Love Everyone

Sharon Salzberg on how we can extend our hearts to every single person—not just the people we know or like, and not just when we’re feeling good.

Illustrations by Melinda Beck

I have a good friend who looks at me like I’m crazy whenever I talk about loving everyone. “Are you kidding me?” she asks. “Love everybody? I have enough trouble loving the people I already love! And now I’m supposed to love people I don’t care about, not to mention people who do terrible things?”

I get her point. We live in a world punctuated by horrifying acts of violence, in which entire groups of people are marginalized by virtue of race, class, religion, nationality, sexual preference, and gender identity. How is it even possible to imagine loving them all? And what about the truly difficult people in our daily lives—the colleague who takes credit for our ideas, the spendthrift relative who’s always asking for a loan, the neighbor who cut down our tree. Not to mention the random thorns in our side who spike our blood pressure and pull into parking places that should have been ours. There are days when we can feel good simply about staying calm.

Jacqueline Novogratz, bestselling author of The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World, recounts how the story of her beloved blue sweater, given to…

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About the author

Sharon Salzberg

Sharon Salzberg is a meditation teacher and New York Times best-selling author. She is the co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and has played a crucial role in bringing Asian meditation practices to the West. Sharon has been a student of meditation since 1971, guiding retreats worldwide since 1974. She is a weekly columnist for On Being, a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and the author of many books including Real Happiness, Lovingkindness, and Real Change.