Every experience you have during your day is an opportunity to choose Love. How you decide to act in every moment matters. Don’t look at the big occasions; look at the small moments in your life when you react in anger, or lose your temper, when someone says or does something that triggers an instant reaction within you. When you find yourself in one of these moments, ask yourself: why am I reacting this way now?
The answer might be that you are taking what the other person is saying or doing personally. But what people do is because of themselves, not because of you. Their acts or interactions with you show who they are and what they think, and have nothing to do with who you are. But throughout your life, you may have learned to take things personally and interpret the interactions with others as “things people do to me.” But they don’t really do anything to you, they do it to themselves.
The other day I had an uncomfortable interaction with the person at the security desk in my building. She told me something in a bad tone; she was rude. It was late, and I was tired. My answer to her was to question why I had to do what she was asking me to. I used the same bad tone she had used to talk to me. She triggered something within me. But none of that matters. I missed an opportunity to choose Love, to answer calmly and politely to her, in a loving way. I forgot that her behavior was all about her, her bad mood, or maybe her way of being. It had nothing to do with me.
Don’t look at what others do; look at what you feel when others do something. Remember that nobody is able to make you think or feel anything; only you can. Then take the time to observe what you think and feel in that moment, and ask yourself: Why am I feeling this now? It may feel challenging to do at the moment when you are in the experience, but try anyway or do it later. Become aware of what is happening within you.
When you observe yourself and become aware of your reactions without blaming others, you discover valuable things about yourself, like patterns of thought and behavior. Maybe they have always been there, but you never saw them before. You may remember similar situations you lived in the past where you were triggered in the same way, or realize that the relationship with certain kinds of people has always been challenging for you.
When I asked myself why I reacted in my encounter with the security person, I noticed that it had something to do with my opinion about authority figures and the abuse of power. I also saw that I felt “less than” when she treated me in a way I considered disrespectful. It was not about her; it was about me and how I see the world and myself. She touched many things within me. But they are not reasons for not choosing peace, Love, and harmony no matter what her way of being was.
Love is a state of being, not something you decide to share with some people and not with others. You are Love, and you can show it everywhere you go, at the supermarket, at work, in the post office, gym, or with your family and friends. Decide not to take things personally; do it because you Love yourself. Allow others to make their own choices. It is not your task to judge them.
If you want more Love in the world, start bringing more Love into your life and those around you. Don’t ask others to be loving. Bring the Love yourself. You can say what you want to say, declare what you consider unacceptable, or set up boundaries. But do it without answering aggression with aggression, anger with anger, and unkindness with unkindness.
The world we live in can be transformed if you decide to transform yourself. We are always waiting for things to change, but you are the change agent. In every moment of your life, you have a choice; always choose Love. The kind of Love that includes peace, kindness, harmony, balance, awareness, understanding, patience, and forgiveness. Choose Love in action.
"The people who inspire me most are those who are willing to see the world from a loving perspective. People who perceive obstacles as opportunities and problems as
spiritual assignments. People who choose Love"
We all want to be loved and appreciated for who we are. We wish to establish relationships that are easy and bring amazing Love and happiness to our lives. But many times, we have problems in our relationships, and we suffer. Love becomes a complicated matter. How can we learn to Love better? By loving. Loving more and more.
Love starts within yourself. The greatest Love of all, is the Love you have for yourself. The more Self-Love you cultivate, the more Love you will generate and can share with others. When you are in a relationship, you share the Love that you already have. Love is not an exchange: you give me your Love, and I give you mine. It becomes something greater when you don’t put limits or conditions on your Love, and you Love freely and abundantly.
Love Yourself to avoid complications in relationships. When problems arise, it may seem difficult not to take things personally in your relationships. But the way the other person acts only demonstrates who they are, not the amount of Love of which you are worthy. It is easy to interpret what others do to you and the pain you receive as: “I don’t deserve their Love,” “There is something wrong with me,” or “I am not good enough to be loved.” The more you Love yourself, the better you will avoid relationships where there is conflict and power struggles, judgments, the need to control, or drama.
Love brings out the best in yourself. When you establish a relationship of any kind, remember that one of the purposes of relationships is that we are together to grow together. There are relationships that bring out the best of who you are. Just because you are with that person, you become a better you. These are the ones you should cultivate. You don’t have to share the same opinions about everything, but you need to respect the other person and give them enough room to grow. Look for what unites you, and don’t focus on your differences and what separates you.
Love is not about solving someone else’s life. When you Love someone, you may feel the temptation of helping the other person “too much,” trying to fix their problems, saving them from their challenges, or sacrificing yourself for their wellbeing. When you do that, you are not really loving the other person; you may be controlling them. You take away their opportunities to change, grow and learn in their own way, or make their decisions.
