What is the Greatest Love of All?

Since it is the month of LOVE, I’ve decided that over the remaining weeks of February, I will share with you some of my favorite LOVE songs and the stories behind them.  To kick it off, we will start with a song that we all come to know and love as the “Greatest Love of All” covered by Whitney Houston in 1985.  L-O-V-E is a powerful emotion that is sometimes used in vain and varies in definition by many.   There are millions of songs, paintings, books, photos, cinemas, objects, poems, acts, foods, spoken words that are used by human beings to express LOVE.  The one thing that I see in common with all LOVE songs is that what is being expressed has been experienced by the writer or someone else.  You could be that someone else.  The more you can relate to or understand a song the more connected you become to that song.

Take out the time to research your favorite LOVE songs.  Understand the writer(s) message.  Doing this small exercise will provide not only a connection but nourishment to your soul, as well as, add more meaning to the song the next time you hear it.  You’ve heard the idiom, “Music is food for the soul.”  Well, it is very true.  This saying has been rephrased many times.  Here are a couple of phrases:  ‘Music feeds the soul’ and ‘Music is good for the Soul”.  In 1818, a philosopher, by the name of Arthur Schopenhauer, wrote “Music is the Food of Soul”.   The subtitle read ‘Arthur Schopenhauer searches for songs in the key of life’.  Isn’t this something – ‘Songs in the Key of Life”.  Hmmm, where have we heard this used?  Steve Wonder recorded between 1974-1976 the album “Songs in the key of Life”.  I will research this one next.  I recently downloaded this album and used a couple songs for my Mom’s 70th Birthday party.  Wow! Music truly makes the world go round.

I’ve performed the hit song, “Greatest Love of All’, with bands, churches, graduations, farewells, youth nights and just for fun at karaoke.  Each time I would sing the words ‘I believe that children are our future…’, I felt it in my soul.  I really believe that we can do so much better with our youth by listening to them more and not ignoring them because they are young.  We can learn so much from the youth.  By communicating with them more, I believe this will help them make better choices that will impact the world.  When I held roles as a youth leader, I realized that they just want to be heard and respected for their opinions and views and not be ignored.  I’ll always have a soft spot for the youth because I was that young person that was not communicated to when my father died.  I was simply invisible to the grown ups.

The other words to the song that resonates with me are ‘Learning to Love yourself is the greatest love of all”.   Today, I live by those words.   I strive each day to show myself love.  It could be a bath, going to a movie, exercising, eating healthier and/or exercising my brain that I demonstrate to myself that I love me.  I had someone say to me once after seeing a video of myself as my wallpaper on my cell phone – “You really love yourself”.  It triggered an old belief that I have to wait for someone else to recognize me.  It only lasted a split second.  I quickly replaced it with my new belief that I must love myself before I can love anyone else.  I realize in life that that is the biggest challenging for many people today.  Learning to accept their entire self.  Learning to be kind, forgiving and patient with themselves.  We must dig into that a little deeper another time.

Let me share with you what I discovered about the lyrics to this song that nourished my soul.  Linda Creed wrote the lyrics to “The Greatest Love of All”.  She teamed up with the composer Michael Masser to produce this song for the film “The Greatest”, a biopic of the great boxer Muhammad Ali launched in 1977.  Did you know that the song was originally recorded by George Benson and released in 1977?

Linda wrote the lyrics to this song while she was struggling with breast cancer.  She was diagnosed at the age of 26 with breast cancer.  Can you even imagine? I can’t.  The words to “The Greatest Love of All” expressed her feelings about how we must learn to deal with great challenges in life.  The lyrics were about being strong during those challenges whether you succeed or fail.  And the most touching discovery and lesson learned from the lyrics was to pass the strength that you used to get through your challenges on to your children so that they can use that strength to help them in their adult lives. I got tears in my eyes after reading this. We all want our kids to do better and not have to suffer the things we suffered.   It was only a few weeks before Whitney Houston’s recording of the song hit #1 when she passed away of breast cancer at the young age of 37.  She was married with two children.  When I sing this song again, it will never be the same.

Next time in your spare time, Google one of your favorite songs and learn the story behind the song.  I believe it will be nourishment to your soul.

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What are some of your favorite LOVE songs?  I will select one song and sing it on Valentine’s Day just for you.

Learn to Love Yourself!