The Hidden Source of Amazing Love

“We are ultimately at home in the world not through dominating or explaining or appreciating, but through caring and being cared for.”—Milton Mayeroff, On Caring

“Every time the other person does something well, something in the direction of change and growth, we should congratulate her or him to show our approval. It is important to not take things for granted.”—Thich Naht Hahn, beloved philosopher and monk, from Teachings on Love

Most all of us want to love and be loved. And so in the beginning of any loving relationship, we feel exhilarated, exuberant, and even ecstatic. Love has potential here! I am gonna be happy! But as some of this early enthusiasm wanes, our interest may begin to waver a bit. It is at such a juncture that we have two choices: We can move on, or we can decide to get down to the real business of loving by courageously taking the risk to go deeper.

The first time you experience your true love following a sleepless night with the flu, or start a conversation with her/him before s/he has brushed her teeth in the morning you have an opportunity to make some observations. What do you really dig about this person? Is it the looks, the persona, the flare, the dare? Is s/he funny, flashy, hot, cold? What is (or was) it that intrigues you? Is it her character, his mane, her brain?

Maybe some of her/his mannerisms are starting to really bug you. Ah. Here comes the fun part. If your red hot lover is beginning to cool in your eyes, or if you have some snags in your relationship and you are inclined to think s/he is the problem, see if you can begin to change your own thinking. Actually sit down and make a list of the positive traits that you enjoy most about this person and remind yourself of why you wanted to be with her/him in the first place.

How can we define love? Scott Peck, legendary author of The Road Less Traveled, defines love as this: “True love is not a feeling by which we are overwhelmed. It is a committed, thoughtful decision.” Ask yourself how fully you are making that “committed, thoughtful decision.”

Are there things that you could tweak a bit to contribute to a more meaningful connection here? Are you listening to your beloved? And are you being heard? Are you caring and feeling cared for? If not, what would need to change for you and/or your partner to feel differently?

If you are willing, catch her/him doing something right, something that you really admire and love…something that you appreciate and respect. Make note of this quality, then, find another, and maybe one more. Then (this is the important part) share your observations…out loud! Now, see if things change any when you are willing to concentrate on what you like/love, instead of what annoys you.

Way to go. YOU are awesome.

May you ever be loved and loving.