Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Love the Tough

OK, this is gonna sound all foo-foo and everything, but my suggestion for today is to love someone who's really tough to love. Just in case you misinterpreted me, I didn't suggest employing so-called "tough-love"; I suggested loving someone who is "tough-to-love".

I'm not suggesting a passive, touchy-feely kind of love where you want everyone to be happy and the nebulous world to be a better place. I'm suggesting something practical and active the side-effects of which may include happier people and a better world.

Why even consider this suggestion? Well, practically speaking:
  1. You'll feel better.
  2. You'll sleep better
  3. You'll get more of what you want
Numerous studies have shown that anger, resentment, fear and the like are health hazards. When you actively love someone, you leave no room for these other activities (yes, anger is not a state of being, it's an action). From a practical perspective, it's difficult to be not angry (fearful, etc.). You can't just stop. Instead, you have to displace it. In the absence of these hazardous emotional activities, you'll start to feel better, much better.

If you have difficulty sleeping or don't sleep well it may be that you're hazardous emotional activities have seeped into your dreamworld. The seepage is due to overflow from your daily activities that have no real outlet. If you spend the day bottling up your anti-love emotion, pressure builds up. At night when you're not paying attention to keeping it in the bottle, it overflows and voila, poor sleep.

The best part of actively loving people who are tough to love is that you're going to increase your bounty.

You've spent the last hour standing in line at the DMV. The people standing in front of you are frustrated. The farther back in the line, the louder the complaint. You lean to your left so as to get a good view of the clerk. His jaw is tight as he patiently listens to the complaint of his current patron. You see him suck in a breath through clenched teeth as he's interrupted in his attempts to respond to questions that sound more like allegations. He's not rolling his eyes, but he wants to.

You step back in line and think about him. Who is he? What does he do when he's not working at the DMV? He must have been a kid at some point; what was he like? What were his dreams? Does he have a partner? Does he have kids? You start to see him not as a government obstacle but as real live human being, someone with dreams and desires, someone with wants and needs.

He calls out, "Next."

You step up to the window and it's as though you're seeing a long lost friend. He asks you, "How can I help you?"

You say, "Hi, my name is... How are you?"

He looks up at you to see if you're for real or just using the question as form of greeting. He sees that you're looking at him awaiting a response.

I guarantee you, his manner and attitude with you will be completely different than with the people who preceded you.

The driver behind you rides your tail. What do you do? Drive slowly to really bug him or pull over and let him pass you? As he does, what gesture do you use?

The boss is pissed off and looking for someone to blame, anyone. Do you take offense or recognize that he's pretty stressed out and could use someone to talk to?

When you love people actively and practically, you transform them from objects to living, breathing human beings. A side-effect of this is that they too will see you as real, live person. The results can be outstanding, not to mention that you'll feel better and sleep better.

Happy Wednesday,

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