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The Rules of Love: 7 Powerful Ways to Bring More Love Into Your Life

investloveA few months ago, I was celebrating New Years back in the USA with old friends, reveling in the good vibes that come from happy reunions and celebrations of what life has brought within the past year.

I was catching up with a close friend of mine when he suddenly changed the topic of conversation from travel plans to what my new resolutions were.

His question took me by surprise; I honestly hadn’t given any thought to it. Without thinking about it, I said the first thing that came to my mind:

“To be more loving to people.”

He gave me a knowing smile and said, “That’s a really good one.” We continued the conversation along other lines and didn’t revisit the topic.

It was only the next day that I thought over what I had said. It changed my approach to the last few days of my yearly visit home, prompting me to mend up old gripes with my parents, and it set a new tone for returning to daily life in Frankfurt.

About two months later, just before Valentine’s Day, a friend lent me a book she had just finished reading and thought I would like. It’s called The Rules of Love: A Personal Code for Happier, More Fulfilling Relationships, by Richard Templar, and is a mix of common sense ideas and well-put principles for growing fulfilling relationships throughout life and building up the love that is already there.

But some of the “rules” seemed a bit too passive to me, if I held them up to my new resolution of being more loving.

Being more loving means taking action.

There are times for airy, dreamy talk about love, but even better are the concrete, down-to-earth ways to actively cultivate love on a daily basis.

To act on my resolution and share the love with you, I’d like to offer you my favorite ideas inspired from concepts in The Rules of Love: 7 powerful ways to bring more love – of all kinds – into your life:

1. Be able to be happy on your own
(Rule 3: you won’t be happy with a partner until you can be happy on your own)

As the author puts it, “this doesn’t mean be a hermit, but it does mean taking as much time as you need to become happy with yourself.”

It’s a question of finding a balance in relying on a combination of internal and external sources of happiness.

Are you capable of providing yourself with a certain amount of happiness in the first place? If not, can you expect to fill the “happiness gap” sustainably by seeking it only in external sources?

I’d like to share with you 3 mini power strategies to be happy on your own:

happy

> Recognize that you always have a choice: you can view being on your own as a negative thing, or you can embrace it.

> Once you’ve gotten over that first mental hurdle of discomfort, commit to using this chance of being on your own to discover more about yourself.

> If you notice yourself scrambling for things to distract you from being on your own, take a second to check in with yourself. Are you taking good care of yourself? What could you do immediately that would bring you back into balance?

(A Social Person’s Guide to Being Happy Alone goes more in-depth on this topic, in parts one and two).

The thing is, it’s easier to share love with other people if you’re happy with yourself. If you’re in balance and taking responsibility for your own happiness, it’s all the more natural to want others to experience it too.

2. Make them laugh
(Rule 5: choose someone who makes you laugh)

Humor is a funny thing – in both the amusing and odd sense of the word “funny”. When you laugh, you exert muscles to produce your own personal “ha ha” sound, which triggers an increase in endorphins (the feel-good brain chemicals).

Think about when you’ve experienced social laughter: relaxed and contagious, it creates closeness within a group of friends, for example.

Humor has shown to be effective for increasing resilience in dealing with distress. Laughing is proven to increase pain resistance and is effective in undoing the impact of negative emotions.

What does that mean? Make someone laugh, and you’re being a sneaky ninja in their brain undoing stress! What’s not to love about that?

3. Accept the differences, embrace what you have in common
(Rule 28)

To love is to accept. If you want to bring more love into your life, you have to accept the supportive people who are already there.

Sure, some of them are going to drive you nuts at times, but if they feel that you see the benefit of their quirks and oddities, they’ll feel more comfortable and will be more inclined to show how thankful they are by sending positivity your way.

We know that the best teams contain people with different strengths. The sooner you can get to the core of a person, determine their strengths and put aside any differences, the sooner you’ll surround yourself with a great “team” of supportive, lovely people and awesome relationships.

4. Know when to listen and when to act
(Rule 35)

When someone close to you comes to you with a problem, it’s usually your gut reaction to try to help, right?

This rule comes down to simplicity: sometimes it’s best not to try to fix someone else’s problem, but to just *be* for a person. When they’re a stormy fury, you get to sit and be a rock for them to break on.

Templar touches on the psychology of this, writing, “We human beings are strange creatures and need to know that our reactions and behavior are acceptable.”

The next time someone shares a problem with you, give them permission to feel angry, or annoyed, or hurt. With a touch of grounded love, you’re doing prep work for the next time you are in their shoes and need to vent.

5. If you can say something nice, do
(Rule 37)

be-kind-dalai-lamaProbably the easiest to put into action on a daily basis, multiple times a day, this rule packs a punch full of love in a short amount of time.

You might have learned the complement to this rule when you were a kid: “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”.