To be real, Love has to be free. It cannot be managed or strategized. It has to flow. Pay attention to yourself to discover patterns of thought or behavior that you may not have realized. For example, when you fear being abandoned, this fear can be triggered unexpectedly. If you are afraid of losing Love, you may change your behavior to be sure you please the other person and that the relationship continues. What you don’t realize is that you stop being yourself. You disappear and give your power away to be sure the other person stays in the relationship, because to receive their Love is more important than yourself. You are not free anymore; you are attached to a Love you don’t want to lose.
Love is a decision you make daily. It is not a passing feeling. It is a state of being. You decide to Love. You can Love others in spite of who they are because it is your decision. You decide with whom you share your Love. You can Love the entire Universe and everything on it, including its oceans, trees, and animals, or just your loved ones. It is up to you. The more Love you share, the more you will receive. It multiplies. The Love you give will always return to you. Love is always within YOU.
"We really have to understand the person we want to love. If our love is only a will to possess,
it is not love. If we only think of ourselves, if we know only our own needs
and ignore the needs of the other person, we cannot love"
Thich Nhat Hanh
For some people, it is easier to give than to receive. We receive many instructions about how important it is to give during our education and in our culture. Good people Love and give to others is a message imprinted in our minds. We have many opportunities for giving, for being there when others need us, volunteering, checking on others, helping not only those you Love but everyone. And you get something out of it as well; it makes you feel great. It is so rewarding to serve others, to give, to offer what you have.
Maybe nobody has explained to you that it is equally important to receive gracefully. We cannot only emphasize giving and forget the other end. Never put conditions to the Love you receive. Accept it with an open heart and be grateful for it. If something arrives to you it is because you deserve it. Be ready to receive without feeling that you have to give something in return. It is time to receive!
You cannot receive what you don’t believe can be yours. Feeling unworthy of something guarantees that you cannot have it, and you may even reject it. Someone may offer you their Love and care, but you cannot accept or feel it because you don’t think you deserve it. Love is real when there is a flow of giving and receiving, when balance exists. We know how to Love, it is natural, but we often put limits to the Love we receive from others, stopping it from getting to us.
You are a precious gift. Your uniqueness makes you special. Share yourself. Give yourself to others. Show the world who you are. Express your gifts. Don’t hide thinking that you are not good enough to be seen for who you are. You are not just one more human being. There is only one like you. Share your Love, smile, hugs, laughter, conversation, insights, compassion, your sense of humor. Give all of who you are and see what comes back to you.
We also have to learn how to give to ourselves. We, inadvertently, may put ourselves last on our list. We keep giving until we are depleted. This Love, care, time, and attention you give to others, turn it in on yourself. Do it because you Love yourself. You deserve your own Love. You need the understanding and nurturing you offer to everyone. Devote time to know what you need and give it to you.
I lost myself in relationships where I thought I had to give and give more to keep the relationship alive. I abandoned myself to nurture others. Now I know that it doesn’t work to give in this way. There has to be balance. There are moments to give, and it is so pleasurable to do it. But Love is not sacrificing. We need to replenish our batteries before they are empty, or we won’t be able to continue giving. In Love, we support others, but we need to support ourselves and be supported as well. Live and give Love, and open yourself to receiving it.
"He had always known that to truly receive, you had to give. Now he understood the equal truth: that to be able to give with a whole heart you had to be prepared to receive in turn”
We all want to be recognized, understood, and loved in our close relationships. It is crucial to invest energy in demonstrating to the person you are relating to that you really care about them. The most important gift you can offer a loved one is your undivided attention and a real interest in who they are. Don't take anyone for granted.
You don't need try to guess who the person you Love is in essence, or what is important in their world. Ask questions! Show your interest in discovering their dreams, what they wish and why, what excites and worries them, what makes them feel happy or frustrated. Ask them anything that helps you understand them and their universe; what is the reason they wake up every morning, what they appreciate. Listen carefully to the answers. Be totally there, just listening without reacting, not trying to figure out a response. Just take it in.
Once you have received all that the other person shared with you, you will realize that there were more than words. The body language, the tone of voice, how relaxed the person is, a smile, or the pauses or silence during the conversation, will tell you as much as the words this person chooses. Presence creates a real connection. To build a relationship, and to share, requires time.
Many people are afraid of showing their real selves. They feel that if someone sees them as they are, they will stop loving them. They wear a mask or try to please everyone they are in a relationship with to get the Love they want. It isn't easy to know someone who doesn't want to open up, talk about real feelings or desires, or that is not really connected with themselves.
When you really Love someone, your Love can provide a safe space and encourage this person to step out of their shell and be more authentically themselves. When you Love, do it unconditionally. Love the real person, flaws, stories, and past experiences included. Give the other the opportunity to express who they are.
Being together for a long time doesn't mean that you know a person. Perhaps it is the opposite. Maybe this person has evolved and has changed without you realizing it. Perhaps now you only know the image you have of your loved one. Maybe because you see each other every day or speak regularly, you think you have a good idea about who they are. Or maybe you never arrived at this deep place of sharing your most intimate side.
