Is Loving a Discipline?

There’s is nothing that I can think of that is as simple and as complex as love.

Can you?

It’s the emotion behind our greatest, most magnificent and unforgettable joy and the reason behind our greatest loss.

While love is a gift, it’s also an art.

While it’s an art, it’s also a science.

Even though love is who we are and something that by our very nature comes naturally to us, it’s something that we really need to practice, experience and put thought into.

In other words, it’s something that we really need to work at.

Now, there’s a pro and a con when it comes to learning how to love and actually be loving.

And that is that even though we can learn as much as we can from others on how to be loving, only we, ourselves, can know how well we are actually loving.

Thankfully, the people around us, will give us feedback whether we ask for it or not.


Love Leaves Clues

Love is like having the answers to the test only to find out that there are billions of tests that we do not have the answers for. -Haydee Montemayor

Anybody knows that in order for someone to feel valued, treasured, cherished, appreciated, and like they’re an important part of our life, we need to love them. That’s a no-brainer.

A better question is “how?”

But if you ask someone in your life who has at some point requested more love from you how they need to be loved, they’ll either give you a mile-long to-do list at best or a “I dunna know” at worst.

But if you listen closely, most people are unclear as to what they need to feel loved. They make it more complex for others to love them in a way that fulfills them because they don’t even know what it would feel like to be loved the way they want.

Let’s Not Leave Up To Chance

Instead of trying to love someone who doesn’t know what exactly they need to be loved (because that’s like a cupid shooting a target in the dark)… let’s take matters in our own hands and do a few things:

  1. Take Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages Quiz by visiting this link
    1. It will provide you with a general idea of how people can effectively show you your love in a way that you understand. But for a more in-depth understanding, I recommend you purchase The 5 Love Languages.
  2. Ask the people who you’re most interested in loving to the best of your ability to take this quiz. (Or who knows, you might ask the people who “nag” you most to take it, too (wink, wink). That way, they become clear about what they most appreciate so that when you give it to them, they can recognize it and appreciate it a little better).
    1. (You can actually use the link above to take the test for your child once he is 5 years of age or older so that you know what his/her love language is if they’re too young to articulate how to be loved).
  3. Ask the people in your life to share their results with you.
  4. Share your results with them.
    1. Remember, love is a big and take ordeal. And if you’re bitter and feeling like nobody’s meeting your love needs, you’ll have difficulty loving others to the best of your ability.
      1. Can you sacrifice your needs and love them anyway?
        1. Sure. But most of us would want full-out love instead of scraps of love.
  5. Take a minute to ask yourself this question: Are you giving love mostly in the way that you love to receive love?
    1. If so, you’ll more easily see why despite your efforts to show other people how to love you by loving them in the way that you would most like to be loved is not working out, because most likely they are loving you in their own love language not yours.

Be Disciplined About Learning Other People’s Love Languages When It Matters

If you have the fortune of being the leader/CEO of your company, set up a system in which you encourage current employees and new employees to share their love language since it’ll foster a sense of community, connectedness, purpose, camaraderie and most importantly, appreciation in a way that they can understand.

You may think this is trivial and even silly to pay attention to how other people like to be praised, but about about 80% of people are dissatisfied with their job. The top two reasons are:

1) They believe that their boss is their greatest obstacle on the road of attaining their personal dreams

2) They don’t feel appreciated.

If it sounds too uncomfortable for you to start this converstation as the “love” test, Gary Chapman came out with another book called The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace that makes this whole conversation seem more professional and less touchy-feely.

While it would be nice to only complain about the lack of appreciation at work, now more than ever, with social media, our ever-increasing ADHD, and our the tsunami of information that we’re inundated with every day, many people in personal relationships also feel unappreciated.

And I’m not just talking about people in a romantic relationships, but in relationships between with parents, siblings and friends.

Even though I totally get that we don’t need another thing on our to-do-list, we really do need to be disciplined about loving people in our personal relationships.

Otherwise, the current of the distraction tsunami that we’re faced with daily is so powerful, that it is very likely to drift you and your loved ones apart (if you’re not already feeling distant).

I don’t say this to scare you.

I say this to remind you of one of the first analogies that you ever heard about love, and that is that love is like a plant. You need to water it and take care of it every day.

Now that we’re older, though, we can understand 2 things a little bit better.

1. That this analogy is true.

2. But, that it’s not 100% true. Meaning, some relationships require your care EVERY DAY, while others don’t.

No book, guide or coach will tell you how to show your grandma your love and how often, or your favorite cousin, or your favorite aunt.

That’s something that you have to figure out in collaboration with them… based on what your priorities are, what your commitments are, what your love language is and how much of a priority you are so that the other person can commit to allowing for that love interchange to occur.

As you’re starting to see, loving someone is work. Relationships are work.

This is ESPECIALLY the case when you’ve hurt someone and you’re trying to mend a relationship.

So, yes, love is like a catch 22 because sometimes you’re doomed if you love and hurt someone, and  you’re doomed if you don’t love and hurt someone.

But in the end, it’s worth loving…especially loving well….and avoiding as many potholes along the way. That, my friend, requires discipline.

But since I can feel your body cringe every time I say discipline, let’s eliminate the mental barrier and conclude that a better word for discipline would be MOTIVATION.

Why? Because most of us have a negative association with the word discipline. We associate it with our parent’s reprimands, expectations and consequences when we didn’t do something.

So instead, let’s be motivated to do something… meaning to love others. That has a different energy to it, doesn’t it?

Let’s be motivated to make other people beam. Let’s make other people’s inner light shine a little brighter… through our intentional, well-felt and well-received love that we offer them.

Remember, the closer we are to someone, the more we have to work at being motivated to love them, but the more rewarding it will be to love them and to receive their love.

 How To Keep Your Motivation In Check

As you know, with the popularity of DIY-ing things, essential oils have had a comeback.

Apparently, there are some essential oils by Young Living that help people with various areas of their life like their:

  • Faith
  • Family
  • Field (Career)
  • Finance
  • Fitness
  • Friends
  • Fun

Regardless of whether you even like essential oils or not, the important thing is that these 7 F’s can allow us to take a look at our life to see where we could be doing better.

And while not ever “F” has to do with people, it is important that we are doing okay in the rest of the areas in order for us to feel like we’re capable of loving without feeling empty or ashamed due to the emptiness or lack that we may be experiencing.

So, in order to start this conversation with yourself, I’m providing you with a PDF that you can download to ask yourself some creative questions regarding these 7 F’s. Here’s the PDF Love and Treasure This Moment of Introspection- Is Loving a Discipline?

As you work through this, remember, does everything have to be perfect in every area of your life? No.

But learn to gauge where you need to focus your attention in order feel better overall. That discipline and motivation of checking in with yourself will ultimately be what will allow you to know whether you’re on the right path in your love relationships with others and with yourself.

It’s Your Turn

What was the most important thing that you learned from this post?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.