Operation Hide Love Less

by Belinda Munoz on August 9, 2010

group hug

Last night, I got upset over something silly.  Something got to me and my often readily accessible sense of humor kept me from simply laughing it off (please tell me I’m not the only one!).  In the interest of protecting the innocent (in this case, you, dear readers), details of the drama will be spared.  However, what was unusual about it was my son, who normally would be preoccupied with an activity, tuned in to me.  He picked up on my frustration and, without hesitating, threw his arms around me.

In that instant, I melted.  I melted not because his disarming ways often reel me in.  I melted in the way that I often do when I’m struck that love is present.

I didn’t anticipate that my being upset would make him upset.  In an unexpected instance of role reversal, my son, with his unabashed instinct to express concern and protectiveness, gave me the biggest, sweetest hug and soothed me.  I’d like to think he learned that from me.  It’s almost exactly my style, minus the lecture, as I often give him one after he’s been soothed.  (I do believe his style is superior, just saying.)


That hug instantly transformed me.  It was loving, healing and, though I couldn’t have known at the time, was just what I needed.  I went from upset to reset within seconds.  (I’m theorizing that pre-schooler hugs, the unprompted kind, may have the same effect as a 90-minute deep-tissue massage.)


I would say no, because I haven’t seen a more compelling element that can change a person for the better.  Status?  No.  Conventionally-defined success?  No.  Beauty?  No.  But the answer to this question is not a foregone conclusion.  Ask any two Nelsons and they’ll say different things.  For Nelson Mandela, education is the most powerful thing there is to change the world.  For Nelson Rockefeller, the most powerful force on earth is love.  Who’s right and who’s wrong?


I believe that love is present everywhere.  Cerebrally speaking, it makes sense to believe that love is everywhere.  We’re all human; humans have the muscle for love; it’s human to exercise that muscle and humans are everywhere.  Yet, every now and then, I don’t just want to believe.  I want proof; to see it with my own eyes.  In front of me; not as told to me by credible sources.  Past my bubble of a world where everyone loves me (or at least has learned to tolerate me).  Away from Shakespearean sonnets and singer-songwriter love songs.

Though we humans talk and write about love endlessly, we don’t always show love, do we?  I’d even venture to say we hide it.  Overtime, we learn to mask our vulnerability, maybe even our essence, along with our instinct to express sympathy and a desire to connect.  We keep to ourselves; insular and withdrawn, opting for less meaning/significance/connection/trouble, some may say, than more.

Oh, I see love sometimes.  It’s just that I’d like to see and show it more instead of hide it more.  Wouldn’t you?


The little ones love to play peek-a-boo. Their unaffected and non-self-conscious ways, a sort of moonbeam to me in these literally foggy nights, remind me daily that, unlike them, I’ve learned to hide love.

I’m reluctant to dispense advice in this space because: 1) a lot of advice is common sense, 2) we all have common sense; some are less confident than others to use it 3) we each have to figure out for ourselves what path or course of action is right for us and 4) I believe that there is far more wisdom in each person than he/she acknowledges.  Still, I for one would like to see love more and hide love less.  And so, I think the way to make this happen, as I’ve observed the little ones do it, is by:

  • becoming more generous with sympathy
  • listening without judgment
  • seeing/accepting someone for who they are — flawed and exquisite
  • acknowledging that everyone is worth the time, effort and trouble
  • not withholding smiles, giggles and laughter
  • being helpful if help is needed
  • refraining from dispensing unsolicited advice (because who wants it?)
  • being supportive
  • hug without a lecture
  • accepting that people will love who they love


What do you think of Operation Hide Love Less?  Is it unnecessary?  Is there enough love in the world that we couldn’t use more of it?

What are your strategies/tactics for hiding love less?

Anyone else thrilled about California’s Proposition 8 having been overturned recently?


Image by CarbonNYC

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tony Single August 9, 2010 at 5:23 am

Belinda, this was a shot in the arm for me. Wonderful! :)

I won’t answer those questions because I’d prefer to see what your other readers have to say. Don’t hit me! :P

Instead, I’ll leave you with this thought…

Giving advice is easy, passing judgement only natural, but showing love is both difficult and divine.


2 TheKitchenWitch August 9, 2010 at 6:36 am

I’m already a fan of this operation, Belinda. Beautiful idea. It can only make this world richer, don’t you think?


3 The Exception August 9, 2010 at 7:12 am

This is a wonderful idea. I noted the people around me on the metro during the last two weeks… I found myself thinking more nice things in general toward them. Whether or not the vibration changed around me – I don’t know, but I noticed that I felt better and smiled more – the load was lightened a little even if I just silently wished them a wonderful day.
My daughter, on the other hand, greets everyone she sees with a Good Morning or a Good Afternoon or just a hello. She recognizes them as people who share her world. I am not sure that this is sharing love – or sharing love for life – but I wonder if it makes people feel more love and greater connection when another notes them as sharing this world?

