Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
How do you know if you’re love?
The answer can change so much about your life, from how you interact with a current (or potential) partner to how you view yourself to what goals you have for the future. Think you might be in love? Gain some insight by considering these research-based signs of love andattachment.
Relationship observers—and people who watch romantic comedies—know that love needs the buttressing of commitment to flourish into a stable and healthy partnership.
Love is a force of nature. However much we may want to, we can not command, demand, or take away love, any more than we can command the moon and the stars and the wind and the rain to come and go according to our whims. We may have some limited ability to change the weather, but we do so at the risk of upsetting an ecological balance we don't fully understand. Similarly, we can stage a seduction or mount a courtship, but the result is more likely to be infatuation, or two illusions dancing together, than love.
Love is bigger than you are. You can invite love, but you cannot dictate how, when, and where love expresses itself. You can choose to surrender to love, or not, but in the end love strikes like lightening, unpredictable and irrefutable. You can even find yourself loving people you don't like at all. Love does not come with conditions, stipulations, addenda, or codes. Like the sun, love radiates independently of our fears and desires.
Love is inherently free. It cannot be bought, sold, or traded. You cannot make someone love you, nor can you prevent it, for any amount of money. Love cannot be imprisoned nor can it be legislated. Love is not a substance, not a commodity, nor even a marketable power source. Love has no territory, no borders, no quantifiable mass or energy output.
One can buy sex partners and even marriage partners. Marriage is a matter for the law, for rules and courts and property rights. In the past, the marriage price, or dowry, and in the present, alimony and the pre-nuptial agreement, make it clear that marriage is all about contracts. But as we all know, marriages, whether arranged or not, may have little enough to do with love.
Sexual stimulation and gratification, whether by way of fingers, mouths, objects, fantasy play, whips and chains, or just plain intercourse, can certainly be bought and sold, not to mention used to sell other things. Whether sex should be for sale is another question entirely, but love itself can not be sold.
One can buy loyalty, companionship, attention, perhaps even compassion, but love itself cannot be bought. An orgasm can be bought, but love cannot. It comes, or not, by grace, of its own will and in its own timing, subject to no human's planning.
Love cannot be turned on as a reward. It cannot be turned off as a punishment. Only something else pretending to be love can be used as a lure, as a hook, for bait and switch, imitated, insinuated, but the real deal can never be delivered if it doesn't spring freely from the heart.
This doesn't mean that love allows destructive and abusive behaviors to go unchecked. Love speaks out for justice and protests when harm is being done. Love points out the consequences of hurting oneself or others. Love allows room for anger, grief, or pain to be expressed and released. But love does not threaten to withhold itself if it doesn't get what it wants. Love does not say, directly or indirectly, "If you are a bad boy, Mommy won't love you any more." Love does not say, "Daddy's little girl doesn't do that." Love does not say, "If you want to be loved you must be nice, or do what I want, or never love anyone else, or promise you'll never leave me."
Love cares what becomes of you because love knows that we are all interconnected. Love is inherently compassionate and empathic. Love knows that the "other" is also oneself. This is the true nature of love and love itself can not be manipulated or restrained. Love honors the sovereignty of each soul. Love is its own law.
Excerpted from The Seven Natural Laws of Love, by Deborah Anapol and appears by permission of the publisher. This material is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. Please contact the author for permission to copy, distribute or reprint.
TRUE LOVE, OR FALSE ASSUMPTIONS?
1. Love is an irrational emotion that you either are “in” or not “in.”
Not so, according to philosopher Berit Brogaard, author of On Romantic Love: Simple Truths about a Complex Emotion(link is external). In fact, love admits of degrees: You can love a little, a lot, or not at all. Sometimes your feelings are quite rational; at others, they’re utterly irrational.
2. You can’t make yourself fall out of love.
But you can. Emotions are subject to a kind of rational control. You can use strategies to help you fall out of a love that’s wrong for you, claims Brogaard(link is external), whose book is a pleasant mix of strong opinion, detailed anecdote, and academic credibility.
3. Falling in love is a unique physiological state.
Not really, Brogaard writes. It’s a lot like what happens when you react to perceived danger with a rush of cortisol and other hormones that prepare you to flee or fight. Due to a new potential partner’s mystery and sexual attraction, your amygdala hyper-activates. Neurotransmitters signal the adrenal glands that something exciting, scary, and mysterious is happening. As such, love can feel and act in your brain a lot like cocaine.
4. The emotional pain of a failed romantic love is unlike any other.
Not true. Brogaard cites studies finding the same neurons firing when a person experiences either physical or psychological pain.
HOW DO WE REALLY MATE?
