As a young man I pursued love passionately. I loved to fall in love; the rush of raw emotions and passion. Come to find out it that it wasn’t love after all, it was lust. Lust is short-lived and only satisfies the corporeal moment, not the soul.

Love, on the other hand, is long lasting, healing, and fulfilling. There are two types of love: Love of oneself and love of others.

Loving yourself doesn’t mean that you are egotistical, vain, or narcissistic. Love of the self is composed of two Emotional Intelligence skills: Self-Regard and Self-Actualization.

The skill of Self-Regard involves the ability to like yourself; you have to like yourself before you can love yourself. Everyone has unique abilities, personalities, and outlooks. You are your own unique “culture;” your own personal history has allowed you to develop your own distinctive lifestyle and approach to life. You celebrate your differences and uniqueness. You are confident in being the best you that you can be.

Loving yourself also includes the Emotional Intelligence skill of Self-Actualization. Being self-actualized means that you are living the life that you have decided to live. Self-Actualization is a process; you are striving towards your goals. You may not have the ideal job, relationships, or be living in your dream house, but you are doing the things that you have deemed necessary to achieve your goals.

Besides loving yourself, there is loving others. I’m not talking about romantic love which studies have found to be short-lived (it lasts only two to three years). Loving others is the unselfish act of genuine caring for other people.

Loving others involves three Emotional Intelligence skills: Interpersonal Relationships, Empathy, and Social Responsibility.

Interpersonal Relationships is the ability to initiate, nurture, and maintain relationships. A relationship is a two-way street of give and take. You are able to give kindness and affection to others, and receive these gifts from others. In a relationship, whether it be friend or lover, you are able to share intimacy; you share your thoughts and emotions.

Another important skill needed to love others is Empathy, the ability to see things from another’s point of view. Empathy involves the capability of reading and recognizing someone’s emotions and being able to relate to those emotions. It’s different from sympathy, which is having the same emotions as another. For example, your friend is going through a tough break-up from someone they love; your friend is heartbroken and crying. Being sympathetic means that you are experiencing the same emotional pain as your friend; you have joined your friend in becoming an emotional wreck. Being empathetic means that you understand your friend’s pain, but you are in an emotionally stable state where you are better able to help your friend.

The Emotional Intelligence skill of Social Responsibility is another way that we show love towards others. Being socially responsible means that you are an active and constructive participant in the world around you. You are working towards the good of all, not just yourself.

Overall, love to me means not only living the “Golden Rule” of treating others the way you want to be treated, but also going a step further and doing something extra or special for another. I try to do this every day in little ways such as holding the door open for someone, saying “please” and “thank you,” smiling at someone, etc., etc.

Love takes energy and effort. You attract love in your life by giving it away first. Another way to attract love in your life is by imagining a ball of energy in the palm of your hand (my ball of energy for love is yellow in color). Associate this ball of energy with the feeling of love (true love as discussed above). What does it feel like to have love in your life? Feeling that energy will attract the energy of love into your life.

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