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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Five Ways to Love and Keep Loving

We are besieged by innumerable ills. Probably, we have forgotten to love and have left it far behind in our hectic pace of life. But then aren’t we paying a heavy price for it with disintegration of life all around us? Thomas Carlyle says, “A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge” and everyone believes that love begets love. All our religious books and scriptures teach us that love is the most sacred of all emotions. It encompasses the elements of care, concern, respect and knowledge which govern all our relationships on this earth.
Now to practice and promote love that enables us to develop our innate potentialities to the maximum and contribute to the good of all, we need to assimilate a few significant character traits. Before the discussion, here is a quip.
“Learning to love, like other arts, demands practice and concentration. Even more than any other art it demands genuine insight and understanding.” Erich Fromm.
Erich Fromm in his book “The Art of Loving” discusses at length the values which if mastered will open up the possibilities for a healthy, happy and a prolific life. Here are the five tips.

1. Live a disciplined life

Discipline is liberating. It is a symbol of caring and concern for the family. Bernard L Montgomery says, “Discipline strengthens the mind so that it becomes impervious to the corroding influence of fear.”

Present day work culture however, enforces a kind of discipline which stifles but it can’t be escaped for reasons of livelihood. Outside work, as a reaction to the monotony of our jobs, we indulge in mindless fare. However sloth and laziness are enemies of love because precious time is wasted and almost nothing is achieved. In a sloppy family, procrastination rules the roost. Children’re neglected. Things don’t get done on time as the day starts almost at noon. Nobody is happy in a messed up scenario. Quarrels are a daily occurrence. Love has no chance to flower in such a chaotic environment.
On the other hand discipline is a gateway to a meaningful life. In a disciplined household every family member knows what is expected of him/ her. Tasks get accomplished in an atmosphere of cordiality and amity. Delegation and accountability ensure quality and alertness in the discharge of duties. Life is always in the act of becoming and transcending the present (to borrow the words of Existentialists). Love and cooperation carouse around freely.

2. Concentrate on your tasks

“Concentrate; put all your eggs in one basket and watch that basket.” Says Dale Carnegie the author of best seller, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”

We miserably lack this quality as we want to do multiple tasks at one go: eating, reading, drinking and watching TV at the same time. We remain distracted and fidgety and can hardly achieve any aspect of love. Charles Dickens quipped. “I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without my determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.”

Sadly we remain restless. To overcome this malaise we must take up activities like meditating, walking or gardening which can actually lead to solitude, introspection and appraisal of our actions and renewal of energy. For love to proliferate it needs nurturing and uninterrupted quality time together that are a casualty in our frantic existence. It is said, ‘If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.’

3. Exercise Patience

Isaac Newton has said, “If I have made any valuable discoveries it has been owing more to patient attention, than to any other talent.” Understandably the modern industry is based on mass production and quick results. In the race for profitability, human values have been replaced by economic values. On the contrary every fruitful action demands time and patience. Patience is a bulwark for marital stability, love and peace in the family. “Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience, impatience breeds anxiety,” says the great poet Ralph Waldo Emerson. Develop patience to do some creative work, to read a good book, to guide kids in their school work or to take up pending jobs at home.
In high voltage situations exercise of patience can save many a love.

4. Listen to each other

We generally prefer to talk rather than listen. We love to be heard. But listening to others effectively by giving your full attention enhances your own growth emotionally by cementing your bonding with others. Listening skills further your intelligence also as you can understand and know people better. Listening genuinely and with interest to your spouse, children and near and dear ones, help them to vent out their pent up feelings. It helps in averting many unfortunate situations from developing. It promotes love, trust and camaraderie.

5. Manage your time and attend to small things

Prioritize your daily activities and try to follow the schedule religiously. You’ll remain calm, and have time for exercise, attending to your children, sharing tidbits with your hubby, fixing a nutritious meal and doing small things which are not spectacular but important for the health and happiness of your family. This will automatically build a positive and loving orientation to life. Trivialities and escapist activities are shunned by a focused mind yielding to love and goodwill in abundance.

Dear friends, share your own experiences on the subject for making life more purposeful and fulfilling by your comments.

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