Let’s assume you follow that one – most of the time – and are already pretty good at holding your tongue around people when it counts.

Just how much might those same people react differently, or better, if you started proactively being kind?

How could you start being kind in the in-between spaces, in the downtime when nothing special is happening that would normally push you to be extra nice or to give a compliment for no reason?

Templar puts it well: “We all need reassurance and encouragement. We’re human, and that’s how we work.”

It’s exactly then, in the in-between times where the people around you aren’t expecting your kindness – or aren’t necessarily needing it – that you’ll have the most impact in building a baseline of love.

You might give a spontaneous gift or compliment, reach out to help when it hasn’t yet been asked for, or (to get back to the power of laughter) brighten their day with a well-timed joke.

That baseline becomes a reflection of what you are at your core: someone who is great to be around, and it’s an easy, natural thing to love greatness.

6. Be that person who excites, uplifts, and is a pleasure to have around
(Rule 42: Make sure your partner is always pleased to see you)

Similar to Rule 37, Rule 42 is most effective when you’re not necessarily at your best, or when the people around you are going about their normal day-to-day business.

It’s a parallel concept as the one above: you’re establishing a baseline for yourself as a proactive person who literally shines on those around you.

The more you share uplifting moments, excitement, happiness and whatever other daily pleasure you get out of life, the more the people around you will care about your happiness, simply because they know when you feel good, you’ll be actively making them feel good too.

7. The more you put out, the more you get back
(Rule 99)

banksyloveTemplar writes: “The universe doesn’t always give back love from where you gave it. Your generosity to one person may be returned by a complete stranger. But if you keep putting it out wherever you see that it’s needed, you’ll keep getting it back in buckets.”

Call it the Law of Attraction or whatever you like. The return on your investment will most certainly manifest, though perhaps not in the way you might have expected it.

Give this rule a chance to work, and learn from the experience. Trust me, you’ll love it.

Final thoughts

You’ll have noticed by now that the art of bringing love into your life is not-so-secretly focused on finding ways to actively share/spread/shine love outwards.

Essentially, it’s about making life easier and more pleasant for others because you truly want to.

Some will notice, and they will return the pleasantness in kind.

Invest in making it a daily habit, and you’ll see how quickly the returns can grow.

I’d *love* to hear about your thoughts and experiences on this topic, so please leave a comment below.

Cheers (and lots of love),

Ginger

About the Author

GingerGinger is a Peak Potentials Coach and the Feel Good Team’s resident nomad. Through her coaching, she helps you navigate major transitions, whether to new locations, new jobs or to new phases in life. Ginger also coordinates with writers for The Feel Good Lifestyle so that you have fresh, inspiring content.

Twitter: @ginger_kern

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"PS. Ever feel overwhelmed when trying to reach your goals? Watch my TEDx talk to learn how to stop slowly killing yourself while accomplishing more. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M9i3-QhWzg&t=565s"
Posted on : 31, Mar 2013

32 Comments

  • Awesome post Ginger. The interest thing with love is I found when I’m more loving, not only am I am happier and in a better mood, but it also improves my creativity and the quality of my work. Essentially, it improves all areas of my life. I LOVE it :)

    • Hey Phil, big thanks for the help fine-tuning the post so that it flows as well as it does!

      I totally agree – when you actively use the love that you’re capable of using, it drives your work and makes what you produce inherently better :)

  • Your post came just in time, Ginger!

    After living on my own (pretty much) for a bit longer than a year (also took lots of work to learn to be happy with that), my best friend moved in with me a few weeks ago and although I love her so much, it has been difficult for me to be loving and accepting 24/7 as I tend to be a practical control freak giving quick solutions to everyone’s problems (I might be too optimistic?!). So it’s been an interesting ride so far… Will come back to this post everyday for a friendly reminder ;)

    And great to read you also live in Frankfurt! :-D

    Mel

    • Hi Mel, cool stuff, we should meet up sometime :) Shoot me an email if you want!

      Learning to live with people of different lifestyles when you’re a bit of a control freak is actually really good practice for any time you’re in an unfamiliar situation. If you can, try to let go just a little each time you notice something your friend is doing that you “wouldn’t do”. She’s probably not doing it to intentionally annoy you since she’s your best friend ;)

      Good luck!

  • Ginger, I love your practical and loving reminders of how to get what we want by first giving to others. To have a friend, be a friend. To have love, share our own love.

    • D’Anne, you have a great name, just sayin’! I’m curious though, how do you pronounce it?
      Thanks for the support and *love*.

  • WINNING!!!! Thank you so much!

    • You’re welcome :D

  • Ginger,

    Thanks for sharing your insights. As a coach I teach a lot of the stuff you mention, but I love how you’ve made principles actionable and applied them to your own life.

