When I was a little kid about five years old, I remember going to church for Catholic mass. Above the altar were the words, “God is Love.” Back in those days the mass was said in Latin, so I was very bored (not that I would have been less bored if the mass was in English).

In my boredom I recited those three words in my head in every conceivable order: God is love, Is love God?, Love God is, Love is God, Is God love?, God love is. No matter what the order, the word “love” stood out most for me. God was a surreal concept to my young mind, but I knew love well having received it from my parents, family, and friends.

A couple years later in religion class I learned Jesus’ concept of loving your neighbor. That had a profound effect on me and later that day I told my friend how we needed to love the neighborhood bully even though we didn’t like him.

That is the true nature of love—it is unconditional. Love is meant to be given without regard of what we might receive in return. Love is not about making deals, “If I give you this much love I want the equal amount in return,” or “If you love me first then I will love you.”

Don’t expect anything in return for the love that you give. But by giving the energy of love, you will attract love into your life. You can also attract love by looking at your ball of energy for love and feeling love inside you (true, conditional love).

But conditional love doesn’t mean that you are in a relationship where you do everything for the other person, but he or she does nothing—that is not love, that is slavery. A good relationship is where each person gives their all. Sometimes the best way to love a person is to leave them; give them the life lesson that teaches them that they can’t get something for nothing; that they have to give in order to receive.

In Buddhism it is believed that everyone is capable of becoming a Buddha, that everyone has the Buddha nature inside. A Buddha is someone who has reached the highest condition of life, enlightenment. Having reached such a level, a Buddha deserves respect.

As everyone has the Buddha nature within and is at the least a latent Buddha. As such, everyone deserves respect and love.

Love is generated from within you. For you to generate this love you must first feel it. Maybe you have never felt this love because no one has ever given it to you. But you can feel this love if you love yourself.

Loving yourself entails the Emotional Intelligence skill of Self-Regard. Self-Regard is accepting yourself for who you are, respecting yourself, and being confident in who you are. We are often hardest on ourselves. We call ourselves names that would never dare call anyone else. We admonish ourselves for mistakes that we would forgive others for having made.

You need to be you own best friend, your cheerleader, and your biggest fan. Find that love inside yourself. See the ball of energy in the palm of your hand while feeling true, unconditional love inside yourself. Practice this and then that energy will attract love into your life.

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