But it was a sweet month of love and appreciation.
I set out on 30 Days of Love and Appreciation with the intention to send or express a loving or appreciative message at least once each day. Not a huge, complex challenge. Just baby steps. The idea was to place love and appreciation at the forefront of my mind instead of lurking in its recesses.
Love is our essence, but it doesn’t come naturally to all of us. Some of us grew up in a harsh family environment. Or the water element is absent from our astrological chart. Or some other factor came into play.
Don’t despair if this has been the case for you. You can learn to love, but it takes focus. These are some of the lessons I learned from giving it a try and committing to 30 days of love and appreciation.
Lessons Learned from Committing to Love and Appreciation
1. Making a clear commitment helps you to remember and keeps the momentum going.
We may feel love or appreciation, but more often than not we forget to express it. It’s not at the forefront of our mind. It’s not the number one priority. Making a commitment to 30 days of love and appreciation was the perfect way to activate these qualities in my life.
“Silent gratitude isn’t very much use to anyone.” – Gertrude B. Stein
2. The more you focus on love and appreciation, the more spontaneous it becomes.
I didn’t mention the challenge to my husband, but he picked up on the change in my behavior quickly. From that alone, you can see the challenge worked. I didn’t focus on acknowledging him, but the kindness took a life of its own. It just started to spill over. As you can imagine, he thoroughly enjoyed being the automatic recipient of my extra positivity!
“Only your compassion and your loving kindness are invincible, and without limit.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
3. The more you appreciate others, the more they want to help you.
Appreciation sparks kindness and generosity in others. For example, the produce manager at my health food store gave me all sorts of tips on organic gardening including how to grow peanuts that don’t contain the aflatoxin toxin. Love and appreciation are truly the way to be wisely selfish.
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain
4. It’s easier to appreciate strangers than to express love toward them.
I felt uncomfortable expressing love toward strangers, but appreciation came easy. That’s OK. I can still feel love in my heart, share a smile, or tell the person I “love” something about them like the color of their eyes.
“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
5. You can train your mind in love, kindness, and appreciation
It’s so easy to forget love and appreciation amidst the busyness of our lives. Remembering to express love and appreciation just once a day is such a tiny fraction of my potential. Still, there were times when I was busy and let it slip.
It is possible to train your mind in love, kindness, and appreciation, but it’s a positive habit you need to commit to every day.
“Happiness is not something ready made.” – Dalai Lama
The Love Mishaps
When my husband left the top off the blender and turned it on, love did not bubble up. It wasn’t easy, but I tried to remember what he says when I make a mistake: “I know you didn’t do it on purpose.”
I also was annoyed by a few young male bloggers who use vulgarity to stand out. Not because I’m moralistic. I just don’t like the energy behind it. I confess I even succumbed to tweeting about it.
Both of these occasions helped me to see where my love gets blocked!
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” – Carl Gustav Jung
Reflection: Only Love Dispels Hate
The reflection I’ve chosen for this week is a quotation from the Buddha. I’ve actually been reflecting on it all week long.
Sometimes we read a quote and think, “Oh, I know that.” But unless we are living love – in this case – in every moment, the truth within the quote hasn’t fully penetrated our being. Contemplation means taking quiet time to actual reflect deeply upon the meaning of a phrase to bring its truth alive within us. Here’s the quote.
“Anger never dispels anger, only love dispels hate.” – the Buddha
How was your month in terms of love and appreciation? Have you ever known anger to dispel anger? Have you seen love dispel anger?
This article is part of a weekly series of reflective exercises to help you – and me – uproot limiting thoughts, emotions, views, and habits. See more mini-mind challenges.
Thank you for reading. If you liked this article, please share the link with others using the share buttons below. And I would love to hear from you in the comments. Thanks so much for your kindness. Sandra