If you have ever had a hard time finding love or staying in love, you might think that love is supposed to be a struggle. You may have heard that love is hard work. Thinking that sets you up for failure and often stops the search completely. If you want long-lasting love in relationships or work, it requires less than you think. Much less.
Graham Hill’s story in the New York Times of how love inspired less reminded me that less can inspire love too.
Love gets such a bad rap because we rarely put it first. Instead, we put bills, errands, worry, fear, past hurts, excuses, selfishness and stuff before love, before health and before the things that really matter. Then we think that if we ever get “in the right place” or can fully manage all of our distractions, we can be fully engaged in an affair of the heart.
That’s not working.
Clearly, with the number of people who work jobs they hate, fall in and out of love, jump from idea to idea, and divorce their soul mates at record numbers, something needs to give.
True, deep, passionate, crazy love is available to you.
When I say love I mean …
- committed relationship
- work that makes your heart sing
If that kind of love is important to you, if it’s one of the most important things, it has to come first.
- shopping for sport or therapy
- working long hours
- busy work
- my stuff
- saying yes when I should say no
- more money
- fear of uncertainty
Two step process to putting love first:
The things in your life that come before love have to go, and this step has to come first. If you try to reprioritize things that aren’t important or meaningful, it doesn’t matter where they fall on the list. Write down all of the things that don’t matter to determine what you can eliminate. For me the list looked like this:
One by one, and inch by inch, I eliminated the things that got in the way of a more loving, giving, receiving, deserving me.
Saying something comes first and demonstrating that something comes first are completely different things. Once you have eliminated the things that get in the way of love and add no value to your life, you can reprioritize the things that are left. Put them in order and take action so that if love is most important, it really does come first.
- If you want to save a failing relationship, eliminate destructive behavior and hurtful words. Then you can start putting love first by telling your partner how much you love them every morning.
- If you want better friendships, eliminate comparing and competing. Then you can start putting friendships first by spending time with people who lift you up, and then lift them right back.
- If you want to do work you love, eliminate debt and the fear that people will think you are crazy. Then you can start putting work you love first by spending time each morning taking action and developing your plan.
- If you want to fall in love with your art again, or something that makes your heart sing, eliminate television and other distractions. Then you can start putting your art first by placing pen to paper, brush to canvas or combining other tools and skills to bring your passion to life.
- If you want to fall in love with your community again, eliminate complaints and drama. Then you can start putting your community first by volunteering or taking a walk and noticing all the things you love about your place in the world.
After you methodically eliminate and reprioritize, all that is left is what matters most to you. You’re left with the freedom to fall head over heels, to love deeply and give freely. You will have the life people dream about and your demonstration of living with more love and less of most everything else will inspire them to do the same.