Love Is My Religionby Tammy Shaklee, Relationship Expert and H4M FounderJune 17, 2016
A journalist once interviewed me for one hour to discuss my journey in now being known in my industry (of certified matchmakers) as the Gay Matchmaker. It was a fast interview, ending with a final rapid fire question: "If you could give a speech to the world for only 30 seconds, what would you say?” Without hesitation, I quickly blurted, “Lead with Love.”
I remember choking up a little, with pleasant surprise to my own answer, and then trying to quickly express what that means to me. I said, “If everything you do in life, you lead with love, love for my future but also love for her (my mother). Love of others, love of self. When you lead with it, you tend to do the right thing.” And I believe it starts with self.
Self Care. It’s so trending. Almost too much, to the point of ignore. Individuals are encouraged and coached to remember self-care, especially in high pressure careers, in online pressures, and an immediate society which is only getting faster. We are supposed to stop, orchestrate our work-life balance, and prioritize taking care of ourselves in loving and kind ways, without apology.
This week marks four years since the inception of my company He’s For Me. In talking with eligible gay bachelors daily now for years, I can tell you that searching for your person must first start with loving yourself. Lead with love by first looking within. The majority of gay men I have worked with have done work with a professional counselor or therapist. Most have already “set their table” as I had one client put it. Most have worked through the stages of “growing up in a straight man’s world” as psychotherapist and author Alan Downs’ documents. For those that haven’t, I now recommend reading The Velvet Rage. I was recently asked by a young gay professional, “Is he (Downs) still alive?! That book is so old.” Maybe, according to your short life, but the words resonate as though they were written yesterday. Order it today, or borrow a copy from our office.
Even with all of the expert advice and direction being offered from licensed professionals, relationship and coaching professionals, and even those older, wiser, and with sage advice, it’s important that we be reminded about LOVE.
Since starting this blog, our world was turned upside down with the Orlando mass killings. So much hate and anger lately. Polarizing. With politics now getting in to the debate.
Last month, a gay man in downtown Austin was walking home, and was senselessly jumped by two men with no obvious motive other than hate. I was so upset that our local news hadn’t given it coverage, to help warn others and make our downtown community aware. But unfortunately, it is now Orlando that heightened a global awareness of the hate that still exists. Whether the friends and acquaintances of an individual, or now the families of more than 100 victims, my message in this post to you is the same, gentlemen. Lead. With. Love.
As a straight ally, there are those of us who have been honored to carry the torch of "Love is Love" before the Orlando tragedy. And now, it feels to me, our torch is glowing beyond our neighborhoods, and shining the light around the globe, to all humans. Each of us is but one voice. Since Sunday, I feel even stronger, louder, and more responsible to speak for those who are my equal as humans. I will forever lead with love, and hope we can continue to do it together. If we make LOVE our religion, how can we go wrong?