You know what's unfortunate? The fact that we think "love" is only a consuming romantic feeling, or anything that makes us swoon. If we thought of love (and happiness even) as even the smallest, most ordinary acts of kindness and friendship, wouldn't life be so much better? (Yes, yes it would.) There isn't anyone in the world who couldn't use a little more love in their lives, and if we're being totally honest, the only reason why they don't have it is because they don't see it. (Corny, but true: it's not that we're ever lacking love, only a more positive frame-of-mind.)
I say enough of that. We all need to learn to love ourselves and the people around us more, and the reason why that often feels so intimidating or off-putting is because we think of love as being difficult or sacrificial or ultimately more emotionally strenuous than we really have the energy for. While sometimes these things are true, a lot of the time... they're not. We can think of giving and receiving love as just going easier on ourselves, eating something we enjoy, complimenting someone we love, going to bed early, a small but anonymous act of kindness... the list goes on and on.
The point is that letting more love into your life can be (and kinda should be) effortless — it's the only way you'll realistically sustain it, anyway. So here are a few points to help you start doing just that. It doesn't have to be major to be impactful, and you don't have to sacrifice everything to be able to give just enough.
Read more about things you love, of other people's stories that you normally wouldn't read. Leave your phone home and take a book to a park or a café. Stories have a way of opening your heart and mind in ways you never would have thought of before.
Actively And Consciously Seek The Good In Others
You hear that phrase all the time, but so few people know what it really means, or realize they don't do it! Our auto-pilot tends to be looking for negative qualities or "things that need to be fixed" first — it has to do with not being threatened and ensuring our safety and yadda yadda. So for today, decide to pick out the good qualities in people and treat them as though they are as good as their potential — they are, after all.
Think About Others The Way You Want To Be Thought Of
If you want others to think of you neutrally, or in high regard, practice thinking of them that way, first.
Let Yourself Accept The Love That's Already In Your Life
When someone says "I'm grateful for you," bask in that feeling of being appreciated. When someone compliments you, don't just peg it as another notch on the belt that proves you're OK — really sit for a moment and let yourself feel that someone cares about you. Let people help you. Let them love you in all the ways they already try to.
Let Yourself Be Loved For More Than Just Your Problems
This is a major one that people usually don't even realize is at play: people like to create and then sustain personal life issues because they think it gives them love. If they're in pain, people have to pay attention; if they're "not OK," it's a cry to the universe to finally do them justice. But this doesn't bring us any closer to love, or not the love we really want anyway. Learn to let yourself be loved in the small ways, and let that be enough.
Think About What You've Done, Not What's Left To Do
Not how far you have to go, or how behind you care compared to so-and-so. If you let yourself do this, you'll realize that focusing on what you've done thus far motivates you to keep going, not the other way around.
Commit To An Anonymous Act Of Kindness
Do something generous for which you do not receive any benefit, not even recognition. A truly rewarding, and completely loving thing, doesn't necessarily have to be massively sacrificial, but has to be done without the intent of "getting something in return," even if that "something" is just someone thinking of you as a kind person.
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