    Thanks again for your contribution. You’ve clearly figured out that life isn’t about what you can get-away-with, it’s about how much you can put into it!

    Cheers!

    • Yep, putting principles into action brings a lot more clarity to them and their purpose than just by reading them on a page :) Thanks for the kind words!

  • Thank you Ginger, it really is helpful to think more about the active side to sharing the love, rather than the passive quotes we see on facebook everyday. Lots of people expect love and happiness, but don’t see that you have to be an active ‘lovely’ person yourself – that’s how it goes around. We set up LOVEphotography in 2010, a lovely little family portrait studio, with the simple aim to share the LOVE, we think of it as an energy that we try to help (in our little way) to spread, and try and catch ourselves if we’re ever feeling or doing something ‘unlovely’ and change our thoughts/actions. Our photographic aim is to capture the moments of real love in families and create memories that keep the bonds close. It’s amazing to watch them relax and remember how much they enjoy spending time together. It’s hard sometimes, with studio rent and bills to pay, and all the discount bargain-hunters out there, to remember that’s the real reason we started our business, so I’d like to say thanks for the nudge back to keeping it real. Am printing your article out tomorrow and putting on our wall in the studio :) big LOVE caroline and karl, of LOVEphotography, nottingham uk xxx
    (www.welovephotography.com, http://www.facebook.com/welovephotography – pls feel free to like and share the LOVE too xxx)

    • Hi Caroline, glad you liked the post! Photography is definitely a wonderful way to show quiet beauty or vibrant life and love….
      I do like a lot of those quotes on Facebook though ;)

  • I really love this post! It’s something I’ve been consciously trying to work on but still feel like I fall short. This is exactly what I needed!

    • Great to hear that you’re sticking with it, Joy :) Don’t be too hard on yourself — even little bits of love can go a long way…that’s something I have to remind myself of too.

  • Great post Ginger. I especially loved the part about just being a rock for a loved one to rest on! Great stuff!

    • Hey Eric, sometimes that’s the most effective and loving thing to be :) Thanks for the comment love!

  • I have felt the ‘return on investment’. On three unrelated occasions I ‘gave the love’…which simply involved treating people with respect, and assigning them value. There is no special formula, just feel that respect and free oneself from judgement. On each of the occasions I strongly feel that I went from a high potential victim (robbery and assault) to good guy. People will assign value to you if you do so for them. Respect and value assignment are necessary prerequisites for love. People are exceptionally good at reading this, it is expressed through your body and eyes.
    I didn’t always have the love to give. It took a commitment to developing self awareness and personal growth. Perhaps my observations are anecdotal, but I don’t think so.

    • I really liked how you phrased this, Dick: “…simply involved treating people with respect, and assigning them value. There is no special formula, just feel that respect and free oneself from judgement. Respect and value assignment are necessary prerequisites for love.”

      I think your observations are more universal than you might give them credit for. Thanks for sharing them!

  • Very great wisdom! So many times people are just waiting to be loved, – some one HAS to come and start loving them, showing the affection.

    But indeed, love starts from loving yourself first, – then taking actions on the other one! And this is action, not passive sitting.

    It is a work, every day work and every minute work, inner work, work outside of yourself, – but is it rewarding in terms of feeling yourself much better and changing the quality of your life!

    We need to accept the loved ones, with all their ups and downs, their weird habits and different views on life, etc., – this is another showing of love. Every human is unique and must be respected.

    Thank You very much so for such a great work!

    • You’re more than welcome, thanks for sharing your thoughts :) Loving is “work”, but it’s definitely the rewarding kind, as you said. It’s work that you enjoy putting more and more effort into, as it only gets better and better as you do…

  • Wonderful article Ginger! Especially as I read each point I could see how you are always implementing these in your own life and how well it works. Now I can use this as a sketch map of how to do similarly in my own life. Thank you!

    • Hello my dear ;) Thanks for reading, as always! I’m hoping it’ll help a lot of people do the same…
      Looking forward to seeing you soon!

  • […] In Your Relationship Love is a catalyst for action. It turns even the shyest among us into serenading casanovas. We plan dates and outings and trips […]

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  • I love your article!! …It’s everything I ever needed here…

  • Thank you so much for your words of wisdom.

  • thank you from your articale.
    and I will translet it to Pashto

  • i am truly greatful for lifestyle encouragement, love is a perfect explanation that makes life so beautiful i’m inspired

  • I haven’t read much but I hopefully will do at home.Looks promising anyway

  • its touches the corners of heart

  • Nice thought i will
    definetly try it.

    thanks.
    Have a nice day

  • Hello Ginger, Just read the post and believe me the If someone follow these 7 ways this will bring more love in his life. Yes I do agree, the more you put the more you get. Actually, If you’re in love then any time of day you will realize that girls want love and they are ready to give you more love.

    Such a nice reading though!

So, what do you think?