Everyone loves love, and I’m not only referring to the romantic, gushy kind. Humans are amorous creatures. We crave acceptance, warmth, adulation, laughter, intimacy, closeness, enjoyment and respect. Even the self-proclaimed loners in society need a human touch from time to time.
With the pace at which life is currently lived, love and other such pleasant pursuits can be easily overlooked. We take loved ones for granted – we skip lunch dates, we forget to call our parents, we make excuses and tell white lies. This behaviour is not only destructive and causes social isolation, but it disrupts and unsettles the love in our lives. It drives a forceful wedge, a wedge that continues to grow as our behaviour is repeated and reinforced.
To open yourself to move love in your life, try these simple things to see if they brighten your day and improve your mood.
Keep your promises
This one is not hard, yet so many people struggle with it. Have you committed to someone to meet at a certain time and place? Then show up. Changing plans on someone is not only rude and disruptive, but it shows the other person that you’re not really interested in them and that you place other priorities above catching up with them. Sure, there are exceptions to this, such as when you absolutely have to reschedule or cancel, but generally speaking, if you commit to something, follow through. Your friends will come to realise how reliable you are. Being accountable and following through with your promises is a sure fire way to cement a friendship and make it last.
This one applies equally to responding to people who contact you. It seems so simple but some people have a very hard time of handling this one. Four words: get back to people. Reply to that text message or email. Phone that friend back. Do it now, not tomorrow or next week. The longer you leave it, the more the recipient feels unwanted and unloved. It takes 30 seconds and your friends and loved ones will respect you for it.
Do something nice
Whether it is for a stranger, a colleague or a long time friend, take the initiative and do something nice for them. This can be something as small as shouting them a coffee or loaning them a book to driving them to the airport or picking up their dry cleaning. Who said you need a special occasion to make someone feel loved and appreciated. Do something little today to improve the life of another and you will reap the rewards in reciprocated love and gooey feelings.
Listen, like really listen
Put down your iPhone, get off Instagram and look your friend or partner in the eye. Pay attention to what they are saying and respond accordingly. The best conversations are had when there are no distractions and two fully interacting people. Not only is listening an underrated quality, it is the best way to show respect to your friends. If you care enough to show up, you should care enough to listen.
Smile at strangers, at dogs, at old ladies in the street. When you smile, you let your hard outer guard down and expose your friendly self to the world. See how many people smile back and spread the love this way.
Let your guard down
Adopting a ‘what’s the worst that can happen’ attitude can be scary, but when you embrace it, it can bring benefits beyond those you could ever imagine. If something sounds scary, it means you should probably do it. How does this relate to love? Fear prevents us from loving, freezing us and standing in the way of what we want out of life. By eliminating these fears and embracing the unknown we open ourselves up to love from all angles. If you’re usually a strict routine-based person, change course for a day and see how you feel. Don’t make your bed, don’t go to the gym, spend half a day reading a book or curling your hair. Unless your behaviour will have profound effects on others or jeopardise your job, the worst that can happen is that you will probably experience a new feeling of freedom and release. Breaking the rules from time to time is healthy and opens new pathways to love and happiness.
Take good care of yourself
With all these ways you are sending love out into the stratosphere, don’t forget to save a bit of self-love. Treat your body like a temple – nourish it with healthy food, move and stretch it, educate it. Read books, relax in a bubble bath, have regular massages. Whatever it takes for you to relax and enjoy your own company, do it. As corny as it sounds, you can only begin to love others when you love yourself.