LOVE does not Hurt!

LOVE doesn’t hurt you. A person who doesn’t know how to love or who is in pain may hurt you. Be a person who loves anyway.

I love this quote (author unknown) about love and pain because it is so true. Love does not hurt. Period.

love hurts

Loving energy only produces loving feelings. Just like 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 states:  

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Anything else… does not originate from loving energy. It comes from pain and fear. It comes from not knowing love. Someone who has rarely experienced kindness may not know how to be kind. Likewise, if they don’t have a history of being supported – how do they know that supporting others is an expression of love?

When we don’t experience consistent and pure loving energy as we grow, we are likely not to extend it as adults. This is evident over and over again in people who claim to love yet they engage in behavior that is very unloving. Think about it…

A parent says “I love you” and then they are demanding and critical. A child makes a connection between the two.

A parent says “I love you” and then doesn’t listen or isn’t attentive. A child believes they are related.

In this way, a child grows up to understand that love is demanding, critical, and inattentive. They don’t think twice about engaging in that behavior and expressing love at the same time. For that adult, true loving energy was scarce and consequently, remains unlearned. They will continue the pattern with the next generation unless they are able to experience true love.

True love is peaceful. It is joyful. And it is always a better choice. We are born in a natural state of knowing love and then learn otherwise. Getting back there may take a bit of work as we unplug all of the correlations that were made as we learned. One by one, it’s important to disconnect the idea that love is something other than patience, compassion, understanding, and kindness and practice how to extend loving energy under all conditions.

If it’s ‘true’ love – it will always feel good.

TTAHYou can listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

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#42 Develop More Empathy

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#42

Develop More Empathy

Empathy plays a major roles in our ability to be socially competent. It is a key trait found in healthy relationships. None of us can exist on our own. Societies thrive when their citizens embrace the values of helping one another. While it’s true that we are all responsible for our own actions, it can be easy to forget just how much the desire to understand others and to work on their behalf matters also.

Benefits for Those Who Give

When we think of being empathetic and doing compassionate deeds, our emphasis is usually on what the person in need, or who is receiving the assistance, gets. It’s rare to look at what you can gain through working on behalf of someone else. Of course, you get the satisfaction and warm feeling of helping. It’s an increase in feel-good neurochemicals that leads to this. Performing compassionate deeds lowers our levels of stress and improves our health.

Empathy for others influences our social growth and competence, as well. Such actions force you to look beyond yourself and broaden your perspectives. Doing so can lessen your own emotional issues such as depression and anxiety. Reaching out to others in times of need builds social connections and enhances interpersonal skills necessary for healthy relationships.  

What Receivers Gain

Those on the receiving end of your empathetic efforts gain the sense that others care, which can go a long way toward improving overall mental outlook and sense of self. They gain trust in the outside world and feel seen. When others show compassion, it can lead receivers to believe that they are being perceived as worthwhile and of value. They feel more trusting and are often more motivated to work toward self-improvement goals.

We never know how the empathy we express may affect the person who receives it and I’m not sure we can have too much empathy as long as we are establishing healthy boundaries along the way. Empathy, compassion, and perspective work hand in hand to make great relationships better. If you’re seeking more growth you can work to….

Develop more empathy.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#44 Stop Arguing

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#44

Stop Arguing

Arguing, what’s it good for? Arguments are rarely ‘won’. When you think you wond an argument, what did you win? The ‘loser’ at least learned something, right? But what did you get? Debating practice, ego satisfaction, and diminished brain power is all.

Reduced Brain Power

At times there are things that need to be debated, but most of the time, it just isn’t productive. You may want to argue the point, but what do you get from a useless debate? The more important question is what do you lose? I say you use effective brain power.

There is at least one thing we can probably agree on and that is that a person listening to arguments can learn something from both sides. But, what about the people in the middle of the argument? Are they even listening to the point or are they totally focused on being ‘right’ and ‘winning’? At what point does the onus of the argument shift from making a point to ego satisfaction?

Too much arguing creates a habit of looking for arguments more than for facts. We tend to get more deeply rooted in a rut as the defense continues and even avoid opposing evidence that may validate the other’s view so that we can be ‘right’. Ultimately, digging a rut and dismissing evidence doesn’t make us better thinkers at all; it diminishes our power.

Listening

Some things we argue about are based solely on fact and while we may think we are helping the other person learn if we have our facts correct, we’re really just challenging them – sometimes that completely backfires. If I say the earth is closer to the moon than the sun but you disagree, we’re either headed for a science lesson or a tug of war and chances are that the misinformed person will have negative feelings about the debate.

However, I say that nature is more important than nurture and you think it’s the opposite, we can both have solid positions based on our experience and current knowledge. These kind of debates are based on value, experiences, and poorly defined terms – often perspectives that are neither ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. We could argue all day on defining “what’s important in life” without any winner. In this position, the only logical, kind, and compassionate thing to do is to listen and both parties will likely learn something.

To break the habit of arguing, ask opinions and questions and then listen without judgement. You can ask for clarification but it’s best not to offer contrary ideas. This isn’t always easy to remember but with practice, your likely to be in less hot water and get to know people better.

