How to Love

 

It’s been over 6 months since my last post. I am not sure what happened, maybe the wind knows. I have recently made some changes in my life that have put a lot of free time in my hands, so, I’m back. To make it perfectly clear, I have no creds in this area, so keep that grain of salt handy.

First, I would like to start with a couple of quotes to set the mood:

“Each day, we make a new decision about how to spend our life’s energy over the remainder of our life. Like it. Live it.”

“The rules/beliefs that define us are mostly a product of our mind and it is our duty to change these when appropriate.”

I recently finished reading three books: The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz, The Mastery of Love by Ruiz and Janet Mills and The Voice of Knowledge also by Ruiz and Mills. Most of the thoughts in these three books were not new to me, nor would they be new to most people, but they brought them all together and often referred to them by different names. For example, the third “agreement” is to not make assumptions about what other people are thinking. I always referred to that as “don’t put your thoughts in other people’s head”.

This post is a distillation of the three books and my thoughts on the subject. I didn’t always agree with them. I highly recommend reading these books in the order given. My thoughts on the subject will win because this is my post, so I win.

Now it begins.

One thing that has always puzzled me is: what is love? I’ve always been looking for that neat, compact definition. Philosophers think they have it. Poets think they have it. Well, maybe not. As Ruiz says, love is not an abstract, definable concept, but just exists everywhere, it is the natural state of being. Overthinking life is one of the things that puts a damper on this. It makes sense to me and explains a lot. To take a little license with some of his definition, I am going to posit there are essentially three kinds of love. Self-love, love of the contents of the universe…all the creatures and plants, the air, it’s basic existence, and romantic or partner love. The difficult part, the real rub, is to experience the last, one should first master the first two. Not an easy task.

Learning to love yourself can be the most difficult of all. It can take some time and effort, but a lovable person is there. You are perfect the way you are. Don’t allow the expectations of others to cloud your self-image.  You are smart enough, handsome enough, beautiful enough, witty enough. It’s their problem if they can’t see it. Don’t let the voice in your head rule you, you are better than that. The only person who abuses you is you because you allow it to happen. Most of the time there is no awareness of the process. I have a whole truckload of stupid I’ve collected over the years. Dragging it around is exhausting. The solution is to cover it with a tarp and forget about it. It seems to be slowly working. When you start to love yourself, you can start to live an authentic life, be the real you without concern for what others think, for that is their problem. To be authentic is to peel away the layers of other peoples’ expectations and be the real you. I call it being unfiltered. If you are always unfiltered, there is no need to remember what you said, because you will always be right in the moment. Be free. Allow yourself to roam.

To love humanity, you need to start with self-love, then don’t make any assumptions about other people. Don’t put your thoughts in other people’s head. If you are not sure of the answer, ask the question. Eliminate misunderstandings and confusion. The almost too obvious flip side to this is never assume anyone knows what is on your mind. Tell them when appropriate. Never try to change anyone, lasting change only comes from within. Sure, people can “fake it” for a while, but the truth always comes out. The truth always wins. Accept everyone for who they are. If it doesn’t work for you, just move on. Don’t confront it. Life is too short. You can still love them as a part of humanity.

Once you have mastered the first two, the last part can be deceptively easy. There are a lot of “old wives’ tales”, that simply aren’t true. First and foremost, find someone that doesn’t need to be changed. They can be accepted exactly the way they are. They accept you the way you are. Sure, people change, but the change is evolutionary and not likely in the direction hoped for. If the change happens during the relationship, neither party is likely to notice. A partner must be acceptable “as is”. Second, both people should experience self-love. A person who loves themselves and is happy is easy to love. We all must feel good about our self. A relationship shouldn’t be all that difficult. This will reduce the likelihood of at least one side being a needs-based relationship as opposed to one based on mutual respect. If you respect each other’s life dream, love can be lasting. You have entered the “happy place”. Life is good. Of course, there will always be some issues to be worked on, but the difficulty level will not be too high.

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