The countdown is on, and I’m sure many of you are busy with last minute preparations, but as Christmas approaches I have a question for you.
Are you loving every moment? You should be, love and Christmas go hand in hand, something we’ll look at over the next few days, so on this edition of “Becoming Today” let’s explore together our attitudes towards being loving.
More than likely not only a bold word, Love is the strongest of all positive emotions. That’s why this edition is an exploration of why love being directed towards yourself, another individual, a group of people, or even all humanity is of utmost importance.
Accepting yourself and believing that you are worthy of receiving and sharing love is an integral part of growth. Improving your self esteem is about far more than just feeling good at the present moment.
Love is so powerful because it transforms and evolves throughout the course of our experiences and lifetimes. What I’m talking about includes, not only being loving towards ourselves, but also accepting the love of others and sharing love with others, plus through loving God.
The love of God purifies our heart, fueling transformation and teaching us self-sacrifice. The nature of all religions is opening ourselves to the Love of God, and is the foundation of all the sacred teachings.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13:13 (ESV)
The word “love” is mentioned on almost every page of the English Bible. Depending upon the translation you can find the topic addressed multiple times for good reason. When something is important it bears repeating.
So let’s examine and ponder these numbers for a moment:
In the King James Version, love is mentioned 310 times.
In the New American Standard Version, love is discussed 348 times.
In the New Revised Standard Version, there are 538 instances of the word
And “love” In the New International Version, is discussed 551 times.
Perhaps now you’ll agree that ‘The Greatest of These Is…Love’.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.1 Corinthians 13:4-5(NIV)
Love is indeed patient and kind. In the scriptures, love is what unites people. Brings groups together against hate and dishonesty.It is what enables forgiveness and restores confidence.
C.S .Lewis, some six decades ago, in a then controversial book outlined “The Four Loves”:
- Storge – empathy bond.
- Philia – friend bond.
- Eros – romantic love.
- Agape – unconditional “God” love.
They all play a role in our lives and our individual paths of “Becoming Today”.
Briefly here is a description of Lewis’ concept. Consider it an ulta-mini, micro book report.
Storge – The empathy bond
Involves connecting with someone through the fondness of familiarity, family members or people who relate in similar ways. This includes the natural love and affection of a parent for their child.
Affection, Lewis,considered it responsible for 90 percent of lasting human happiness.
Philia – Friend Bond
Philia, like Storge, as well as the other forms of love he mentions are Greek words. This Philia is the love between friends who become as close as siblings. Friendship is the strong bond existing between people who share common values, interests or activities. Lewisy differentiates friendship love from the other loves, teaching it is “the least biological, organic, instinctive, gregarious and necessary” of the natural loves. Yet it is a higher-level love because it is freely chosen and grows from a root of compassionate companionship.
Eros – Romantic Love
Eros is the sense of “being in love” or “loving” someone, as opposed to sexual love.
Eros, Lewis believed transforms the need for erotic pleasure into the most appreciative of all contenements, warning against the modern tendency for Eros to become a false god to people who fully submit themselves to it, serving as a justification for selfishness, even what he termed a “phallic religion”.
Agape – Unconditional “God” love
Agape is defined as Charity. It is the love that exists regardless of changing circumstances. Lewis recognizes this selfless love as the greatest of the four loves, and sees it as a specifically Christian virtue to achieve. He focused on the need to subordinate the other three categories. Lewis wrote, “The natural loves are not self-sufficient “– to the love of God; who is full of charitable love.
Having an understanding of the differing types of love allows us to make informed decisions and hopefully better choices. Self-enhancement involves making a decision. You make the choice to have a positive rather than negative self-view.
As we’ve talked about previously, making a choice involves taking multiple steps.
First to decide you want to do something. Then to focus on what change is necessary, then committing to it. Before you then take action to actually do it.
Just a good intention or giving lip service to an idea, will not make it so. You have to complete the task, do all the hard work and then harvest the benefits. If you give up along the process then you will reap what you have sown.
Let’s now look at how we can open ourselves up to accepting more love and become more loving towards others.
So ask yourself, how can you be more open to love?
How can you be receptive to someone else’s love?
How can you accept that you’re worthy of that love?
Our answers will all vary. As you reflect on them for a moment, we’ll offer a few ideas on how you can accomplish all three.
A major part of learning to both accept and share love is allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. Hard? Yes. Scary? I know. Having been raised to trust no one, it took me decades to figure out what it truly means to let someone else in. And I still have to consciously work at it everyday.
Before we can be vulnerable with others, we must be so with ourselves.Once you can be honest with yourself, opening up to trusted friends and family is the next step. When you have the ability to share your secrets, desires, hopes, wishes and fears with those you trust, you’ll learn it is possible with others.
Be More Loving To Yourself
The old adage is, “you can’t expect anyone to love you if you don’t love yourself”. Imple, often repeated but oh so true. Before you can open yourself up to receiving love from someone else you must forgive yourself for past mistakes. Accept yourself. Practice self-care. Stop being your own worst critic.
Choose To Reject Fear
How do we do that? By choosing faith over fear. Faith is the assurance of things we hope for, but have not yet received. Faith is also the confidence, belief and trust in things that are not seen. Faith must be present before a prayer can be answered.
Faith is hard work, but its rewards are truly remarkable.
In putting my Faith into action and actively without reservation demonstrating my confidence in God I learned that fear is a liar. It’s not conceived by God, and it is fear that is constantly telling us false things to hold us back.
In the Scriptures we are instructed numerous times to not fear anything.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Where there is risk, there is always the potential for reward. We must choose to act in those moments and not react to circumstances that develop from our lack of action or the outright refusal to act, decide or choose, in this case to love and be loved..
Honesty Is the Best Policy
Don’t make excuses. When you are honest with yourself you will find it easier to accept and embrace what is before you but will also improve your chances of receiving the love you need. If you’re not being honest with others, then there is no foundation for love to be built upon.
Love is perhaps the greatest of all emotions, feelings, expressions, states, attitudes and basis for our personal development and our shared path of “Becoming Today”.
Seek to express and accept more love in your life.
Take care of yourself. Self care not only of the mind, but also the body and soul.
Use Positive Affirming statements. Treat yourself lovingly and always be encouraging. Delaye you “can” and you “will”.
Forgive yourself. If you’ve made a mistake, remember it’s not permanent. You need to readjust to move past that moment in time and create the next in abundance.
Spend time with people who make you happy. Those who inspire or uplift you. Don’t waste time on negative or fake people.
Choose Love. Choose a Loving Life.
My prayer for you today is that you are consistently an authentic loving nature. Find it, unleash it, share it, always be “Becoming” loving and nurturing. A lack of love is of our own creation, co- create an attitude of love rather than lack.
Next we’ll begin to delve into the purpose of our current season.
Spoiler alert, it’s all about love.
We’ll celebrate that on our next edition of “Becoming Today”.