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As we all mourn the loss of the great, talented, human and flawed Whitney Houston, the key word that rings in my heart is love.

What is love really?

One definition of love, according to Psychology Today, says “Love is inherently free. It cannot be bought, sold or traded. Love is a force of nature. However much we may want to, we cannot command, demand or disappear love. Love is bigger than you are. You can invite love, but you cannot dictate how, when, and where love expresses itself.”

Biblically speaking, according to First Corinthians 13:4-8, “Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

Love is the giving of ourselves.

When we consider the people, places, memories and things that we love and often lose too soon, it’s hard to say goodbye to that which we carry in our hearts. We mourn the loss. Those feelings can range from numbness, sadness, anger, resentment and more. When you really love, you can’t just turn those emotions off just because they may betray the hope and expectations that you have for it.

So, what to do?

I submit that it’s possible to love and still let go and move on. It’s not easy, but it may be necessary. The love in your heart won’t go away, so it begs the question, what do you do with all of that love?

Let’s look at the lyrics from Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All” to help guide our way:

I believe the children are our future

Teach them well and let them lead the way

Show them all the beauty they possess inside

Give them a sense of pride to make it easier

Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be

Everybody searching for a hero

People need someone to look up to

I never found anyone to fulfill my needs

A lonely place to be

So I learned to depend on me

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows

If I fail, if I succeed

At least I live as I believe

No matter what they take from me

They can’t take away my dignity

Because the greatest love of all

Is happening to me

I found the greatest love of all

Inside of me

The greatest love of all

Is easy to achieve

Learning to love yourself

It is the greatest love of all

Simply put, love yourself. When we lose someone or something, we grieve and it hurts. But you still need to love and be loved. Life is too short, so make sure to give yourself all of the love that you need. And while your loving on you, share some of that amazing love with a child who needs to experience the beauty, kindness and wisdom that’s inside of you.

Money, fame, power, positions all change. As it turns out, they are not the most valuable thing about you. Whitney was right: The one constant and greatest thing that we can ever offer is our love.

Deya “Direct” Smith is a producer on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” and host of “Girlfriend FM,” as well as “Beyond the Studio” celebrity interviews on She is also a motivational speaker, actress and social commentator. She can be reached at