It’s just a good idea all around in the effort of increasing your happiness and living your best life to …

Stop arguing.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#66 Help A Friend

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#66

Help A Friend

I imagine many of you do this without encouragement and yet in our very busy lives, we either fail to notice when a friend needs help and/or we don’t offer for fear of offending their autonomy. For some, a fear of getting into another’s business creates hesitation in offering assistance.

Of course this is a common practice when someone is sick, having a baby, or moving. We extend a helping hand eagerly. This suggesting is designed not for those times, but for the others that are not as obvious.

No Matter the Task

When you discover that someone is spending their weekend painting the living room or weeding their gardens, a dinner would be very helpful. After all, who wants to spend all day working up a sweat outdoors and then go inside to pull together a meal? Childcare or lending a hand may also be welcomed help. Do you have supplies that may make the job easier? An offer to come with the proper tools could prove to be invaluable. One of my dearest friends offers to come by and share my cleaning chores just to be helpful even though I like to think that my company is that entertaining! : )

Define Help

Before deciding what you think that your friend may need, make the effort to know what activity would be helpful. Some ideas of ‘help’ actually hinder without intent, sometimes, making a task even more difficult. What may seem as if it would make things easier for you, may not seem so by your friend. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is to ask “How can I help?”, “I love to [weed] – can I help?”, or “Let me help you”.

This kind of help really goes beyond just ‘doing a good deed’ or a ‘random act of kindness’ as it is less impulsive and more intentional. It’s a way of ‘being’ with a friend while giving the most important gift. Perhaps for the new year we can all make the effort to be more aware of when our friends can use a helping hand and commit a piece of ourselves to…

Help a friend.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#69 Send a Card of Connection

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#69

Send a Card of Connection

Several years ago I befriended – via an interesting set of circumstances – a resident of a nursing home who had no known living relatives. She is a sweet old lady (now 92) with a very simple life who dedicated her career to pediatric nursing. Today, her memory isn’t very sharp and she sometimes receives cards from people who have passed through the nursing home; prior roommate family members, employees who came to love her, or strangers who’ve heard of her story through the Facebook page I made for her years ago. It is the highlight of her day. She calls me with sheer delight to ask me who the person is that sent the card. Even if I don’t know, she pins it to her bulletin board and adds the address to her little book so she can send a Christmas card the following year.

This tiny little act of kindness impacts the entire day in the most positive way by connecting her to the outside world.

There are thousands of people, maybe tens of thousands, like my friend who would love to get something in the mail even if they don’t know you. Some of our relatives, our neighbors, and our friends may also fall into this category; people who could use a little pick-me-up. Churches and nursing homes know of dozens of people who could benefit from receiving a little sunshine in the form of a card. If you don’t want to be identified, it could be an anonymous message: “Here’s hoping your day is filled with light.~ a caring stranger”.

This idea isn’t so creepy or strange. It is in line with the program that encourages us to send Christmas cards to soldiers or care packages serving overseas. This act of kindness sends the message that “the world hasn’t forgotten about you”, “someone cares that you’re still here’, and/or “you still matter”. Who can’t benefit from that kind of reminder?

Doing something nice – positively affecting the life of another – offering a little encouragement… These things make a difference for you and the receiving person. The energy behind kindness is long lasting on both ends. The effort is small, the cost is minimal, yet the reward is great when you…

Send a card of connection.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#145 Hide a Love Note

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#145

Hide a Love Note

In yesterday’s post, I wrote about surprising someone you love. While finding a love note you’ve tucked away may be a surprise to the person who finds it, I thought it detailed enough to be its own tip to promote your (and another’s) happiness.

This suggestion is almost always found in lists of ‘things to do’ in order to perk up your relationship or build trust and intimacy between you and a partner. It’s another one of those things we are apt to do in the early stages of romance before our attention and energy get pulled into the day-to-day distractions of real life. Yet, it’s another – rather easy – free effort that reaps big payoffs in the long run.

Variations

I’ll describe a number of the variations for this suggestion as well because it isn’t as black and white as it may seem.

  • Love note: This can be a one liner; a lengthy tribute; or anything in between. It is specifically directed to someone you love and the note points to those emotions; includes any ‘loving’ relationship.
  • Thinking of you note: Generally a one liner but may include a romantic suggestion or a good will wish.
  • Appreciation note: A note specifically pointing out the attributes of the individual that you especially appreciate; more meaningful if you speak to ‘who’ the person is versus ‘what’ the person does.

The Medium

The notes can be from a sticky pad, beautiful stationery, printer paper, or the back of an old envelope. It doesn’t matter what the note is written on – what matters is the time and sentiment that it takes to write and then ‘hide’ the message. Likewise, your penmanship, spelling, ‘writing ability’, and writing instrument makes no difference. The sentence: “I luv u with my hole hart” scribbled in crayon is just as sentimental as one that is typed on parchment paper and spelled correctly.

