According to Attitude Reconstruction, there are only six emotions. They exist in opposing pairs -- sadness and joy, anger and love, and fear and peace. Each emotion has its own distinct physical sensation and corresponding thoughts and actions. We have hundreds of feelings but they all funnel back to one or more of the six emotions.
It being the holiday season, it seems appropriate to review the emotion of love, since that is what the season is supposed to be about.
Possibly Trite but Definitely True: Love Is An Inside Job
You've heard the trite expression "love is an inside job." I have to believe it, because given the same situation, every person will have a different experience. For the ones with full hearts, their experience will be glorious. For the ones who are impatient, holding a grudge or feeling bad about themselves, love will be colored by those flavors.
The key is to remember we are indeed masters of our own destinies and have choice at every moment. Whether we choose to give into our woundings or come from our highest knowing is up to us.
What Do Truly Loving Folks Have In Common?
Do you ever wonder what traits truly loving folks have in common? Attitude Reconstruction believes there are four common traits.
First, they speak and act aligned with their heart and talk about themselves rather than others.
Second, they genuinely accept other people, things, and situations.
Third, they are not judgmental but show compassion and empathy to all.
And last, they are not selfish but give to others without a personal motive except to show others they care and offer help.
Underlying all four traits is this -- loving people are positive and strive to find solutions to differences that best honor everyone concerned.
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Most of us already possess these loving attitudes to some degree. If you recognize there are some qualities that you are lacking but are yearning for, you don't have to make a complete transformation before tomorrow. Just take a little step each day and you will notice the difference.
How to Increase Feelings of Love
Here are some easy ways feel more love:
1. Eleven times a day (or more) repeat: "People and things are the way they are, not the way I want them to be."
Your expectations and/or lack of acceptance of other people, things, and situations are what keeps you feeling angry. Instead, over and over, remind yourself that people and things are the way they are. Only then will you be able to respond to whatever opportunity is presenting itself from a centered place.
You don't have to agree with what others say, do, or believe. Just accept that that's what is true for them and, as appropriate, speak up what is true for you.
2. Stop focusing on what's lacking in others, and what they are or aren't doing.
Instead, look within to determine what would be most loving or best for the greater good and talk about yourself. For example, that might mean holding your tongue and not striking back when someone says something unkind. Rather stick to talking about yourself. Or smile at the slow driver, rather than shaking your fist.
Ask yourself: "What's true for me about this? What would be most loving?" Line up to say and do that.
3. Give more.
The act of giving contradicts the tendency to be selfish or self-centered - a stance that goes hand in hand with unexpressed anger.
Ask: "How can I help? What can I do?" Offer a helping hand. Offer gifts. These acts of kindness will kindle your heart.
4. Voice appreciations, praise, and gratitudes to yourself and others.
Look for the good in people and attend to the half full of any situation. Write out appreciations, especially about people you are having difficulty with. Vigilantly interrupt your trashy thinking and replace it with something positive.
5. Find a way to move your anger physically and constructively, so that no one or nothing of value is damaged.
Without voicing any blaming or swearing, pound clay or bread dough. Throw rocks. Yank out weeds with abandon. Stomp around. Push against a wall or doorjamb. Lie on your back on your bed and flail your arms and legs. Exercise. Do something somewhere safe, where you can let go and express the energy hard, fast, and with abandon.
If you express your anger energy physically and constructively, you'll be too tired to fight! End your healthy meltdown by reminding yourself, "People are the way they are, not the way I want them to be."
6. Minimize hot foods (yep), hot sun, hot topics, hot exercise, hot activities, and violent movies, games, and books.
Choose activities that are cooling, climates that are cooler, foods that aren't spicy, and avoid stimulants, such as alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and energy drinks.
Do a little every day, especially during this holiday season, and you'll feel more love and more connected to others. As an extra benefit, others will be much more attracted to you.
©2018 by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
All Rights Reserved.
Book by this Author
Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life
by Jude Bijou, M.A., M.F.T.
With practical tools, real-life examples, and everyday solutions for thirty-three destructive attitudes, Attitude Reconstruction can help you stop settling for sadness, anger, and fear, and infuse your life with love, peace, and joy.
About the Author
Jude Bijou is a licensed marriage and family therapist (MFT), an educator in Santa Barbara, California and the author of Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life. In 1982, Jude launched a private psychotherapy practice and started working with individuals, couples, and groups. She also began teaching communication courses through Santa Barbara City College Adult Education. Visit her website at AttitudeReconstruction.com/
* Watch an interview with Jude Bijou: How to Experience More Joy, Love and Peace
* Watch video: Shiver to Express Fear Constructively (with Jude Bijou)