Building intimacy is an art, and it happens when presence, interest, and time are devoted to another being. If you want to experience true Love, connect from your heart with the one you have chosen to have in your life, this being that you consider special.
When you spend time with someone, share yourself, all of you, be vulnerable and authentic. Allow yourself to be seen. Rediscover each other every moment you spend together as if it were the first time you saw each other, and share your Love. Look into the eyes of the person you Love and tell yourself, "I want to know all about you, to Love you even more. I want to see the depth of your essence."
"The first duty of Love is to listen"
When you relate to others, be sure that you build a relationship that is authentic, no matter if it is with your life-partner, a colleague, a friend, or your children. See the other person as they are, and accept them completely, all of them. Don’t try to change, fix, or tell the other person how they must be to meet your standards.
To have a relationship means to support the other person, to empower them, to be there for them, but also to respect the other person and their decisions, even when you don’t like them. How difficult is to see that someone you Love deeply is stuck, confused, unhappy, or is not making the best decision (in your opinion). It can be hard to support them until they find a way out, a solution, or a new and better path in life. We frequently give unasked advice to others, with our best intentions, and it might not help the other person to move forward or to feel better.
In order to relate authentically with others, you should know who you are. You see the world through your own eyes, and you decode what happens to you influenced by past experiences, your belief system, your childhood, education, and the environment you live in. When you look at someone else, try to be neutral. You may inadvertently judge others, or project into them what you have not solved in your life, haven’t overcome or understood yet, or everything you are not conscious of, because it is suppressed or repressed. We blame others for making us feel a certain way, when they are giving us an opportunity to resolve underlying issues and unconscious patterns, and to heal past wounds that still affect us in the present.
We create relationships that are based on the ideas that we have about what our connection with a person should look like. Maybe we don’t know the real ‘person,’ not because they don’t allow us to do so, but because we don’t see who they really are. Sometimes, we idealize someone and, after the honeymoon period, once we see how the other person really is, we reject them. The other person has not changed, they were always the same. What has changed is only our opinion, and we realize that we were relating to this person through the filter of our own ideas about how the relationship should be.
If you want to really know someone, take your time to be with this person and build the connection; invest in it. Listen to what they say, and look at the way they act. Their behavior may speak louder than their words. When you are together, be one hundred percent present and give this person all your attention. You will perceive a lot more than mere words in a conversation. When you listen, don’t listen to answer, just listen deeply and actively. Make an effort to respond, not to react to what is said. Choose your words carefully and think if what you are going to say just fills the silence, or if it is really meaningful, uplifting, and necessary.
We learn a lot in our relationships. We become better beings in relation to others. We change the lives of those whom we Love. We are transformed by the Love we give and receive. Every relationship should bring out the best of each person (hopefully!), and if this is not the case, it might be teaching you something.
If a relationship you are in is not working, don't only blame the other person, always look at yourself too, and figure out what can you do on your end to improve it, even if it is just to be more loving. Look at what you bring to every one of your relationships, and try to be at your best in every encounter or conversation. Don’t ask for Love, shared it, give it freely and it will return to you multiplied.
"But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between
you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a
moving sea between the shores of your souls"
Love is a state of being. It is not something that comes from the outside. Love is not a feeling, it is who you are. Look deep inside of yourself and you will find it. Love is abundant. It comes from you and it flows outwards to everyone. Love resides in you and it is dormant, waiting until the moment you awaken it within you.
All the Love of the world cannot make you feel loved, if you are not able to Love yourself. You won't be able to recognize true Love coming from others, if you don't feel it coming from yourself. Love yourself simply because you are. You don't need to change or to accomplish anything to Love yourself. You only need to be committed to it.
You are lovable the way you are. Accept yourself, and have the certainty that you don't need to do anything to be loved by others. Don't seek for external approval. You don't need to act in a certain way to receive Love, or to behave like others say, or to please others. Love, true Love, is unconditional. Try to be the best version of yourself, but be always authentic.
Be sure that you live in the world of Love; that Love guides and inspires you; that you act in a Loving way. Love is the energy that makes you feel alive. Love is the solution to any problem. Find the way to share your Love. Tell your loved ones how you much you Love them, and demonstrate it with your actions. Give hugs, smile more frequently, embrace, kiss, share your laughter every time you can, share your joy.
Learn how to Love. Give Love, but don't lose yourself in the process. Learn how to show your affection without the need to control or possess, without expectations, without wanting anything in return, without being afraid of losing your loved one. Love because you want to Love. Enjoy the Love!
“In your heart is all the love you need”
Don Miguel Ruiz
Judith Costa is a Life and Love Coach, Seminar Leader, Writer and Speaker. She has a Masters degree in Psychology & Psychotherapy and an MBA. She helps her clients to overcome their blocks to Love, to Love themselves and to manifest the relationship they want.