Written by Suraj Shah.
We know that love is extraordinary.
We know love has the power to build bridges and break barriers.
We know that love can bring rise to our greatest qualities while conquering our most stubborn enemies.
We know that love has the power to deliver freedom from pain and bring about eternal happiness.
So how does love do all this, and how can we strengthen it in our lives?
I love you, and I’m thankful for you
In a Zen Habits post, Leo Babauta writes about a powerful algorithm for happiness.
He suggests using the phrase “I love you, and I’m thankful for you” in our day to day relationships.
Look at each person you pass or encounter today, and think to yourself (as if you’re talking to the person you’re looking at), “I love you, and I’m thankful for you.” Try to say it with feeling. Mean it! Even to those you pass on the street, in the elevator, while you’re driving (you might only see them for a split second, from a distance).
When I applied it, I discovered that love transformed tense situations into calm and generous relationships. I found that I felt better, I felt real, I felt like I could move forward with my day.
This phrase works when we are experiencing the loss of a loved one. When someone we love is no longer around, feelings of sadness, anger and guilt come about in us. Often, great stress is placed on our closest relationships. Through our oscillating emotions, we push away the very people we need during delicate moments in life.
But by thinking “I love you, and I’m thankful for you” and truly meaning it, you will find that it drastically transforms tense relationships into ones of care and support.
Here’s what love does for us…
Love enhances the feeling of friendship
When you love someone, it brings about a feeling of care for their well-being.
You want them to come to no harm.
You want them to grow and discover their true selves. You are supportive of their decisions and you help them up nomatter how many times they may fall.
Love enables appreciation
When you love someone, when you are thankful for them, you discover and magnify their qualities. You feel great joy at observing what is great about them.
These same qualities that you observe in them start to grow in you.
The more you see them from a positive perspective, the more you benefit from the development of these qualities in your own life.
Love grows compassion
When you love someone, you want to protect them from fear and pain. You want to do whatever is in your power to shelter them from the harmful forces of the world.
Of course, you can only give to someone when you have it to give in the first place.
So it reminds you of the gifts you hold within you. It reminds you of the greatness you possess within you that can help someone else through a hard time.
Love tolerates through equanimity
When you love someone, you are willing to embrace them completely. You patiently listen to what they say, nomatter how they say it, and you simply observe their actions.
Free from expectation or frustration, you tolerate their every expression, and realise that they are not all too different from you.
Like you, they want love. Like you, they want to be heard, to be understood, to be cared for.
So looking at them with eyes of love communicates just that – you love them and you care for them, and nothing else matters.
Apply love in every interaction, every day
When you lose someone you are fond of, it can be very difficult for you and the people who want to support you through this loss. But what helps make it smoother is thinking and feeling “I love you, and I’m thankful for you” in your everyday interactions.
In relationships with those who are still around you, realise that the love that you possess at this delicate time can bring about deeper friendships, appreciation for the qualities of others, wider compassion for those who would benefit from your support, and great calmness through tolerance and equanimity.
When you lose someone, do something about it. Love those who are still around you. It will help you lead a calm and purposeful life.