Learn How to Love in 5 Steps
The greatest happiness in life is to love and be loved. So said author and playwright Amantine, known under the pseudonym George Sand.
We connect with others not only for who they are but for what they bring out in us. However, in order for love to be tied to happiness, you have to know how to do it well, and do it authentically.
The word love is used quite extensively in our language. It’s associated with some of the most important feelings that we can experience as human beings: deep affection, attachment, and commitment to another person.
There are as many understandings of love as there are people in the world. But regardless of how we understand it, do we really know how to love? Everything seems to indicate that we all struggle with it. And even if we don’t want to believe it, there’s always room to improve and keep growing.
Do you know how to love?
Almost everybody thinks they know how to love. We think it’s enough to have feelings for someone, but we forget that true love is like maintaining a garden. Every day you have to water it, weed it, and care for it so that the flowers can continue to grow.
Nobody is free from the temptation of living a comfortable life, but love is a way to resist that temptation. It involves discussing big things, setting healthy limits, and fostering a shared kind of well-being.
Is love an art? People who believe so know that it takes knowledge and effort. Or is it just a pleasant sensation that you feel by chance, something you stumble upon if you’re lucky?
The book The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm suggests that while most people think love is luck, it’s actually an art.
That’s not to say that people don’t think it’s important. Really, we’re all hungry for it. We watch countless movies telling of both happy and unfortunate love stories. We constantly are listening to songs about it. But almost nobody thinks you have to learn how to love.
“Friendship is the purest love. It is the highest form of Love where nothing is asked for, no condition, where one simply enjoys giving.”
How do you learn to love?
People seem to think that things are only worth learning if they can provide some tangible benefit, like money or status.
But what about things that benefit the soul? Is it possible to learn how to love? Can you teach yourself something you can feel but not touch?
In our modern society, most people would stop reading after the title of this article, not realizing that love is the answer to life.
Every theory of love should start with a theory of man, of human existence. Love is an action, and as such, it’s continuous rather than sporadic. You have to learn how to love if you want to self-actualize and build healthy relationships.
How to Love, according to The Art of Loving
To move love beyond the beginning phases, here are 5 key points taken from The Art of Loving:
- Be original. We live under the illusion of a completely homogeneous world. We conform because we think that’s the only way to have relationships. But we have the power to engage in our own types of relationships that come from a place of sincerity and authenticity. Only then can we free ourselves from the conditioning and customs that society imposes on us.
- Find someone who will give you everything and do the same for them. Loving is giving. It’s replete with vitality, strength, and power and it fills us with happiness. That is, as long as we retain our dignity and respect and don’t overstep our boundaries. If you choose someone who shares that perspective, you’ll be able to give each other the best of yourselves.
- Long to get to know your partner. Fromm would say that we think we know each other, but we don’t, at least not completely. Every experience we have influences us in some way. Change is the only constant. If you keep the flame of learning about your partner alive, you won’t fall into a routine.
- Know what kind of love you want to give and receive. There are many different types, and knowing which one you want to give and receive will determine the kind of relationship you have. That being said, nothing compares to mature and conscious love. That should be your end goal: two people who become one but who continue to be themselves.
- Accept the challenges and conflicts that come with the relationship. Love is not the absence of conflict, but a constant challenge where you work and grow together.
There’s only one remedy for love: to love more. When you go through heartbreak, instead of getting discouraged and hiding away, look to the future with a new perspective on life.
Love is an art, a process that benefits from creativity, care, and authenticity, as long as you’re prepared to give out of respect and responsibility. Loving more is the remedy for all of life’s problems.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.-