(This article is the second part of a 2-part series on Love)
Ah, the word love.
Such a short word with such significant meaning and potentially massive impact.
With all the events going on nationally, I felt inspired to talk about love, mainly because I think we could all use a big dose of it right now.
Last week on the blog I talked about how we can love ourselves more because I believe that self-love is the foundation we need to be able to truly love others.
But loving yourself can be hard. And loving others can be even harder.
Think about these questions for a minute:
- If you hate the way you look, how can you truly love the way others look in a genuine, non-judgmental or jealous way?
- If you hate your life, how can you tell others to love theirs?
- If someone wrongs you, how do you send love back?
- If someone says mean or hurtful things to you, how do you not internalize their wrong and believe the things they said to be true?
It is hard to counteract negativity in the world when we don’t have a strong foundation of love within ourselves.
And the truth is, to truly love, unconditionally, with no obstacles, no expectations, no preconceived notions, is actually sometimes kind of hard.
So HOW do we love others more?
HOW do we nurture our relationships?
Step 1: Practice self-love. Remember, it starts with YOU! You can’t truly send love to others in your life if you can’t send love to yourself. Read Part 1 of this series to learn about how to love yourself more.
Step 2: Give without the expectation of receiving anything back. This is a hard one, I know. Especially with the climate of the country. Lots of judgement, lots of anger. But maybe rather than build emotional walls and tune each other out, it’s instead time to really, truly give. Focus on taking care of friends and family that need your help. Volunteer at a local animal shelter. Bring the elderly in your community meals. Donate money to a cause that is important to you. Focus on creating the world that you want, and start with your personal relationships and the community in which you live. Focus on building others up rather than knocking them down.
Step 3: Let others feel what they need to feel. As a clinician, I recognize how important it is to validate someone’s emotions. I have seen many relationships suffer greatly from lack of communication and the true validation of feelings. Nobody should ever negate anyone else’s feelings. When you have a friend or family member express their sadness, anger, or frustration, just being able to listen and acknowledge their feelings is an incredibly powerful skill. More often than not, we don’t even really need to respond. Remember that we can show unconditional love by showing others that we recognize their human experience and offer to be a part of their experience by simply hearing what they are saying.
Step 4: Let go of expectations. Again, this is a tough one. We all love to set up expectations for how we think others should act and feel. We project our values, beliefs, and ways of being on to other people. However, this is what causes us distress and disagreements. Lower your expectations of others around you. Show them love by letting them be who they need to be in the way that works for them. This is also a powerful way to express true love to those in your life.
So there you go!
Those are a few of my tips on how to share love with others in your life.
And now I want to hear from you – how do you express true, unconditional love to those in your life?
Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!