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Love That Gives Back to the Lover
The better you understand love, the more willing you are to love instead of being loved. Although you need love, you receive satisfaction when you give it away because sharing love is like spraying perfume. Some of the sprays fall back on the giver.
Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.— Robert A. Heinlein
Habitat for Humanity Project (2012) with Owen MBA Students
This is not the so-called love that gives for the purpose of getting. This kind of love comes from a divine supplier--God who is the ultimate Source of love. He gives His love freely and His recipients have the prerogative to give it away in various ways and in different kinds of relationships.
Whether in a casual friendship, a familial bond or a marriage partnership, the basic characteristic of love is the same. It aims to benefit the recipient, but benefits the giver as well.
The Test of Love
Based on a universally accepted description of love1, you can test your love for genuineness or lack of it. Here’s how.
Think of two people who interact with you: one in a close mutual relationship and the other in a subordinate position. Read the statements below and evaluate whether you share the same quality of love with both.
- You are patient and kind.
- You are not jealous, or boastful, or proud, or rude.
- You do not insist on “me first; it is not always “my way.”
- You are not easily irritated.
- You are forgiving and keep no record of being wronged.
- You rejoice when justice triumphs in the other person’s interest.
- You look for the best in him or her, and applaud it when you see it.
- You stand beside that person through all kind of difficulties.
Love can be genuine regardless of rank between two people (although expressions of love may vary according to the type of relationship).
Observations about Love
Share More Love, Get More Love
Based on the same description of love, it is safe to make the following statements.
- Love is not just a feeling or mood; it is an attitude, an action, a practical demonstration of your values.
- It is the part of you which you contribute to the lives of others.
- It is not reserved just for special people. It is to be shared with everyone in a similar quality but in various capacities according to the relationship.
- Love feeds your own sense of purpose and your self-worth.
- In the process of actively loving, your boost your own faith in the ability of human beings to share life’s burdens.
- Love is a privilege, not an obligation. No one is obligated to return your love, but the more unselfish love you give, the more you receive from unexpected sources.
Various Ways to Show Love
Lonely! Will He Respond to Love?
Some of the people who are criticized for being anti-social are only demonstrating the results of neglect, rejection, abuse and like tragedies in their lives. They respond to love with anxiety, suspicion or an attempt to withdraw. They suffer from Emotional Deprivation Disorder2—a condition named by Dutch psychiatrist, Anna A. Terruwe in the 1950s.
Although such people do not feel capable to love, they can learn if others will love them first. Terruwe recommends Affirmation Therapy from a professional, but they probably will not desire help, before someone demonstrates love to them.
These are the people who provide you the opportunity to exercise genuine love. There are no organized programs to follow, because love does not come in one size that fits all. However, here are a few suggestions on how to share love in various situations.
- Pay attention. Notice facial expressions and make positive remarks. “I love that smile you’re wearing today.”
- Allow your facial expressions and body language3 to show acceptance. Smile, tilt your head and lean your body toward, not away from, them.
- Nurture their sense of belonging. “It would be a pleasure to have you help with the flower arrangements” or whatever skill they seem to have. Encourage but not pressure. The aim is to make them realize that you recognize their worth.
- Express understanding when they refuse to comply or act contrary to what you expect. Validate and empower them especially by your example of loving.
Just be genuinely interested and the emotionally challenged will tell you directly or indirectly how to love them.
The Reward of Love
Do you focus more on loving or on being loved?
The reward of love is more love. For example, the newborn baby cries for love; the adult cuddles the infant who soon learns to recognize and respond to affection; when the baby responds, the adult receives love in abundance.
How many babies do you think it will take to make the adult weary of loving? It is just natural to love babies.
Everyone has a childlike desire to be recognized, affirmed, commended, encouraged, appreciated. Love the baby in everyone you meet, not as an investment for profit, but because love comes naturally. By constantly sharing love, it spreads over greater portions of your heart, leaving less space for destructive emotions. You become more loving and loveable.
Finally, there are the emotional health benefits.4 Loving others cancels negative feelings like self-pity, disconnectedness and depression. It increases the number of your smiles and improves your sense of satisfaction. And you never know the extent to which your love satisfies others. Moreover, in loving others you find reason to love yourself.
1. Bible Gateway: Multiple Versions, 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7
2. Baars, Dr.Conrad W: Conrad Bars, Emotional Deprivation Disorder, (Copyright 2001).
3. 1 to 101: Body Language, Body Language Signs (Copyright November, 2002).
4. Baars, Dr. Conrad W: Conrad Bars, Affirmation and Affirmtion Therapy, (Copyright 2001).
© 2014 Dora Isaac Weithers