Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Worth Revisiting: How to Become a More Loving Person: 10 Ways to Begin...

I know you've heard this.
"You can't give what you don't have."
This is a truth.
Unless you have love,
you can't give it away.
In order to give love,
you must become a more loving person.
When you're empty and drained,
this is hard to do.
When you're empty and drained,
loving, as well as, opening yourself up to be loved,
is hard to do.
We all want love.
We all want to be more loving and lovable.  So, what do you do?
1) You need to take care of yourself.  We could all improve our health.  We could all improve our gifts and talents.  We could all improve our souls.  In order to do these and other self improvements, we need to take the time to be a little selfish and self centered so that when we emerge from our times of self, we can give away that which has developed in us.  Love.
This means:  eating less to loose weight, establishing self discipline, going to the doctor when we are ill, resting when we need to do so, playing when we need a break, etc. etc. etc.  The list will grow, but we need to give ourselves permission to take care of ourselves, too.
2) We need to play.  Yes, I said PLAY.  We need to have fun through play because we relax when we have fun.  I feel very strongly that play should be active.  I know that reading is very soothing for many of us, but, I also feel that this is relaxation, not play.  To me, play is doing something we consider fun, and, in that play, there is movement.  For example, going for a walk, using a hoola hoop to get our bodies moving, playing tennis, bowling.  Add to the list.  You will find something you like to do and it will be a great source of joy for you when you play.
3) We need to relax.  All right, this is where reading becomes an asset.  Write in your journal.  If you don't have one, start one.  You don't need to write much, maybe a line or two a day, but in that writing, you will be recording and expressing yourself.  Sitting by a pool relaxes us.  I prefer the ocean, but Minnesota does not have an ocean.  Watching TV, not mindlessly, but a good movie or old TV show.  These are good ways to relax.  Add to this list.  It's hard to go wrong.
4) We need to socialize.  I know it's easy to say if you want to have friends, be a friend.  Well, some of us are shy and reclusive and enjoy our time alone, but the fact is that we were made to be social, so, it's important to come out of our shells and get into the community.  Volunteer at a worthy organization.  Go to the food shelter and give some time to them.  If you love animals, go to your local vet and see if they know of volunteer opportunities where you might apply.  If you like quiet and books, go to the library.  Perhaps there you will find volunteer opportunities, even if it means shelving your beloved books.  Add to this list.  Just get out of your house and interact with others
5) Practice the art of gratitude.  It's been proven now that the people who are the most happy people are those who are most grateful.  Practice this art.  Say thank you when someone does something nice for you.  Tell a vet thank you for his service to our country.  Keep a gratitude journal.  Realize how blessed you are, even if you are poor, you are probably richer than many people in this world.  Be aware that there are those for whom a good day is finding enough food to eat or drinking clean water, even in our country.  Be grateful.  
6) Practice the art of good deeds.   Set a goal of doing 3 nice things for people a day.  Anyone can benefit from your kindness.  Sometimes, smiling at someone and saying hello is one of the kindest things you can do for them.  Open and hold a door for a mom with small children.  Let someone go ahead of you in the checkout line that has one thing versus your ten things to check out.  Pay for an order of food at a take out place, if you can afford it,  for the people behind you.  Add to this list.  You might want to keep track of what you do.  Maybe just using paperclips to mark the number or keep a journal.  That's up to you, but this is a good practice for your everyday life.
7) Practice the art of kindness.  Instead of passing on the latest gossip you've heard, don't.  So much of what we hear is not true.  If someone begins to gossip about another person, stop them.  Tell them kindly that you just don't want to hear about it.  Help someone at work who might be stuck on a project.  Do this without thought of reward.  Bring treats for the workers in a nursing home.  If you need to be at the doctor frequently, bring treats for them.  Instead of answering a question with a quick response that might be mistaken for impatience, thank the person for asking, and answer them in a kind way.
8) Practice the art of patience.  When you're driving down the street and you get stuck behind that person who is going well under the speed limit, and you can't pass them, bless them.  Be patient.  Eventually, we hope, they will turn.  Instead of sighing while waiting at the checkout because the  person in front of you has so many things and you have so few, take the extra time to breathe in and out.  Smile.  That always helps.  When you see small children at church who are driving their parents insane because they are trying to teach these children how to behave properly, but they are children, forgive the parents.  They are doing the best they can.  Be patient.  
9) Practice the art of not complaining.   When things are not going right, move yourself out of the way.  Don't complain.  If you need help, seek it.  Someone might be able to bless you with the gift of their experience and help you in your need  Remember, asking for help and not complaining are two different deeds.  
10) Practice the art of giving others the benefit of the doubt.  Do you remember when others gave you the benefit of the doubt and you were able to prove them right or wrong as the case may be?  It felt good to have someone else say, "Well, I'm not sure.  Go ahead and try it."  If no one has ever done that for you, do it for someone else.  Add to this list.  There are many other ways to practice this art, so be creative in your quest.
None of these goals can be mastered over night.  We have become a society in which there is little to no love.  The quest has become one of power and the self.  I'm not speaking about romantic love.  I'm speaking of mutual love and respect for our fellow human beings.  Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a world where people were nice to each other all the time?  Where there were no games played?  No one had to be a winner?  No one had to be a looser?  Where power was not the name of the game?
Love is the way around this emptiness.  Become a more loving person.  Work at this and add to the list.  I know there are more creative ways to love.  Never go a day when you don't show someone that you love and appreciate them.  It takes time, but this list is doable.  Go for it!

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