A while back I wrote about the question “What is love?” The answer was personal, and yet, also universal.
Once you figure out what love is, it’s time to determine how to love. How can you demonstrate to the people in your life that you love them?
How to Come From a Place of Love
You can’t love someone else if you’re filled with self-doubt and hatred for yourself. Those nagging negative feelings that you have about your own (perceived) shortcomings will undoubtedly wiggle their way into the lives of those you care about. In order to truly show love you have to come from a place in your heart that is pure. Here are some points to keep in mind when learning how to love:
- Stop comparing your life to someone else’s. You’ll never be truly happy for the good things that happen to your friends and family if you’re hung up on what you don’t have.
- Understand that love doesn’t mean control. On the surface, caring enough about someone to advise them on their life seems like a good thing. You love them and want them to get out of bad relationships, make smarter choices, and you tell them this. But if your advice comes across as judgment, your good intentions will feel the same to your friend as treatment from someone who doesn’t love them.
- Ask for some spiritual guidance. If you’re confused on how to show love or how your actions might be perceived, take a step back and pray or meditate on it. You’ll get the answer when you slow down enough to listen.
The Way You Express Love Can Change With Time
You’ll have a different path for each person in your life when it comes to learning how to love. For a mom, loving her children means she has to guide them, watch out for them, and many times, say no to them. Being friends is possible, but usually only after her kids are grown. Her love won’t change, but the way she expresses it will.
As that same mom grows older, the way her children express love will also change. As kids, they may try and listen to her to show her love. As mom gets older, they may help care for her and worry about her as part of the way they love her.
The same is true with romantic relationships and even friends. Time will change the way your love is expressed based on each person’s preference, the years you are together, and the individual needs you each have.
Learning How to Love the People In Your Life
Love might mean something slightly different to the various people in your life. Generally speaking, behaving in a positive and uplifting way goes a long way in how to love someone. But people receive love in different ways. One person may feel the love in your daily phone calls while another might love the fact that you’re such a great listener. When it comes to loving people, you need to get to know them. Find out what makes them tick, and how they prefer to be loved.
If you get the feeling that the people in your life aren’t receptive to the love you are giving them, take a step back and try and see things from their perspective. If need be, ask them, “I’d like to support you. What would you like me to do?” As awkward as this might seem, it can help head off years of miscommunication down the road. In an effort to understand the people in our life, sometimes we need to ask questions that will help us love them more completely.