Creating a Lifestyle of Love

A Lifestyle of Love

Before we start, a short heads-up. As a life coach, I can’t help but ask reflection questions for  you to dive deeper and make it personal. This time I’ve organised the blog post around those seven questions.

Also, as a faith-fueled Christian, I can’t write about love without mentioning God. All right that’s all. Now you’re prepared, haha. If you’re still on board, let’s have a fun ride on the love t… (no Nicky, don’t go there) Ok. Let’s go! 

So yes, we’re diving right into the deep. Your values. If you’re unsure about them now, no worries, it can be a beautiful exercise to write them down once- there are many tips and tools online. If you do know your values, is “love” one of them? Perhaps you’ve expressed it as kindness, care, generosity, patience, or something similar. Now the next question is….

How do you integrate your values, and particularly, love, into your daily life? That’s the theme of this blog post. We’ll start with ways to fill ourselves first, learning to love those close to us even better, then spreading the love to ‘strangers’. So in order to fill ourselves up, there are so many sources to do so, but knowing your biggest source is like using a fast-charger for your phone.

Where or to whom do you go to feel loved? Who or what fills your heart with love? How do you fill your love tank?

This is the part where I couldn’t continue writing without mentioning God. Because after I
 found Christian faith in Bali five years ago, I was blown away by the love God has for us. Especially in terms of ‘patience’, ahem.

In the Bible it says, We love because He first loved us” which I would see as being first filled with love, so we can then give it out. The only thing is that it takes is time, just like any relationship. For instance by reading the Bible, also called God’s love letter, or praying, just like we talk to our loved ones.

But that’s the take on love I personally found works best. Now you might have already guessed the next question…

It’s so important to know how to fill our love tank (by the way, I’ve borrowed this term from “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, an inspiring read). The reason is because we can’t always rely on other people to fill up our tanks. They may not be available or running low on love themselves. It’s also healthiest to love from an overflow. Also, if we don’t come from a full love tank, or a place of love ourselves, we may be going through the motions, but our hearts are not in it.

So here comes the very simple question: What fills you up with love?

Is it reading a book on your couch with a blanket? A walk in the park, or on the beach? Watching your favorite series, or a romcom? Cooking a healthy meal? Being creative? Taking a nice, warm bath? It doesn’t have to be big or fancy, sometimes a three-minute breathing break, or prayer moment, is all it takes.

We can also look at this holistically. In the Bible, Jesus sums up 600+ laws into one: “…. love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” A beautiful reminder to love with our entire being. Filling our own hearts, souls, and minds with love. Since our minds seem to naturally tends towards the negative, it can’t hurt to regularly feed it with kind, caring and encouraging words.

Now to integrate these items into your daily life, you could make a “love list” of the items you found in the previous point, and then decide to do one of them daily.

What has helped me personally in adopting new habits is to create routines, whether it is for sleep, exercise or time with God. When an activity becomes part of your lifestyle, it’s so much easier to practice.

New habits are most easily implemented when you link them to an existing habit. For instance, whenever you brush your teeth, this could be your cue to do some stretches, finishing your lunch could be your cue to do a few breathing exercises.

Books such as “Tiny Habits” or “Atomic Habits” teach more about turning new habits into a lifestyle. In this way, being on the lookout for love becomes more than romantic; it comes to mean being on the lookout for opportunities to love.

If you set an intention in the morning to do at least one deed of love, it has the potential to change your whole day. 

When we know how to fill our own love tank, we are much better able to fill the tanks of those close to us. 

What makes your partner, parents, friends, siblings, colleagues, or other close connections happy? Is it a sweet card, a compliment, a hug, doing a task for them, or simply spending quality time?

All these examples are expressions of the five love languages described in same-named book I mentioned earlier. The author describes how fulfilling it is to love others in their personally preferred way, as this fills their tank even more efficiently.

We may have been offering encouraging words to someone who would have preferred a helping hand or a helping hand to someone who just needed a hug. The DISC profile is another way to get an idea of how a person is wired. The better you know someone’s personality, the better you’ll know how to love them well. 

So we started this blog by looking at how to fill our own love tank and moved on to those close to us. Now, let’s widen the circle even more to see how we can love strangers and perhaps turn them into friends. As the poet William Butler Yeats said: “a stranger is a friend you haven’t met yet.”

Whether it’s a smile, a short chat with the cashier, holding the door for the person behind you, or letting someone skip ahead of you in a busy supermarket line, many acts of kindness remind others that there is still goodness in the world 😉 and that gives you a good feeling too.

In the Bible, Jesus says, “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. So what does “blessed” look like in this context?

Remember the last time you performed an act of kindness without expecting anything in return? That warm feeling inside? That small spring in your step afterwards?

That’s a blessing. It can stay with us the whole day. Simply smiling at a stranger can give us a mood boost. Besides raising our happiness levels, love lowers stress levels.

Imagine petting a sweet dog, it may seem like you are doing that dog a favor but it goes both ways, right? The same with a hug. It benefits both of you. Helping others is even often recommended for people dealing with depression and anxiety. It’s as if our bodies were designed to love.   

Creating a lifestyle of love consists of knowing how to fill up our own love tank, turning this into a habit, learning the love language of those close to us, and spreading love out to “strangers”. 

To maintain any new lifestyle or habit, it’s important to know your motivation behind it. Because as beautiful as this all sounds, you might still think… but why?

Here is my take on it, and I’ll need to get cheesy for a moment: Love, unlike math, doesn’t add up. What we give out, returns to us multiplied. Your loving deed can positively impact someone else’s day, and as they pass it on, it creates a ripple effect. This doesn’t mean that we all have to turn into Mother Teresa, but we can learn from her, as she said:

“Not all of us can do great things, 
but we can do small things with great love.” 

And now… it would be really great to hear from you in the comments! What is your personal take on love, or what did you take away from this blog post?

Wishing you a love-filled rest of your day! 

Image source:  Ubuy NL

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