Hiding Spot

Hiding them is perhaps, the trickiest part. It’s nice when they aren’t blatantly obvious although if your only option is to lay it on the kitchen table before you leave for work – it’s better than not doing it. However, the little surprises of finding a note hidden in a towel as you grab your shower, or inside a shoe you only wear on weekends, or at the bottom of a cereal box… those are the moments when you least expect to be presented with something significant or sweet. The goal here is for the note to be discovered in the most least expected way.

Think about the person you are writing to… where would they least expect to find a note of love, appreciation, or a kind thought? Grab something quick, while you’re thinking about it, jot something down and then…

Hide a love note.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#227 Give Something you Cherish to Someone you Cherish

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#227

Give something you cherish to someone you cherish

More Sharing

I’ve recently made the suggestion to share a book you love with someone so that they can experience the pleasure you had when you read the book. The following suggestion is an even more intimate offering of your heart… to share something you covet or adore with a special someone in your life. In this case, it would be a material thing… something meaningful.

Before you Die

Many of us think about this suggestion only in respect to ‘after we’re gone’. We may put codicils in our will bequeathing important treasures to people we love so that they ‘have something of us’ after we die. What fun is there in that?? We don’t get to see their reaction and experience the joy of giving first hand if we wait until the end of our life.  There are probably dozens of items in your home that you care deeply about but that would also be meaningful to someone you love.

Sentimental Items

Try thinking of ONE thing to pass along to a special person in your life that would have meaning for both of you. Grandma’s pearls? A platter you’ve used for every holiday? A framed photograph of someone dear who has passed away? A ring you no longer wear? It can be anything that has sentimental value that you wish to share with a loved one.

Presentation

The presentation of this item is part of the recommendation. Don’t make it a special occasion gift, i.e., birthday, graduation, etc… make it a ‘just because’ gift. It would be great if it was a private exchange… meant for and shared by just the two of you. The goal is to really ‘experience’ the pleasure of giving with the person you are giving to – not to make it a group or public demonstration. Take some time to consider the gift, the sentiment, and the recipient and then…

Give something you cherish to someone you cherish.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#228 Buy Coffee for the Person Behind You

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#228

Buy coffee for the person behind you.

I’m sure you’ve heard of, perhaps even acutely aware of the ‘random act of kindness’ movement (#RAK).  You may even have performed one recently. What I’d like to suggest is that the next time you get in line to buy coffee, a latte, or a frappe – please consider paying for the drink that the person behind you has ordered (assuming you are in a drive through line). You could do it for the car behind you in an drive through that pre-orders (fast food, etc.).

We know that ‘kindness begets kindness’… when people are the receiver of a random act of kindness, they are more likely to perform one but it has to start somewhere. Why not be the one to initiate?

When you are kind, pleasure centers in your brain are activated. Your dopamine levels increase and you feel happier. When we are surprised, (by receiving a random act of kindness) we also have surges in dopamine, again feeling happier. It’s a win – win situation.

When I make this suggestion I sometimes hear objections of how difficult it is to find an extra $5 but really… it’s only $5 and it might mean that your coffee tomorrow is forgone but knowing that you’ve impacted the life of another in a positive way will override any deficiency.

It’s a simple suggestion, spending a few dollars on someone you don’t even know to promote happiness for you both. Why don’t you consider, the next time you are sitting in line at a drive through… promoting happiness by taking the time to …

Buy a coffee for the person behind you.

\I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#229 Chat with a random Stranger

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#229

Chat with a Random Stranger

Disconnect

We live in a world that while connected via radio waves and fiber optic cables, is often disconnected from an interpersonal perspective. We walk around with cell phones and headphones, attending to email, social media, and news headlines rather than the space in which we stand. Most of us can find ourselves standing next to a stranger at some point during the day with barely a glance to recognize their presence there; the ghostly whisper of our mothers “don’t talk to strangers” mantra reverberating ever so slightly through our memory.

Connect

If we take time to bring ourselves into the present moment while we run our errands, grab our lunch, or wait for transportation, we can simultaneously take time to appreciate the people in our periphery. Why not go one step further and connect with one of the other human beings close by? A simple comment of “that color looks great on you” or “I love your haircut” may be just the thing that person needs to counterbalance a negative from earlier in the day. The few seconds you take to actually connect to someone benefits you too.

Thrive

Social connection is linked to happiness, personal thriving, and longevity. It seems that even the simple act of acknowledging that we are not isolated – even if we don’t know or aren’t friends with people – can improve our state of mind. If we look up and acknowledge others in our environment for even a brief interaction, our brains interpret connectivity. The truth is, we aren’t isolated anywhere but in our minds. At any given point, most of us can walk out our door, down the sidewalk and connect with a human being in some kind of way – IF we choose.

Lessons from Childhood

The premise is simple and mostly likely etched in your memory somewhere because children do this naturally. (Another example of something innate that we ‘unlearn’.) Children – completely unknown to one another – will engage on a playground within minutes of being there. In no time at all, they are introducing themselves and cooperating to extend their enjoyment.

Make a pledge to yourself to disarm those adult hesitations, break away from your distractions, and be present the next time you find yourself in a line, a group, or a crowd and make the effort to …

Talk to a random stranger.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by Simon Shim on Unsplash