anchored in light

A lifestyle blog about finding light in every avenue of life

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Why Practicing Love is More Important Than Loving Someone

I've been thinking about this phrase from one of Brené Brown's books. "Practice Loving." She talks about how ew saw we love people a lot, but how often do we practice loving? In other words, how do we show them we love them?

I, for one, am guilty of not practicing love enough. Sometimes I get selfish. I think about how others aren't practicing love the way I want them to, but that's not the point. The point is whether I'm practicing love. My love for them (especially for the Captain) is independent of what he does or how he treats me, so my practicing love should be independent of those things.

A few weeks ago the Captain and I had a bad night. I got very sad. The Captain didn't purposely do anything to make me sad, but I was sad anyway. So I pouted. I wanted to be alone. 

As I was getting ready for bed, by myself, behind a locked door, I asked myself if I was practicing love. No, of course not, but he... No. I said to myself. That isn't the question I asked. I asked if you were practicing love.

So I finished getting ready. Unlocked the door and went out to where he was. I was still sad, but I wasn't using my brain as an echo chamber to blame him anymore.
It's such a valuable question to me. Especially since we all want others to practice love for us no matter how we act or what we do. 

I am certainly not perfect, as evidenced by the example above. I want the Captain to love me, no matter what I do, but I would hope that I would make him feel loved as well. Loving is more than a feeling. It's an action. It's something that we choose every day and one that we choose to act on, or not. Sometimes we choose ourselves over the way we claim to feel about others, but the thing that I've learned from pondering what it means to "Practice Loving" is that the more your practice love, the more the feelings grow. It's a snowball effect. The more that I practice love, the more love I feel, and the more I want to continue practicing love for those around me. 

It's so easy to look inward and think about how we're being treated, but another thing that I've learned is that others react to the way you treat them. If you can get out of that mode of thinking about yourself and thinking about how you treat others instead, you may just knock those around you into the same kind of thinking. They'll see how you're looking out for them and helping them, and they, in turn, will want to make others feel the way that you make them feel.

A prime example of this happened to me a few months ago. I was at a jewelry party for a friend. I didn't really want to be at the party but I wanted to be there to support her. During the party, we earned "Diva dollars" for different activities. I thought about what I could win if I got the most dollars, even though I knew that it wasn't likely. Someone came late to the party and so they were behind in collecting dollars. Another friend of mine at the party immediately gave her some of her dollars. She wasn't thinking about herself, she didn't even know the person who had come late, yet she was still thinking about her and "loving" her anyway.

Later that night I went back to my sister's house with her. As we were walking down the stairs I could tell that her puppy had had an accident before we even got all the way down. My immediate response was to be glad that it wasn't something that I had to deal with. Not my dog, not my problem. However, I remembered what my friend had done, how she'd been so kind, even when it was not her problem to deal with. So instead I offered to help my sister and asked her what I could do.

Our actions have an effect on others. I'm so grateful to those around me who have been kind and selfless and patient with me when I couldn't see past myself. It has inspired me to reach out more and be more like your wonderful examples.

Thanks for reading! How can you practice loving today?
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