Share Button: Scott Stabile's "Big Love" encourages people to express themselves
Love is the answer. Love will find a way. Love the one you’re with. Love is never having to say you’re sorry.
But what does it really mean to embrace love and share that love with others?
Author Scott Stabile shares his thoughts on this and so much more on his social media accounts (followed by more than 350,000 people) and in his new book, Big Love: The Power of Living With a Wide-Open Heart. (He'll also share his ideas live at Nicola’s Books on Wednesday, September 13 at 7 pm.)
“When I started my (Facebook) page about five years ago, I’d post one thing a day -- something super positive to give people some positivity in their lives," he says. One day, a woman left a comment that said sometimes not everyone could be that positive, that some people were going through some heavy stuff. This encouraged me to look at what I wanted to do with this page and prompted me to share more of myself as opposed to just sharing memes.”
After opening up into his personal life, Stabile noticed that “the energy of the page shifted. I started to see comments like ‘it’s good to know I’m not alone’ and ‘I feel that way too.’ ... It was an opportunity to connect with people in a much deeper way which we can only do when we tell the full truth of our story.” Along the way, Stabile says, “the process (of sharing) has become easier because I’m so committed to putting it all out there.”
Big Love shares very intimate details of the author’s life, starting with the brutal murders of his parents at their Detroit market when Stabile was just 14 years old. From there, he talks about the death of his brother from a heroin overdose and the 13 years he spent in a group that he describes as a cult. The book is comprised of heartfelt, often breathtaking essays clearly written from Stabile’s heart and with his trademark positivity.
Stabile’s emphasis on the positive side of life is catching -- but what would he tell someone who is by nature, say, kind of nebbish and neurotic? Stabile laughs, “We aren’t here to be one extreme or the other. I was a consummate ‘Pollyanna,’ but this isn’t any more real than someone who is negative all the time. At least 50% of our thought process has the potential to be positive in a situation -- just try it and see what kind of difference it might make. Also, the idea of self-care is having a big moment right now and thinking positively is a part of that.”
He recognizes that thinking optimistically does not come naturally to everyone. “Life is difficult and (thinking positively) takes effort. You don’t just wish to be happy and boom, there you are. There is power in recognizing that this reality can be ugly, but it’s also beautiful and full of wonderful possibilities. Where we put our energies does matter -- once the horrible evil things start to register and once we start going down the path of negative thinking, we can interrupt that flow.”
As he writes, the “process (of sharing personal information) has become much easier because I’m so committed to putting it all out there.” Stabile stresses the importance of using ourselves and our love to build connections. He says, “We’re all struggling, all dealing with grief and triumph.”
Prior to Big Love, Stabile published a coffee-table-style book called just love. This book “featured other photographers’ pictures but my words.” For his second book, he “realized I wanted to write a book that was not just memes, wanted to write something more substantial” and was thrilled when New World Publishers (based in San Francisco) picked up the book. Having a physical book is important to Stabile because “not everyone is on social media, so the book provides the opportunity to meet more people and connect with them.”
Ultimately, Stabile wants readers to come away feeling less alone in their lives and even though it’s easy to feel like you are the only one going through something, you are not alone. “We can all connect with each other in our own version of these situations and that’s where we find empathy. If people choose love, then they can build a basis for kindness, forgiveness, and compassion.”
Patti F. Smith is a special education teacher and writer who lives in Ann Arbor with her husband and cat.
Scott Stabile will appear at Nicola’s Books on Wednesday, September 13 at 7 pm. Visit nicolasbooks.com for more information.