5. Meeting the right person is a random toss of the dice.
Not so, posits mathematician and complexity scientist Hannah Fry, author of The Mathematics of Love: Patterns, Proofs, and the Search for the Ultimate Equation(link is external) (aTED(link is external) Original). She offers a tactic to increase your odds: Be less picky. Rather than insist that you’re only attracted to and willing to date a small percentage of those you meet—those who fulfill your particular age and educational preferences—raise that percentage and see your odds improve. Also, don’t insist on someone having every one of your ideal attributes. Many happy couples have shared that they never thought they’d find joy with someone like their beloved, even if it's someone who kills spiders or hates jazz.
6. There’s always someone out there who would be better suited for you than your current partner.
Not necessarily. Purely following the mathematical “optimal stopping theory,” Fry writes, you would first calculate out the length of your dating life; fully reject the first 37% of those you date; and then stick with the next person you meet who is better suited for you than any of those you rejected. Of course, Fry wryly explains, there are flaws in this formula, and she explores them in some depth and with ample wit, leaving readers to choose for themselves between the hazards of choosing too soon or the risks of being too choosy altogether. [Join Fry on Twitter @fryrsquared]
WHAT'S SCIENCE GOT TO DO WITH IT?
7. Taking turns sharing what you resent about one another is a valid therapytechnique.
No way, writes John Mordechai Gottman, a psychology and relationship researcher for the past 40 years in his Principia Amoris: The New Science of Love(link is external). In fact, anger will not bring you catharsis. By freely expressing your most negative thoughts, you just end up feeling angrier.
8. To get, you have to give an equal amount.
Actually, quid pro quo thinking has been found to be a hallmark of relationships that arefailing, Gottman insists. In the best relationships, each partner gives without expecting anything in return. (Also see “A Marriage Manifesto: Beyond Tit-for-Tat”)
9. Love is unpredictable.
Don't believe it, writes Gottman. Many replicable studies have demonstrated that love is quite predictable. In his own lab, he has been able to predict divorce(link is external) over a six-year period with better than 90% accuracy. Much of that predictability is based on how couples handle conflict, and how many positive vs. negative comments they make to each other.
10. Couples will inevitably stop having much sex.
Gottman refutes this common misconception beautifully: “Using the math of game theory I proved that a couple will stop having very much sex if there is any negative cost at all to saying ‘no’ to sex. As long as the cost of saying ‘no’ to an invitation to sex by one’s partner is just slightly positive (and not zero), I showed that the couple will have a lot of sex.” (A fuller explanation of this surprising and important statement is on page 51 of Principia Amoris, a book I highly recommend.)
Copyright (c) 2015 by Susan K. Perry(link is external), whose novel Kylie’s Heel(link is external) features some of the pitfalls of love. Also see her Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way(link is external).
Learning to respect your own time. Sounds like a really basic concept and not hard to do at all, and for some this is true. I, however, struggle on a daily basis to respect my own time and I am a professional organizer who specializes in time management. I am also a people pleaser. For years I gave up my free time to help others. Whether it was running into the city to meet friends who were always at least unapologetically 20 minutes late despite the fact that they lived 10 minutes down the block and I had just spent 45 minutes racing in to get there on time, or spending more time working as secretary on a board of directors than I was on my own business. What was I doing, and why?
I ended up getting angry at my friends for not respecting my time and I would complain bitterly each month as I prepared the agenda for the next board meeting because no one ever bothered to send in their materials in a timely manner. I finally quit the board when my mother pointed out that I wasn’t enjoying myself, so what was the point?
What took me years to learn was this: it wasn’t my friends or colleagues disrespecting my time, it was me. I never said or did anything to change what kept occurring over and over and over again and how can things change when YOU don’t change? I had to be the one to let others know my time was valuable and then actaccordingly.
I finally had a break through recently. I had plans with a friend to see a movie and early on in the day I sent her an e-mail with the times and places around the city of the movie we wanted to see. I heard nothing until 4 pm when she sent an e-mail asking if we were still going. Apparently my e-mail had gotten stuck in spam. I then resent her the information and she took 2 ½ hours to send back a reply. I live in a different borough than her so I need time to travel and I also own my own business so I need to plan my work schedule more carefully than others. By the time she replied about the movie, it was too late for me to get there.
It wouldn’t have mattered. By that point, I was so irritated by her lack of respect for my time that I was too angry to have sat through a movie. Instead I left my cell phone at home and took a nice long walk. On this walk I realized that I was right in not rushing out of my home at the last minute to see a movie with someone who wasn’t being respectful towards me and had I gone, I would have been telling her that my time wasn’t valuable to me, so why should it be to her?
