me it is more the very beginning of love. There are a lot of different kinds of pain and some of them might also be love, for instance because of a break-up.



Wanting to be with a person only for material things or just in order to not be alone.

¬This does not represent real love, but probably the love for money (material things).


So easy that question sounds, I think it is pretty hard to answer that. Of course, everything that hurts a person, in a physical or psychological way, is not lovely. But everybody knows how easy a loved person can hurt you- every cloud has a silver lining.

Well, but I would say everything, that people do knowingly to harm another people, is the total opposite of love.

¬I totally agree with the author saying that harming people by purpose is the total opposite of love!


Not love is trying to love someone even if you’re not 100% convinced you do.

Not love is knowing a person just superficial.

Not love is forced love.

No real love is conditional.

¬As the author said him-/herself: trying to love and forced love are also love in some way, of course not "real" love, though.


I think love ends at the point when you want to hurt or kill a person, sure love causes hate. But in my opinion love still ends when you want to hurt or kill people or a person, as you love them anymore. In general you can say if you don’t care about someone or something you don’t love him, her or it.

¬I agree with the statement that you do not love a person anymore when you do not care about him/her.


Acting selfish.

Not being helpful when others are in need aka not showing civil courage f.e. on the street.

¬I think acting selfish means that someone loves him-/herself even more than other people. So it definitely is love,  just not a very positive kind of love.


One feeling that comes to my mind and that often is misinterpreted as love is sexual attraction.

¬Agree!


My first intention was to name hatred as an emotion that is not love. But I started thinking about it and came to the conclusion that you need to love to hate something or someone. Even war results out of love, for example a dictator causes war, because he loves the feeling of power. I even think that fear results out of love, like we need to love ourselves or others to have the drive to protect and we need to fear to be able to protect. Though I also think that fear is also a big factor and guides us as well. So what is not love?

I honestly have to say that I don’t know but that I’m curious to find out.

¬The author says that it is quite hard to say what love cannot be as even the worst feeling, for instance hatred, can be a consequence of love.


One-sided love is no real love, because it is only the illusion of love for one of the two persons. Not love is for example also sacrificial love, because two people who really love each other should be equal or at eye level.

¬I agree with the statement that one-sided love is no real love!


I think love has always to do with a counterpart, with giving something, with making yourself vulnerable because of being honest, with passion and with appreciation. And if these aspects don‘t exist it can‘t be love.


Not love is for me when people stay together because of other reasons than their love for each other e.g. it‘s a confirmed habit, money, a house or even their own children.

¬Agree!


Also, I would say indifference is not love,  to be exactly it‘s the opposite for me. If you love someone who does not respond your love, the worth he can feel for you is complete disinterest.

¬As already said, to me one-sided love is not real love.


materialism, sexuality

¬Agree!


status symbol (Love should not be abused to reach an aim. à e.g. people start a relationship with someone – just to become more popular)

Prostitution (“Making love” which means having sex without feelings is not love.)

Staying together in a relationship even if it is clear that both do not have feelings for each other anymore. Often this happens because of the fear of being alone after a breakup or the fear of other people’s judgments.

¬I agree with the author. These facts do not represent real love.


Being cruel. For example, when someone cheats on the someone else.

¬I agree. When someone cheats on his partner, he/she knows he/she will harm him/her.



Not love is for me war, selfishness, greed to money, greed to power, every sort of pain. All in all things in the world which makes it hard to live together peacefully.

¬As already stated, even bad things can be love as they are consequences of it.


abusing someone (mentally, physically,...)

not trying to understand your partner/child/parents

¬I agree with the author. If someone does not even try to understand someone else, he/she does not care about the person at all. This is definitely not love!


Love is not, what we decide not to love or cannot love. Love is not materialistic.


Many people say that if love hurts it can’t be love. I don’t believe in that, because I think if something hurts it shows that have feelings for this person because you care for him/her. In my opinion not love is if you act disrespectful, bully someone on purpose or if you just don’t except a person the way she or he is, because if you want to change a person you can’t love her/him the way she/he is.

¬If someone bullies a person, most often there is a reason for that. If the reason is hatred, it shows that the bully cares about the other person and I think that hatred is a consequence of love.


Addiction, because I think this is really a sickness, it is not love to love somebody you don’t really know. It is an illusion. Forced marriages are also no love. It is forced so it is not a love marriage. Prostitution is also no love. For those people it is their job, there are no feelings involved.

¬I agree that addiction is a sickness. Still it is a kind of love - you get addicted because you love something so much!  I also agree that prostitution is not love. Most people do this job because they are just so desperate.


Jealousy

Cheating

To frustrate so.

Doing something just expecting something back

Expectations

¬Jealousy shows that you care a lot about someone - so it is love!


I would say that it is not love anymore when someone is trying to own and control a person. The love and the well-being of the one should be very important. But if only control of the other person and the own wishes and longings matter - it cannot be real love. A person cannot be the property of somebody else as he or she should be able to do whatever he or she wants to do.

¬I said that addiction is a kind of love. Yet I would also say if someone does not care at all about the well-being of a person, but rather sees his/her longings, it is not real love.


Hate is not Love

War is not Love.

Murder is not Love.

¬Hate can only be felt if you care about something. Caring about something means you love it in some way. Murder is definitely not love!


Love only exist in ourselves. We can share it with someone else, but before we have to use a medium to transfer it to others. I would say love is an emotion, which is everyone able to have, but everything outside of our personality can only be used to influence this emotion and can never be love.


The dependence on another person. The addiction to a lifestyle.

¬I do not agree with this. To me, dependence and addiction represent a kind of love as well.


Trying to change the partner

Demand things from a partner that he can´t give/do

Being indifferent

¬Being indifferent is not love as you do not care about someone.

Change can be good and bad. So I would not say that wanting to change the partner is not love. It might have a good effect on the relationship, as long as it is not a complete change of the person.


As you can see, there are loads of different opinions of what cannot be love. Although I also wrote a definition, it is still hard for me to say what really is love and what is not love. I think a lot is interconnected with each other and somehow a circuitry.



Kate Hollett

Head of Class


Marc

Resident of Love


Interns of Love


Svenja

Dajana

Marlene

Amelie

Aylin

Corinna

Inken

Yvonne

Birte

Marie-Louise

Pia

Jannis

Ann-Katrin

Viktoria

Mona

Valentina

Andrea

Leon

Rebecca

Finn

Fenna

Beke

Johanna

Melissa

Franziska

Magdalena

We all have a different personal understanding of love yet when asked to look at each other we can see the common threads.


What ideas connect us in love?


How does love grow? Can it grow?


Is love something we can learn and practice?

Connecting...

Class Summaries - The class was asked to read and review everyone's  definitions and memories of love. From what "I think and feel" to

"what WE think and feel together."

Random Acts of Kindness - The class was asked to practice random acts of kindness to a loved one and to a complete stranger, and if possible, do it anonymously, unconditionally practice giving love