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How To Love Others Authentically

Last week, we talked about maintaining vigilance against our darker natures. This week, we’ll talk about one of the best ways to fend off our inner darkness: love. 

What is love? We often describe it as a feeling we have for others, but that’s a bit misleading. Here are a few things we mistakenly call “love”:

  • Admiration
  • Appreciation 
  • Desire
  • Obsession
  • Trust

So, if love is not admiration, appreciation, desire, obsession, or trust, then what is it?

Love is action we take in service of others. It is something we do — not something we feel:

  • When we stand at the bedside of a dying person so they won’t be alone, we love them
  • When we answer the phone at midnight to counsel a friend in deep despair, we love them
  • When we take the shoes off our feet to give them to people in need, we love them
  • When we tell people painful truths that they’ve refused to face, we love them
  • When we tend to the wounds of an enemy, we love them

When we put it into action, love has tremendous power. It quells disputes, heals trauma, and brings light to darkness. 

The thing about love, though, is that we cannot receive it until we have given it first. It requires us to connect with others and open ourselves up to injury. 

An open hand gives and receives more love than a closed fist. 

Quote of the Week

“I can teach you a love potion made without any drugs, herbs, or special spell—if you would be loved, love.” — Hecato 

You Get What You Give

Similar to other forms of righteous action, love is something that we achieve mastery of with time — and practice. 

How can we practice love?

  • Forgive others
  • Tell the truth
  • Share our abundance
  • Encourage — don’t disparage — our friends
  • Refuse to gossip or complain about others
  • Defend the innocent
  • Uplift the downtrodden
  • Invite the outcast to our tables
  • Recognize and respect others’ boundaries

Each time we set our selfish instincts aside and practice loving people, it gets easier. We learn to more effectively discern the needs of others and leverage our talents and resources to help. 

Best of all, the love we give away multiplies and returns to us, providing fuel for us to love others even more. 

Not everyone will love us. In fact, most people will not — and many will even seek to harm us. However, we must decide to be either slaves of selfishness and rage or servants of virtue and love. 

Why? Because what we serve, we become. 

Question of the Week

How have you loved others this week? How have you harmed others this week? 

Which have you done more?

Live On Purpose // Die Without Regrets

Each Wednesday, I publish a 3-5 minute newsletter + video podcast that applies ancient wisdom to modern life.

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