I also realized I needed to let her know that it wasn’t acceptable and how I expected to be treated in the future. So I wrote her back telling her that I had gone for a walk and missed her e-mail. I also told her that I needed more planning time because of my work and because I needed to allow for traveling time. I asked that in the future plans be made much further in advance.
The good news was my friend apologized and moving forward it will be easier to make plans with her. The great news was I owned my own power and my own time and it’ll be easier in the future to continue down this path of positive change.
I also will recognize that in the future, if I let someone know that I expect to be respected and they continue to be disrespectful of my time, I will know that it is time to walk away from that relationship because any relationship that doesn’t have both parties providing equal parts give and take isn’t healthy.
This story may seem like a baby step to some, but for me, who has spent a lifetime more concerned with everyone else’s needs than my own, who has been taken advantage of and used continuously, it was a groundbreaking huge step in the right direction toward taking care of myself first in order to give more to those around me.
You can’t give if you have nothing to offer. I hope this article helps someone understand that the first step in time management is respecting your own time and yourself. It’s not just a concept but a way of being. I teach in my seminars and webinars that the oxygen theory is a vital theory to have in your life. Take care of yourself first and then you are fit to take care of others. It’s a simple theory but the practice of doing so can be really challenging for those of us trained to give first and take care of ourselves later.
Self love is an essential element for living a positively present life, and self respect is a vital aspect of self love. The more you respect yourself, the more you are able to love yourself. However, self respect isn't always as easy to come by as you might think. There are a lot of aspects of life that can lure you away from respect. As much as you might want to treat yourself with respect, there are often outside influences that can get in the way of treating yourself honorably.
For example, here are a few situations that might tempt you away from respecting yourself: loving someone who doesn't love you (or who treats you badly); having a "successful" career that makes you unhappy; wishing you could go back to a past time in your life; thinking you need to have X, Y, or Z to be happy; having people around you who doubt your abilities; wanting things simply because you think you "should" want them; thinking the lives others lead is better than your own; or living or working with people who treat you (or themselves) negatively.
These are just a few of the reasons you might find respecting yourself difficult, and, unfortunately, they can happen to almost anyone. Not all of these things are within your control (you cannot always control how others act or react), but what is within your control is how you treat yourself. Here are some of reminders of how to make self-respect a priority in your life.
DON'T SETTLE FOR LESS THAN YOU DESERVE.
One of the best ways to respect yourself is never to settle for less than what you deserve. And you — we all — deserve the very best in life. You have this one life to live and you deserve to have the best things for you: the best people, the best career, the best feelings. Don't settle.
GET IN TOUCH WITH WHO YOU REALLY ARE.
In order to not settle, you have to know what it is you really want. You have to get in touch with yourself and what matters to you. (One way I do this is by using my Finding Yourself workbook and revisiting it often.) When you know who you are — and what you will and won't stand for — you'll be able to focus on the activities and people that encourage you to respect yourself.
FORGIVE YOURSELF FOR YOUR MISTAKES.
Letting go of the past can be difficult, but in order to respect who you are now, you must let go of who you were then. Do whatever you can to forgive yourself for mistakes you've made. We've all made them — it's part of life — but those who respect themselves know how to let those mistakes go. You can never go back; you can only take what's happened and move positively forward.
FORGIVE THOSE WHO HAVE HURT YOU.
Forgiveness can be tough sometimes, especially if you've been hurt badly. But caring around that hurt and anger only makes it more difficult to cultivate love within yourself. Let go of the pain others have caused and you'll open up space in your heart in mind for more positive emotions and experiences. No matter what wrong has been committed against you, forgiving is always better than clinging to the pain.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE.
Respecting yourself means keeping company with those who respect you — and themselves. Negative people (even those who are not negative directly to you) are draining and they spark negative thought patterns within you. You've heard the old saying: you are a combination of the people you spend the most time with. Respect yourself enough to make sure those people are positive influences.
WORK ON BUILDING UP CONFIDENCE.
The more you believe in yourself, the easier it will be to treat yourself with love and respect. Confidence isn't always easy to come by, however, so you've gotta work for it. Do things that you're good at. Accept compliments and make note of when others are proud of you. The more you do things that build up your confidence (and avoid those that tear it down), the more confident you'll feel. And the more confident you are, the less likely you are to settle.
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF (AND OTHERS).
Honesty is the ultimate sign of respect. When you're honest with yourself, you'll see what's good for you and what's not. You'll be less likely to compromise on what matters most to you. Being honest with yourself is actually pretty hard so really pay attention to how you feel and what you think. And practice the art of being honest with others. Even when it's hard, the truth is always the way to go.
TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR BODY.
