Love is Kind
Love is always kind and its by-product is understanding and compassion. The practice of kindness brings compassion and understanding to the self and a cycle of acceptance, respect and collaboration is strengthened. In acting kindly, acts of love in relationships happen spontaneously.
Love is an Action
“Love is not about concepts. Love is about action. Love in action can only produce happiness. The only way to master love, is to practice love.” says Miguel Ruiz in his book The Mastering of Love.
Here are some actions that demonstrate love: generosity, compassion, empathy, justice, openness and kindness.
Be Reliable and Respectful
In her book, Rules of Engagement, Jody Andrews-Loflt states, “Reliability speaks to our basic safety need… It means to take personal responsibility.” It means following through with commitments, accepting differences and listening to others’ point of view without judgment. Reliability and respect matter— they are the fundamental characteristics of a healthy and happy relationship. Reliability and respect nurture trust!
Fear is Always Paralyzing
Fear is an emotion that paralyzes mentally, physically and emotionally. When we are in fear, we need to be defensive, protective and alert. It is a powerful emotion that requires an immediate response. Emotional fear is manifested in our relationships every time we feel afraid of being rejected or abandoned. In order for any relationship to grow healthily, we need to move from the fear of rejection and abandonment to the courageous act of sharing our own truth. Trust becomes our best vehicle.
There are many symptoms of self-rejection. Some of the most common are isolation, negative self-image, anger, depression, and low self-worth. Self-rejection is very powerful. Emotions of self-rejection create and release defense behaviors that separate us from one another. Forgiveness is the greatest opportunity to free ourselves from pain and anger that has built up through time. Self-forgiveness requires that we recognize hurt, and we give ourselves permission to shed such hurt. It requires changing the focus from the past to the present. It requires the embracing of who we are now.
“There is one word which may serve as a rule of practice to all ones life – reciprocity.” (Confucius)
Reciprocity is about communication and listening. It is about creating a harmonic balance where all the parties feel respected and valued. “Reciprocity is not necessarily tit-for-tat nor does reciprocity have to be in the same form of collateral…. People show reciprocity in relationships in different ways and it does not have to be immediate.” Relationships are healthier when there is “reciprocity of effort, reliability of commitment and respect for you and your values.”
Dr. Dan Siegel, a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist emphasizes the need to repair when you want to maintain and nurture relationships. He explains that many times we react without thinking. This is part of our old “reptilian brain,” which was important for survival. For example, if we see a rattlesnake, we are not going to take our time to decide which is the best strategy for survival. We are going to jump out of the way and think about how lucky we were later. When we are charged emotionally we can react without thinking, causing us to say or do things we later regret. Dr. Siegel’s phrase is “it was not your fault, but it is your responsibility.” Reactions may have come from the primitive part of your brain, but one is still responsible for the repair of those reactions. Repair can be done in many ways, including: an apology, a gesture, a letter, or a simple act of kindness. The important point is that you are always willing and ready to repair.