Tag Archives: demonstrating love

The Best Description of Love, Ever

fredrogersbigToday is Sunday, April 13, 2014.

Love isn’t a state of perfect caring… To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.  –Fred Rogers

Maybe that’s why most of us experience such disappointment over love in our lives.  We’ve defined it wrongly, and so we expect things to happen that don’t happen. And we always seem surprised about what does happen.  If we realized that love isn’t supposed to be some kind of joyride all the time, but rather a struggle, our expectations might be more in line with reality.

We don’t love someone because they’re perfect.  They may seem perfect, at first, but they’re not, and we eventually find that out. Then, the challenge is to continue to love them, warts and all.  This is just as true of our children and our parents as it is of our friends and significant others.  It can be painful to watch them get hurt and make mistakes.  It can be frustrating when they are stubborn and contentious.  It can be downright embarrassing, sometimes, when they do and say foolish things.  It can be heartbreaking when they fail and suffer.

The key is not to try to change the other person, but to try to change ourselves.  As we go through life, we learn the qualities necessary to love others: patience, perseverance, humility, grace, loyalty, trustworthiness, reliability, honesty, kindness, open mind, open heart, discipline, forgiveness, responsibility, even temper, courage, attentiveness, optimism, balance, and appreciation.  Our interactions with our loved ones give us ample opportunity throughout our lives to cultivate these very important qualities in ourselves.

Most of the time, we fail to notice how our loved ones have changed us.  We wait until a person dies or moves away to realize what a big impact they have had on us, how they changed our lives.  A really good exercise in cultivating gratitude is to carve out a few moments from our busy schedules every so often on a regular basis, just to appreciate the positive ways that our loved ones have affected us.

All of us have special ones who have loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, ten seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are. Ten seconds of silence. I’ll watch the time.  –Fred Rogers


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Love – There’s an App for That: Kindness

kindness love with workbootsToday is Tuesday, January 21, 2014.

Kindness is just love with its work boots on.  –Shelly in The House Bunny

You could say that kindness is an applied form of love, as opposed to a theoretical form.  It’s the answer to the question, “What would love do now?”   Love may be a feeling, but kindness is an action.

In the book, Stranger by the River, by Paul Twitchell, the Seeker asks spiritual teacher Rebazar Tarzs to talk about love.  Rebazar says, “Love is not a matter of belief.  It is a matter of demonstration.  It is not a question of authority, but one of perception and action.”   Kindness, then, is a demonstration of love.   The Dalai Lama likes to say, “My religion is kindness.”  In other words, he practices what he preaches.  Another spiritual leader who does this is Pope Francis, who makes it a habit to serve others in practical, tangible ways each and every day.

The hallmark of kindness is a concern for others rather than for oneself.  Kindness seeks the highest good for the most people.  It may seem that kindness is purely altruistic and not at all self-serving, but there is research to back up the claim that actions taken out of a sense of kindness ultimately benefit not only the receiver of the action, but the doer, as well.

In their book, On Kindness, Adam Phillips and Barbara Taylor wrote that “real kindness is an exchange with unpredictable consequences,” and that behaving with kindness changes the doer.  Interestingly enough, they also assert that kindness is scary for most people.  I can’t say that I agree with everything they wrote in their book, but I do like the idea of an exchange.  Every relationship, whether it is with another human being, an animal, with Mother Nature, or with Divine Spirit is essentially an exchange.  When we act with the intention to bring about the highest good for all concerned, the exchange is mutually beneficial.  In our relationship with God, kindness takes the form of going with the flow or acting in accordance with God’s will in terms of serving Life.

Be-kind-to-unkind-people.-They-need-it-the-most.With respect to human relationships, another idea that Phillips and  Taylor explore in their book has to do with allowing occasional negative feelings to exist in the relationship, and learning to act with kindness, anyway.  Behaving with kindness towards others, regardless of the circumstances, is an acknowledgement of  true affection, especially when it becomes evident that the other person cannot possibly meet all your needs.  This is the seed of unconditional love, given to any and all without expectations.

Unconditional love means being kind to other people, to animals, and to Mother Nature whether or not our actions are recognized or noticed, acknowledged, or reciprocated.  There’s another meme going around on social media that expresses this concept very well: Be kind to unkind people.  They need it the most.  🙂

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