People talk about falling in love, losing at love and looking for love. What if you could have a more permanent and reliable relationship with love–one that was not dependent on another person?
This entails making love into a lifestyle rather than a life event. And it has great personal benefits. According to Carol McCloud, author of Have You Filled A Bucket Today?, those “who learn to express kindness and love lead happier lives.” What if you were to incorporate a caring attitude and made a genuine effort to show attention towards others every day?
Here are 10 sure-fire ways to make love into a lifestyle:
- Express gratitude every day! By being thankful, you train yourself to look at the positive things in your life and appreciate their value. Thanking someone for what they have done or for who they are not only boosts your levels of happiness…but lifts the other person’s happiness too! Gratitude is always appreciated whether it is spoken or written in a special note!
- Listen like a real friend! Rather than giving advice, give people an ear. Instead of just hearing a person’s words, put yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling. Empathy is difficult at first, but it is a powerful skill that really transforms relationships.
- Be first to apologize! There are times that you may say the wrong thing, forget to call when you said you would, carry a joke too far, or simply make an unintentional mistake. We all do it. As soon as you know that you have wronged someone, take responsibility for your actions and apologize! Forgiveness and restoration create stronger bonds of trust.
- Nurture relationships! Reach out to your loved ones for some quality time. Make a habit of inviting neighbors for dinner, having coffee with friends, or reading a book with your kids. Whatever it takes, especially in this digital age, create positive face-to-face experiences with others.
- Express love verbally! Let people know you care about them. Your parents, partner, children, and family or friends want to know how much they mean to you. With a simple “I love you” or specific reasons why you admire them, you can make their day, their week, their month. It can also be very contagious.
- Be a giver for other’s sake! Your community needs a helping hand. Many lives are touched when volunteers step in. Send cards to sick kids through Hugs and Hope, shop online through a charity shopping portal such as Greater Good, find ways to volunteer online at CharityGuide.org. Find more ideas >>>
- Learn to handle conflict! People deal with conflict differently. Some avoid it. Others look for someone to blame. And some people blow up at the situation. None of these are effective ways to handle conflict. In fact, most people need to learn effective ways to manage conflict in their relationships. Learn to manage conflict, communicate more effectively, and enrich your life by taking a Relationship Education class in your area >>>
- Be the initiator! Grab your phone and call someone just to say “hello”. Or text them to check in on how they’re doing. Write an email to share your appreciation for someone you want to thank, cook a healthy meal for a friend, offer to babysit for a parent who needs a break, give hugs, bring home flowers, rub a loved one’s back, or bake a treat and take it to the office. Get creative with how you initiate love!
- Learn from the past! During a time of grief, or desolation, it is highly important to see the silver lining. In fact, 70 to 80 percent of those that have lost a loved one express some benefit in their experience. A truly hard time can teach a valuable lesson. Take some time to reflect on what people in your past have taught you about love.
- Love yourself! Make time for yourself. Learn to unwind and relax. Accept yourself for who you are. Make new goals and go after them. Do things that lift you up, that builds your self-esteem, and boosts your own happiness.
Carrying out a lifestyle of love opens up new possibilities and potentially happy outcomes. Looking for ways to find happiness and connection boosts that positive energy we all need on those gloomy days.
Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to show we care to the ones we love, it’s about reducing our limits when reaching out to others and giving them a hand—a bit of our attention, some of our time, and an extra slice of effort.
Use Valentine’s Day, the day of love, to kick start your new lifestyle of showing love and appreciation!
What ideas do you have to make love a lifestyle? How do you show your loved ones you care?
Keep the Love Alive in Your Life:
- Good Read for the Family: Growing Up with a Bucket Full of Happiness: Three Rules for a Happier Life >>>
- Read: 5 Selfish Reasons to Give Thanks To Others >>>
- Learn effective communication skills at a Relationship/Marriage Education class near you >>>
Written by Lucinda Loveland – Copyright (C) 2012 Healthy Relationships California