I’m wild about encouraging folks to love and care for themselves. Treating ourselves in a loving way expands our health and happiness. But today I also want to talk about expressing your love for others. Even if we get nothing in return, showing our love is like giving a blessing to the person you adore.
Show your love courageously. Show your love openly. Show your love with no strings attached.
Show your love (your heart, your kindness, your vulnerability, your soul-shine) because it feels good. Give because the giving is what you get. In fact, if you have a hard time with self-love, start outside yourself and work your way in. Showing love to others can be a gateway for loving yourself.
But what if showing your love feels scary, risky, dangerous even? We all have love wounds—a best friend who didn’t stand up for you on the playground, a parent or hero who let you down when you opened your heart. Be brave, friends. Try again. Each time you show your love to another, you heal the bumps and bruises from your past.
Here are some simple love lessons from my own life to get you started. Hope you enjoy! I love you.
Talk less and listen more. The greatest gift you can give someone is your full presence. Listen with your whole being. Pause. Breathe before you speak. An answer may not be needed. You don’t always have to fix it. Just be. Hear the entire thought, the entire feeling, all the pain, even the pain that only your intuition notices. Don’t interrupt or blast in with your projections and opinions. If a response is called for, channel your higher self.
2. Gentle touch.
My Colombian grandma used to give me “sanas” when I was hurt, bruised or sad. She’d rub my injury in a circular motion (sometimes it was my heart) and sing: “Sana, sana, colita de rana. Si no sanas hoy, sanarás mañana.” Rough translation: Heal, heal, little tail of the frog. If you don’t heal today, you’ll heal tomorrow. This folk song had magical healing power for me. Miraculously, I always felt better, even if we still needed stitches! Sanas heal.
3. Pick up the phone.
I was talking to my friend Joe a while back. He told me about how his daughter texts him all the time. Though he feels updated by those texts, they don’t replace real connection. The Sunday call is what Joe looks forward to. Because, as he said, “I need to hear her voice to know that she’s ok. Her voice tells me everything.” This made me think of my dad and how I want to be more consistent with my Sunday calls. My Sundays won’t be there forever. None of ours will.
4. Make meals.
I grew up with my mom and my grandma until I was nine (then my mom met my dad and our family expanded). Sometimes we didn’t have much money. But we always had each other and a hot meal—elegantly served and made with love. Grandma did most of the cooking (unless you include my incredible ice cream soup recipe). She put thought and flare into everything. Today I do my best to put care into my cooking. You don’t have to be the best cook on the Food Network. Make it with love.
5. Date night.
Forever dates last when there’s consistent tending, laughing, romance and fun! It’s so easy to forget, to get caught up in the bills, errands, problems and to-dos. The relationships that last the longest all have one common theme: Never taking the other for granted. Stir the sacred sauce with regular date nights! They don’t have to be fancy, you can just head down to your basement and blast old Bruce Springsteen records. Dance, hug and kiss by your high school lava lamp.
6. Put air in their tires.
The other day I was famished. You know the drill, working hard, empty cabinets and a gurgling belly—a nasty combination. I sure wasn’t taking my own advice about making meals. But we needed lunch and for whatever reason, that pissed me off. I walked into my husband’s office, and with a cranky-ass tone, I said “I’m going to town to get some damn lunch. What do you want?” He sheepishly asked for a sandwich and then kindly went up to the barn and moved my car so it was facing out (for an easy escape), then he put air in the tires. My one tire has a leak and my guy thought, “if that warning signal comes on it’s just gonna make her feel like yet another thing she isn’t doing right and doesn’t have time for.” My husband shows his love for me in very practical ways (plus, the occasional bouquet of red carnations). Sometimes I overlook his efforts or take them for granted. But I really do appreciate the air in my tires. And I really do appreciate his practical love. Remember to notice (and do!) the simple stuff.
7. Compliments mean a lot.
Partners, lovers, family, friends, etc. We can never ever get enough compliments. “You look great!” “This food is awesome!” “You’re so clever!” Don’t be stingy—dole ‘em out and be sincere.
8. Give each other space.
Wings don’t spread when they’re caged. We all need space to thrive. Giving your loved ones space shows them that you trust them. That you appreciate and honor their journey. Work on giving others space not just when it’s convenient or when you feel strong and independent. Always. When people give us space we feel free and trusted. Space is spiritual.