“So the question is not: How can we obtain love and understanding? The question is whether we have the capacity of generating love and understanding ourselves…true love is like that too. Loving one person is really an opportunity to learn to love all people. If you have the capacity to love and to understand, you can do that now, you don’t have to wait. When we succeed in this, our worry and fear go away, and we feel wonderful right away.” –Thich Nhat Hahn Answers from the Heart
For example, I can control the love and understanding that I give, and in this control is incredible power. This power is one that, I am convinced, goes beyond ourselves, this power to show, give and share love. You can call it a spiritual thing, karma (see New Age and Theosophy section), or whatever. It may be just that when we are loving those around us, with our compassion, service, and our patient understanding, they are motivated to return this in kind.
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.” The Bible Luke 6:18 King James Cambridge Edition.
So what is in our power? Here are 10 things you can do that are in our control when we interact with those we love: We can…
- …pay attention to someone we love. Really pay attention
- …control our anger.
- …control our patience with them.
- …know what annoys them and avoid doing these things.
- …let someone know how we feel.
- …control whether we willingly help someone with cheer and without complaint, even if it is inconvenient or difficult.
- …ensure our words are those of support and kindness rather than criticism
- …keep our demeanor calm and patient, rather than being cross or yelling at someone.
- …admit and apologize when we are wrong.
- …forgive when we are apologized to.
All of these are in our control. Performing these acts will make you better. They will make you more loving and subsequently more lovable. None of these will guarantee you will be loved. Or could they? I wouldn’t count on it, but karma can work in extraordinary ways.
All you can do is make yourself more virtuous by being more loving and understanding, It IS guaranteed that actions like the 10 above will help you toward the goal of virtue. It is very likely, that performing these loving actions will also make you happy and bring love to you. At the very least, you will love yourself, and I know some of us have trouble with even this.