There are so many ways to love, and to love better. Let’s concentrate on five for today.
1. Focus on one good quality.
Especially when you’re feeling critical and grumpy, ask yourself, What is one characteristic of this person that is wonderful and that I should not overlook? Focusing on a quality you appreciate can help you ease up on the one thing this moment that really irritates you. This can change the course of your feelings and your conversation.
Maybe you’ve been with this person for 40 years and you can finish his sentences. Still, there’s a lot there you don’t know and that you don’t see. You can’t get inside another person’s soul. Sometimes all you have to go on is what you learn by listening with attention and openness. Don’t assume you already know what he wants or why she is hurt, or what would make this person happy right now.
3. Laugh a little.
Laughter can bring relief and release to just about any situation. Maybe you’re taking yourself too seriously. Maybe you are weighing down the relationship with too much intensity and expectation. Allow yourself to see the humor every day.
4. Don’t underestimate the power of good conversation.
This is why it’s important for people—whether they are in a romantic relationship or some other friendship—to develop common interests. When we participate in a robust discussion about films or books or hiking destinations or a favorite sport or plans for charitable work, we stimulate each other and give fresh energy to mind and heart. There is no substitute for a conversation of substance.
5. Work toward the other’s good.
It’s difficult to do this while you’re obsessing over your own life. From time to time, ask yourself, How can I help this person succeed? How can I encourage him/her to nurture dreams and gifts? By shifting focus to the other person, you are freeing yourself of self-centeredness and opening your life to better love.
What sentence or two would you add to this list?