Love is an attitude that says, “I choose to focus on helping others.” One of the wonderful things about living a love-filled life is that we are not dependent on the circumstances of our life for happiness; we can find joy in our decision and actions to love others, whether they love us in return or not.
If we think of love as a feeling we will be disappointed because love is an action; love is using tools of knowledge to improve the quality of love we give. The key to finding the joy of love is to focus on giving love to others, not on receiving it. When you are choosing to enrich the lives of others through loving relationships, you will find the most satisfying form of fulfillment.
In order to love effectively in relationships, we need to cultivate successful habits. Kindness is one of the seven habits of authentic love discussed in, Love as a Way of Life by Gary Chapman:
Kindness is much simpler and more powerful than we realize. Kindness means noticing someone else and recognizing his needs; it means seeing the value in every person we meet. We cannot love authentically if we are not willing to sacrifice, which means meeting someone else’s needs before our own for the sake of a relationship.
We often become so preoccupied with our own agenda we don’t even take the time to make the choice to be kind. The Greek philosopher Socrates warned, “Beware of the barrenness of a busy life.” Once we can stop to see the needs in people, we can take the giant step from seeing to responding; the challenge then becomes simply to use the knowledge and skills we have to meet the needs of those around us.
Develop the attitude that kindness can heal; kindness can also change a person. But also be aware that even though people’s response will vary to our acts of kindness, we must develop the capacity to not pull back or get angry. People may accept our kindness with gratitude, refuse it, or even become angry; their response is out of our control.
If we live a life of authentic love, we will tie acts of kindness to words of kindness. Never underestimate the power of kind words to change someone’s life. Kind words affirm who people are and what they do; kind words see the best in the individual; but kind words will also confront the people you love when their actions are not creating desirable outcomes. Choose kind, wholesome words; create positive statements; focus on the value and love of every person when you choose your words.
Kindness, like every characteristic of love, develops over time as we open our hearts and minds to becoming more loving. You have to want to make kindness the focus of our life, knowing that the egocentric self is destructive to love. We must consciously learn how to keep kindness in the forefront of our minds every day.