Making yourself feel good physically is one of the ultimate ways to respect yourself. Treat your body as you would the body of someone you love dearly. Healthy food, exercise, low stress. Respecting your body is an essential aspect of self-respect. The more kindness you show yourself physically, the more internal love you'll feel. Your body is the vessel transporting you around this world and it's up to you to respect it.
EXERCISE AND INSPIRE YOUR MIND.
Just as you need to respect your body, you also need to respect your mind. Challenge yourself with new experiences and information. Step out of the thinking you're comfortable with and try to find new perspectives. Find resources for information and inspiration — books, websites, people — and soak up all you can. The more you know, the more you can grow. And all that growth will empower you, making it much easier to respect yourself.
SPEAK POSITIVELY ABOUT YOURSELF.
The way you speak about yourself says a lot about how much respect you have for who you are. Try always to speak about yourself positively and try never to put yourself down with negativity. If this is a struggle for you, check out Using Positive Words to Promote Self-Love, which will give you inspiration for speaking positively about yourself. (Plus there's a free download with lots and lots of words!)
DON'T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS.
Theodore Roosevelt rightly said, "Comparison is the thief of joy." The more you compare your life to someone else's, the more difficult it becomes to cultivate self-respect. It's hard not to compare, but remind yourself that, no matter how well you know someone, you don't ever know everything about his or her life. No life is perfect and an essential way to respect yourself is to focus on what you have, not on what you lack.
1. You feel jealous of other people’s happiness, success and relationships.
As a self-loving person, when I am faced with someone more skilled or accomplished, my immediate reaction is wide-eyed, eager inspiration. I want to learn more, hear more, experience more from this amazing person who can teach me so much.
As a self-judging person, when faced with the same person, I would shrink away feeling jealous, inadequate, and bitter. Sometimes, the feeling would be so intense that I’d begin to hate the other person passionately. But truly, I only hated myself.
2. You chronically tell white lies.
If you’re frequently finding yourself spilling out some fabrication, big or small, and thinking, Wow, that was really unnecessary!, it could be because of your relationship to yourself.
Those who chronically lie are often seeking approval and acceptance from others.
In a self-loving state, acceptance and approval are constantly accessible for you – from within. In a self-judging state, however, you’re running low on approval and, thus, your mind is subconsciously picking up on any and every opportunity to fill up your tank.
Like this, you might lose your integrity for a few raised eyebrows. But don’t worry, this pattern is easily fixed and doesn’t have to become pathological!
3. You find it hard to exercise, eat well, or break bad habits.
When you love someone, you don’t want to hurt them. You’d never shove cigarettes or donuts into your newborn baby’s mouth. You’d never deprive your beloved dog of his daily walk.
When you dislike someone, it’s a different story.
Those who lead kind, loving relationships with themselves find it enjoyable and even necessary to engage in daily rituals of nourishment and care with their minds and bodies. These rituals are just natural outgrowths of the beautiful friendship within.
If you find it hard to take care of yourself, maybe you need to take a moment to fall in love with the person you’re taking care of so that self-care becomes a basic need rather than a distant guilt-inducing fantasy.
4. You only feel happy when everything is going right.
This might seem like a perfectly normal thing. Why would you be happy when things aren’t going well?
Turns out, that is exactly what happens to self-loving people.
Think of your life as an adventure. If you’re crazy about your travel partner, the plane can be delayed and the food can taste like cardboard and you’ll still have a good time. You’ll have a laugh about it. If you’re bored or displeased with your companion, these little things will drive you insane.
That is the power of a loving relationship with yourself. When things get rough, you can laugh, shrug them off, and try again. When things get really rough, you can comfort yourself, take some time to process, and assure yourself that everything will be okay.
5. You're beating yourself up for exhibiting any of the signs above.
If you’re feeling shame or dread at having discovered yourself lacking in self-love, this is a sure-fire sign that you’re overloading on self-judgment.
Those who are lacking in self-compassion are usually experts at setting standards for themselves. They measure themselves in numbers and expectations. When they discover that they’re not measuring up in some way, they’re crestfallen.
I always say: self-improvement without self-love is like building a house upon sand. You can build and build, but it’ll always sink.
You need to build a foundation of unconditional self-acceptance beneath those accomplishments and expectations. Then, when you find you’re lacking in some way, you can revert to love and get excited about learning something new.
I consider myself a survivor of the terrible illness of love deprivation. After I fixed my relationship with myself, I saw my relationship with my body, my mind, my family, my partner, my past – with everything and everyone else – improve dramatically.
We live in an age where everyone’s always trying to fix themselves, but they forget that the most important thing we can ever fix is the line of communication between our heart, our mind, and our spirit.
Now, over to you. What will you do to love yourself more today? How can you celebrate who you already are instead of always expecting yourself to be someone else?