How do you feel love? Do you feel tingling hands or feet, butterflies in your stomach, heart pounding, the stretch on your face as you smile or something else? Did you know that when people feel love there are a series of hormones and chemicals changes that affect our body’s nervous system in a positive way? Love can be directed to and received from all areas of life. There is love of self, love of others, love of objects, hobbies, possessions and places and the list can go on. If you are willing to love more and more, you will notice love around you more and more. You can cultivate more love in your life right now, you have 10 steps to get there. Starting now!
1.Understand what love is and what it feels like to you.
Firstly, it is vital for you to have a good understanding of what love is. Love is a word or label we place upon a specific sequence or series of feelings that are unique to the individual. Each individual has a rulebook which represents how they love, what steps need to be ticked off and what intensity of feeling needs to be met in order for love to be felt. So love to me is felt in the heart space, in a specific cheeky smile unique to me and a group of other criteria. However other people may feel the tingling in their hands or feet and sparkles in their eyes. What is your experience of love? What does it feel like? Is it always the same or does it change? Consider this for a moment now prior to reading on.
The feelings that you have identified that to you represent love are important to know because now you can notice if your rulebook is getting in the way of your experience of the feelings of love. Everytime you notice yourself feeling loved, recognise it and consider whether you can feel more love in your life? Can you increase the intensity of the feeling? Can you allow it to hang around for longer?
2.Understand your rulebook for love.
Your rulebook on how you love or feel loved will determine how much, how frequently and to what intensity you experience the wonderful feeling of love in your life. Many people suffer because their unconscious rulebook for love is sabotaging their ability to feel loved. For instance, someone may have in their rulebook that in order for them to feel loved whilst they are working they must be rung or texted three times during the work day by their significant other, otherwise they won’t feel loved. So if we apply that rule, this individual won’t feel loved after the first text which said “Hi babe, you are the best, thanks for making my coffee this morning” and she won’t feel loved on the second text which said “Hi darling, I just saw a beautiful rainbow and thought of that beach trip together”. The only time they could experience love is after the final and third text which possibly in this example said “Hiya, I’m running really late as I’m busy at work I can’t make it home for dinner”. This final text meets the criteria of three texts during the day however the content doesn’t meet this lady’s criteria for feeling loved because he isn’t going to show up for dinner which is one of her other criteria for love. Thus the beautiful words and gratitude shown in the previous two texts were not received and felt as love, thus left to go to waste. The final text didn’t meet her criteria for loving words and therefore she won’t feel the incredible, life giving feeling of love. However, the final text could be interpreted differently and seen as the man valuing his dinnertime catch up, disappointment he couldn’t make it and that he cares enough to let his significant other know. Now remember this is an example and this lady could have a rulebook of love for her work, her hobbies, for herself and therefore get her fill of loving emotion at health giving levels in these other areas. However, her rulebook has flaws in it regarding her partner. Now it is to your own rulebook where your attention must go – now! Consider when you feel loved, consider when you don’t, consider how you can slightly tweak your rulebook in a way that is overall helpful to you and your life whilst ensuring your changes do not have any negative side effects to you or anyone else (you can always change it back – you are in control).
3.Understand other’s relationship with love will be different to yours.
Take the easier road to more love in your life – figure out what rules others have for love. This will ensure when you give love, it is more likely the receiver will reciprocate. This is a simple concept to understand because it is so obvious when you look as an observer. Consider the following scenario of a couple Daisy* and Grass* (*names changed): Daisy likes to give and receive presents for special occasions such as Birthdays whereas Grass tends to see something at anytime of the year and purchase that present, not really going into special effort on Birthdays. So both couples are giving presents with thought and with love but at different times of the year. This simple difference in the rulebook can be troublesome if both Daisy and Grass stick to their own rulebooks and do not tolerate or accept the love that has been given in a different manner to their rules. This can lead to resentment, frustration and lack of understanding rather than love. There are so much more to explore in this area and a great resource to support your understanding is the book “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. However until you complete that reading, just remember to be on the look out for your own rulebook as per step number three above and also consider the rulebooks of others. It is a wise move to figure out the major rules of those you have close relationships with and ensure you provide love in a way they will accept it easily and willingly.
4.What happens when you experience love?
