Four Ways to Love Your Way to A Happier Life
You may start each day with a cup of coffee or a Danish, but that coffee can be bolder and that Danish much sweeter if you also start each day with love. Love is not some mysterious phenomenon. It is a natural part of who and what we are. Love is a force of nature, adds Psychology Today author Deborah Anapol, saying love cannot be bought, sold, turned on or off, and is inherently free. Even coffee and a Danish will cost you a buck or two.
Incorporating love into your life can result in better health, improved relationships and a heck of a lot more fun. One way to start is by targeting four main areas that can particularly benefit from a little love, or even a lot of love as the case may be.
Love your enemies
Loving your enemies may not be as difficult as you think, especially since it does not have to involve smothering them in a big, fat bear hug. You just have to stop throwing darts.
Any form of hate or resentment that festers deep inside acts like artery-clogging cholesterol when it comes to blocking the flow of love. Even if you have a seemingly valid reason to hang on to that hate or resentment in a stranglehold, you’ll feel so much better if you let it go. A good way to start letting it go is not necessarily focus on loving your enemy, but just not hating them.
You can also include two off love’s offshoots, compassion and understanding, to make the process a bit easier. Try to understand why a so-called enemy did what they did that created such hate and resentment in you. If you see things from their perspective, you may be able to loosen that stranglehold just a little. The compassion kicks in when you realize that, alas, everyone makes mistakes, everyone acts jerky sometimes and yes, everyone is human.
Compassion for fellow man alone can help transform hatred and resentment into love, or at least a non-clogging neutrality. One more helpful way to tone down hate is to remember that not only is everyone human, but they also started out as an innocent little baby who may have been sweet, kind and downright adorable. It’s much harder to hate a sweet baby than it is to hate an annoying adult.
Love what you do
Loving what you do works best in your dream job, but the concept can apply to any situation. Even if you’re in a field that feels like its sucking away your very soul, you can find reasons to love it. Start by listing the good things about the job, such as your coworkers, your boss or maybe your salary.
At the very least, you can always love what you do after the day job. Engage in activities you love, if you remember what they are. If you’re having trouble remembering, make a “love list” of things that used to bring you joy and spot check to see if they still do. Try new things that sound interesting. Get out and live beyond your cubicle.
No time for such seemingly frivolous stuff? Make time. As one adage notes, “If you don’t set your priorities, someone else will.” And you may not like the priorities they set. Plan at least one fun activity every week. Increase it to once a day. They don’t have to be monumental activities, either. Perhaps you love reading, drawing or walking in the afternoon sun.
Love your friends
Loving your friends may seem like an obvious thing to do, but it’s not always evident. Loving your friends means more than running to them when you need a favor, a shopping pal or a shoulder on which to weep. It means showing them love by not taking them for granted, treating them with respect and offering that same shoulder when it’s their turn to weep.
If you already have loving relationships with your friends, you’re way ahead of the game. Those that don’t, however, may want to examine why not. Perhaps you’re too swaddled in your own priorities to take the time and energy to be a good friend. Maybe you’re both too busy to stay connected. In that case, include a friend or two in an activity you love to do.
On the other hand, your friends may seem difficult to love, or at least love as a friend. In such cases an examination of the friendship may be in order. Just because someone used to share your viewpoints and interests does not mean you are tied at the hip for life.
If your friends are weighing you down more than they are bringing you up, you have the right to distance yourself and cool down the friendships. This is not to say that a friend who happens to annoy you one day should be kicked to the curb. That would not be loving at all. It is to say, however, that a friend that begins to annoy you more than delight you may not be the best choice for a friend. You do not have to stop loving that person or treating that person with love, but you can stop subjecting yourself to such negativity.
Loving yourself may be one of the toughest tasks out there, but it is also one of the most vital. It is difficult, if not downright impossible, to fully offer love to others if you are stewing in your own self-contempt. Self-love is much healthier – and a heck of a lot more fun.
So how do you go about loving yourself? The first step is kicking out any low self-worth or lack of self-esteem. One way to do that is by surrounding yourself with people who treat you with the respect and kindness you deserve. Find friends who appreciate your positive qualities and don’t mind letting you know.
Once you begin to bask in – and truly believe – what your friends, coworkers or others are telling you, you will begin to require less outside validation to back up the fact. All the validation you need is already deep in your heart; it may just need a little jump-start.
Take a look at your positive qualities and all the good you do. Examine your talents and accomplishments. Meditate daily on the positive things in your life and the wonderful gifts you share with the world. Make a list of at least 10 things for which you are grateful and bask in how lovely your life is. Once you realize how wonderful your life already is, you can enjoy being the person who is living it.
If loving yourself sounds like too steep an order from the get-go, start with smaller steps. Begin by not hating yourself. Stop berating yourself for the slightest mistakes. Use the same tactics you used to love you enemies. Remember you were once a sweet baby. Remember you are only human.
Treat yourself with the same loving kindness you would show a friend, as a loving relationship with yourself is the one friendship that is truly everlasting. And one you certainly deserve.
This article is written by Ryn Gargulinski for Mind Power World: http://www.MindPowerWorld.com