Celebrate the connections in your life. They are worth everything. Do not postpone showing others that they are important to you. Everyone profits from knowing that they are loved, and there are many ways to say I love you.
“To keep love alive,” advises M. J. Ryan, author of “Attitudes of Gratitude” and “The Giving Heart,” “we must deal not only with who takes the garbage out, but also how we trigger one another’s wounds from the past.”
Juggling the past with the present in order to insure enduring personal relationships is a continuing challenge. It takes conscious, consistent effort that begins with knowing and accepting yourself. You’re OK. They’re OK.
“Love begets love,” said Daphne Rose Kingma, author of “The Book of Love.” “If you don’t think well of yourself, you can’t be positively affected by the person who is celebrating you for a specialness you don’t believe you have.”
Too often we put up with shabby treatment in love because we don’t believe we deserve better. Kingma stresses, “Self love is always the model for the love you may reasonably expect, the true measure of the love you will give and get.” It’s an inside job. Take care of your own self-esteem and then you will be able to show love to others.
Self-love is enhanced when you practice asking for what you want. Asking for what you need is such a simple, yet difficult thing, that most of us rarely try. “In fact, it’s so hard (or easy) that most of us would rather try almost anything else than to ask quite simply and directly for precisely what we need,” said Kingma.
Guessing games are relationship defeating. Responding to a stated request not only gives the needy person the relief of having the need fulfilled it also gives the giver a sense of being able to be effective in giving you something of value.
Asking for what you want does not necessarily mean you will get the exact thing you thought you wanted. It does, however, open the door for negotiation and compromise. It is impossible to arrive at a workable compromise when one is working with a hidden agenda.
Reveal what makes you feel loved. “Everybody has his or her own particular ordinary (or extraordinary) preferences, and nobody’s going to make you feel loved if you don’t tell him or her exactly what your preferences are,” advises Kingma.
Compliment often and beware of the “crooked stroke.” Eric Berne, author of “Games People Play,” pointed out that too often people offer a positive statement about someone but follow it with a negative, “You’re very organized (a positive) but you get bogged down in analysis-paralysis (a negative).”
Compliments are the verbal nourishment of one’s inner self. They invite the person who is complimented to consider a new perception of self.
Pass kindness around. Don’t reserve it for strangers and business associates. Kindness is self-generating. The more you use it the more there is to go around.
Treat loved ones like special guests. Imagine that you and your partner are the president and CEO of this family-owned business and your children are its customers. What do you need to do to keep them coming back?
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Jaine M. Carter, Ph.D., is the author of the book “He Works She Works: Successful Strategies for Working Couples” and wrote a column for the Scripps Howard News Service by the same name.