How to love?


This is such an important question, because the answer simultaneously provides solutions to many other related traumas. How can I feel like I’m worthwhile? Where is my sense of happiness/fulfilment? What can I do to make a difference? All of these are wrapped up in this question, but here are the main two related enquiries:

How can I feel loved? / How can I live in a better world?

The reason these questions are wrapped up in one another is because of the way many of them are by-products of a choice of attitude. They’re what happens when we choose to give. A better world is a result of activity; being loved results from loving. Each of us are the starting point to a brighter future, through our choice of attitude and the way we react, specifically to the shit that inevitably gets thrown at us.

So, how do we love? How can we conquer our proclivity to judge and compare ourselves and others? How can we overcome our sense of selfishness and entitlement? How can we foster a better commitment to others, to see them through as we’d like them to do for us?

All good answers lie in a full appreciation of the question. Break it down – what do you actually mean by ‘love’? Why is that not happening for you, assuming it’s not? What steps could you take to change that?

For me? The answer lies in stepping out of my immediacy; in recognising that my little microcosm of existence can easily start to serve itself, to the benefit of nobody. What would I like this Christmas – the latest iPhone or to see my best friend smile and laugh, creating memories that last longer than Apple’s product cycle? You could have both, the question is your focus. There can be a material readjustment to make. Love can be sacrificial, but generosity reaps rewards.

There’s also a psychological adjustment happening for most of us. We’re conditioned to believe that love is what happens to other people. It’s what we go to the cinema to watch. It’s what we daydream about. It’s what we see on our Facebook feed. We share twee pictures on Tumblr to let everybody else know what’s out of our reach. So close, but not for us.

But love is out there. And once we’ve abandoned our material entitlement of life, we’re free to embrace a wider, more caring, giving and forgiving narrative, where love doesn’t depend on recognition of our image or possessions, but on what we do for each other. Start by thinking of what you like about people around you, and let them know. If you don’t do it often, you’ll get a strange look back, but be consistent and see what happens. Eventually you’ll receive a smile, a hug, or a compliment, and then a closer bond and a stronger friendship. Cynicism can go fuck itself.

How to love? By recognising that love isn’t just possible, it’s within our reach.

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