The happiest people in the world are in love. Not just red-hot love of new romance, but more importantly, the enduring love of a trusted other who you fully accept and who fully accepts you. My message today asks you to perform a love experiment for the next 7 days. This experiment is designed to create and deepen the love of your loved ones. It’s simple to do, and I explain the 3 steps at the end. But first, a little about the art and science of love.
Love is the greatest human act. Love is a choice. True love comes from our higher self. Without soulfulness love is reduced to simply conditional approval. But this kind of low grade, low calorie, positive vibe isn’t love. Real love, the kind that comes from our deepest and best self, is in its essence, non-judgmental. This kind of unconditional love is unnatural to our animal instincts that often use loving words like an artificial sweetener in order to get what we want. Indeed, we “naturally” want peace, approval, affection, and reciprocal kindness. So we bite our tongues, walk on eggshells, and do what we must to smooth over our bumpy feelings of irritation, frustration, and disappointment with our loved ones. At least most of us do that much of the time.
But there is a higher quality of love that is always possible but less frequently experienced. This TRUE LOVE doesn’t require anyone to “shape up” or suddenly become nicer. It requires no change at all in others, only ourselves. It begins with non-judgmental inner feelings in which all of our demands of others cease. TRUE LOVE inspires. It is fearless. It comes from an epiphany of inner wisdom that we can love without trusting.
Trust is separate from love. Trust must be earned. Trust grows in a relationship in which both people consistently keep promises, are fair, and are competent. Trust is hard to earn and is very fragile. One untrustworthy act can destroy years of trust. In our entire lives there may be a handful of people we fully trust.
Yet we can love everyone. The way we become free to love is to tap our inner strength to need no one’s approval. The path to this kind of strength is through self-directed vision. It is keeping a clear vision of our essential and core selves. It requires a rich inner life of authentic awareness in which we realize we are not the voices in our heads that either reinforce self-centered arrogance or beat us up with doubt, criticism, and fear. That crazy conversation which goes on constantly can be turned off, and we can turn our attention to our soul.
I learned this from nearly a decade of suffering beginning in 1990 and ending in 1999. I can only say that I have come to experience a spiritual-mind that is both unique and united. I am, of course, not alone. Millions of people in the course of human history have discovered the essence of their identity. The core of us who is not afraid. The core of us that doesn’t need anyone to change for us to love them. The core of us that doesn’t need, period.
It’s true, we don’t need anyone to change for us to be happy. Rather what we must be is both strong and non-judgmental. We are strong when we quit letting people be mean to us. Instead love requires us to ask mean people to stop and distance ourselves if they don’t. At the same time we can remain compassionate, knowing that people are not their behavior. We also need to establish boundaries against bullies and separate ourselves from manipulators. All the while we can love them and pray for them. It is far easier to be compassionate toward immature or unhealthy people when we are far enough away to be invulnerable to their harmful ways. As for those whom really mean us no harm but are simply awkwardly doing the best they can, well, those are all the people in our lives we can love without judgment.
When we see beyond our loved ones’ behavior and allow the “eyes” of our soul to see the intention of another we literally create a “third space” between our inner world and theirs. This new, shared world allows us to affirm, inspire, connect, and help our loved ones. Awesome.
Yet none of this genuinely happens when we judge others and justify ourselves for doing so. Research is clear that the happiest people in relationships are those who are in the love-fog of fresh infatuation and couples who have been together over 30 years. You see both new love and old love have one thing in common. The lovers don’t require the other to change to be loved. New lovers are uncritical and old lovers have given up. This is wise because we are all very messy. Our personalities, irrational prejudices and quirks are better embraced than rejected. All of us are weird in ways we think are normal. So let it go.
Here is my challenge for you. For the next 7 days, focus on the most important person in your life. (For this to work it’s best if they are non-toxic, that is, neither a bully or a manipulator that reaches the level of being a mean person.) During these 7 days suspend all judgment. Don’t even wish they would change anything. Instead just give them your full, genuine attention as much as possible. And do the following:
- Affirm anything that you notice that is good or praiseworthy (their efforts, their work, their looks, their kindness, their humor…anything.) There is only one requirement. You must be genuine. Fake praise will backfire.
- Listen only for understanding. Don’t try to solve their problems or confirm their justifications. Just listen without an agenda with your full presence.
- Take time to have fun together. Support what they are passionate about. Help, watch or participate in whatever it is they love to do. Ask questions. Take a sincere interest in what they are interested in. This will surprise them.
These 3 habits are proven to create feelings of love and the brain chemicals of closeness. Try them every day with your chosen person for the next 7 days. Keep track of your results. Write a note to yourself every morning about how and when you are going to do the 3 habits of “making love “ and how it went the day before. Observe what happens. My hope for all of you is that you create the gift of greater love with your most important loved ones.
Do it now… start the new year off with gobs of fresh, tangy love.
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