Endorphins, oxytocin and all sorts of fabulous physiological changes occur when you love. It essentially is a way to improve your health and emotions. Emotional states within our lives are influential on the people around us, especially influential on those closest to us. For instance, can you remember a time your loved ones were in pain and therefore you felt it too? Have you ever been in a car with a friend who is annoyed at something? Of course you have, so you recognise their annoyance and figure out a way to either stay as silent as possible or to try to trigger their emotional outburst that is bound to eventuate at some point. In contrast, have you spent time around playful young happy children? You will end up smiling because their mood is almost contagious. Love is a feeling that like happiness and joy needs to be experienced more and more in the world. Why? Because when you feel love, you’ll feel good, be healthier and in doing so this powerful emotional state will have a supportive, loving, compassionate and calming effect on the world around you. Wow what an incredible emotional state to share with your family, friends and wider world!
5.Avoid holding love for only the big occasions of the year
The famous ‘Love Actually’ movie changes the song ‘Love is all around us’ to ‘Christmas is all around us’ with the aging rock star Billy Mack trying to make a comeback with the new version – of course you know the story. Yes the Christmas version works for the popular movie plot however ultimately both versions represent the same thing; that if you actually look for love and feel it, love truly is all around you always. In many respects the celebration of Christmas is an act of love. Christmas involves the act of giving and receiving in love, the act of wishing people well over the Christmas holidays and the various acts of sacrifice parents and families make to ensure Christmas is a fun filled occasion. Similarly if you ignore the commercial hype that can overshadow the underlying message of Valentine’s Day, it too is an opportunity to show and feel more love and affection in your life. Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Birthdays and all sorts of occasions are wonderful reminders to show your love of the people in your life. However, occasions in the other spectrum of emotion are also reminders to love; ill health, human atrocities, newspaper worthy tragedies and death of loved ones. However, like many important matters in life we often do not take the time to recognise the love we have, what is real love versus what we have negatively created in our dramatic minds. So take the opportunities you have each and everyday to show more love to those around you. And yet, remember instead of considering life is short choose to believe that life is precious. Therefore treasure it and those around you with love in your heart. Treasure your life like a jeweller with diamonds, gems and rubies sitting sparkling in cupped hands. Send love to those around you with compassion and kindness and by doing so all year round when you get the reminders throughout the year the intensity of your love will only increase from an already high level because you have cultivated your ability to love and show love.
When interviewed on love, Inspiration Activated’s life coach Jackie Lenihan said “Dreaming produces love in our hearts and reminds us to love ourselves, to love our future and to love our potential”. So, start dreaming the big positive loving dreams today! Dream the dreams that are exciting, inspiring and motivate you to start taking actions towards living life with more and more love; Dream of your passions, the things or places you love, the people you love and include dreaming about your future romantic relationship whether already in one or not. Given life is precious you might as well pursue that which you love! Such dreams with lots of pictures, videos, words, feelings, sounds and tastes strengthens your neural network in your body to recognise what you want. This helps with increasing your ability to recognise opportunities to love more in your life and also to take more and more actions towards your dreams.
7.Remember to love when life gets tough
The previous six steps are helpful to support you to cultivate more love in your life so that when life is tough (which inevitably happens) then you have the resources and skills in place to support you to access love quickly and strongly. However, even then when faced with grief, illness, injury, career challenge, gut wrenching mistake or so called failure, love can be hard to accept. However, it is vital to feel love during these times as it helps with acceptance, it helps with gratitude of small things, it helps with forgiveness of self or others and it helps you accept help from others in your time of need. I can recall many a time when I’ve been in a haze of suffering that I wasn’t open to accepting love. I didn’t want to love myself because I had been sooooooo stupid and that is why I was in a pile of pain, I didn’t want to accept love from others because I didn’t love myself and the cycle would continue from not accepting a meal made in love to not accepting the feeling behind a loving text message. This cycle only held me in pain and suffering. It held me in challenge. It is at these challenge times when you need to be open to love and accept it as much as you can. It will support you like a bed supports you when you have a lovely deep sleep. For me, every occasion I let a little bit of the light of love into my suffering dark world, more opportunities to ease my suffering would arise. For instance, I would notice after several days of not being able to sleep through the night I was finally resting fully, I would notice the warmth of a hug from a friend and I would have the capacity to love myself and show love to my family and friends. This giving back of love actually allows you to feel love more and more because when you give love to others such as a kind word or act of service you will experience feeling loving sensations within you.
8.Put into action your knowledge from steps one to seven.
Convinced you want more love in your life? Life is precious. Ensure you live yours to the maximum by cultivating more love in your life today.
Rachael is the founder of Inspiration Activated where she works with anyone facing life’s challenges or struggles. She uses NLP and Life Coaching to uplift, ignite and propel you to the life of your choosing. She also works as a Physiotherapist with a particular interest in Cancer Rehabilitation and mind-body connection. If you are interested in connecting with Rachael please visit the contact page of the website or follow on facebook at @inspirationactivated