Love the idea


4 BigLittleWolf August 9, 2010 at 11:16 am

Listening without judgment. That’s a big one, and such a toughie for so many adults. We could learn a thing or two from our kids on that. The ones who just throw their arms around us, and would never think to judge.


5 Steve Scott Site August 9, 2010 at 11:44 am

That is the best type of love, unconditional love that surprises you. Children are great at it and adults need to learn to do it more often and more frequently. Thanks for a great post.



6 Dia August 9, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Hi Belinda,

Many people think that they can’t learn from children, but we sure learn from them all the time. Children are so good about giving love and they don’t hide it. We should do the same. Thanks for sharing


7 Tess The Bold LIfe August 9, 2010 at 4:12 pm

I’m not sure what you write is advice I think of them as suggestions and/or reminders. I think what your son did was loving in the moment…no holding back.

Oh yes and I fall into childlike behavior as well. You are not alone. Maybe alone in admitting it!

I love where you used the words flawed and exquisite together that is all of us and we’re all in need of giving and receiving love…no holding back. Tell your son thanks for the lesson.


8 Patty - Why Not Start Now? August 9, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Operation Hide Love Less is brilliant, Belinda. And your story about your moment with your son is touching and telling. All of it comes together in one beautiful whole, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the overthrow of Prop 8. Yipee!!!


9 Aging Mommy August 10, 2010 at 6:20 am

I think for anyone who has a young child as you and I do these things you learn as a matter of course, watching your child live by these guidelines each and every day. If I am ever really worried or upset my daughter instantly tunes in and offers words of support “it’s OK Mommy” or is especially nice and is naturally empathetic. I have learnt so very much from her. But my old pre-Motherhood self could have done with Operation Hide Love Less and the post-M version of me is still a work in progress :-)


10 Sara August 10, 2010 at 8:34 am


This is great…blog synchronicity hits again. I just came from Mark’s site and he talked about being able to hit our “default” button to return to your baby (natural ) state and now I’m here talking about love. I think Merlin had it right, we need to learn to live backwards, at least in our hearts.

I think what your son did is pick up on your energy because he hasn’t learned yet to filter it out, as we tend to do as adults. So, he knew what you needed, instinctively. Maybe, Operation Hide Love Less, is teaching us how to think and feel like a child again, when love is abundant and not doled out carefully because of fear and uncertainty:~)

I really like the idea of Operation Hide Love Less:~)

p.s I had to look up Proposition 8 in California. I certainly agree that it deserved to be overturned – love is love! I believe it doesn’t matter who is doing the loving, as long as it’s real and caring:~)


11 rob white August 10, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Thats a good one, Belinda. Its amazing we all fall back into moodiness or crankiness and don’t even know it. It is our loved ones who see us best and can snap us out of it… my wife did this marvelously for me just this weekend. It is a great reality check… no matter how “enlightened” or “evolved” we think we are we can slide back into the 8 year old kid trying to get his way.


12 Christine LaRocque August 11, 2010 at 4:58 pm

You are a wise wonderful woman. And this post resonates with me right now just when I need it most. When I need the perspective of an act so simple and yet so profound. Thank you for this. For providing clarity. And also for sending me off to seek one of those hugs right now!


13 Kate August 11, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Yes. Great advice, lovely operation. Last week I was struck by a stranger’s genuine smiles. I have been trying to figure out how her smile changed my day so dramatically. She was showing her love, for her son, for life. I’m in.


14 Meg August 12, 2010 at 8:19 am

Finally had a chance to catch up with your posts! I cheered when I read about Prop 8 the other day, but still feel trepidation as it goes through further legal processes. It means so much to have equality in place.

Hide Love Less should be met with See Love More. I’ve seen plenty of gestures of love and nonjudgmental acceptance just go right on by the recipient. Part of the effectiveness of your son’s hug was the fact you are open to connection with your son. The same result is not guaranteed if it were from a child you did not know. We are all so guarded that sometimes the kindness of those who are not our nearest and dearest does not register as deeply as it could.

This isn’t intended to rain on your parade, but to respond to the question you pose about there being enough love in the world already. I don’t think there is, but I think there may be more of it than we realize. On that note, love and hugs to ya :)


15 Aileen August 12, 2010 at 12:52 pm

YES to Operation Hide Love Less!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love really can be a simple and easy thing to give and share and express & it is incredibly powerful. I am a fan of Nelson Mandela but I have to say in this argument Nelson Rockefeller wins LOVE is more powerful than education.

I am beyond thrilled to hear that Prop 8 has been overturned I hope it stands!


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