Making the Connection: Showing Love to the People in Your Life

Article by Judy Mosley

 

“Good Night,”

“Sleep Tight,”

“Dream of bedbugs tonight!”

 

This is our nightly ritual.  Every night before bed, my son and I quote this goodnight wish from Lion King 1 ½.

 

For me, this is a connection that I make with my son. Whether or not I like the movie is irrelevant.  But what is important is that I can show my love for my son, by joining in his interests and what he likes to do.  Quoting movie lines is one of them.

 

What is it that holds a relationship together?  What are the things that really matter in a relationship? Many people begin a relationship because of a shared interest or common goal.  But what happens if those interests change?  Or … what if your own interests change, but the other persons do not? Should the relationship end?  Or is life giving us another opportunity to rediscover and to keep connecting with the person that we love?

 

As part of the human make-up, interests, likes, and dislikes are bound to change.  These changes can create excitement and bring a sense of freshness to our relationships.  And even if a person continues having the same interests, we can use those interests to connect with that person.

 

There are, however, a few important things to keep in mind when we make these connections:

 

I don’t have to like it!

Often, I find myself not wanting to participate in an activity that someone else enjoys because I have no interest in it.  But what I have to remind myself is that what I really love is the person.  My interest, at this point, really doesn’t matter.  What does matter is the person that I love … and that I can show them love by participating and encouraging them in what they love to do.

 

Doing this does not take away from who I am.

When I choose to encourage someone in their own interests, I’ve learned that doing so doesn’t change who I am.  I don’t have to feel cheated if we aren’t doing something that I enjoy.  When I know who I am, I can encourage those around me to be who they are, without fearing that I will lose out in any way.

 

My participation is a way that I can show love.

Recently on PBS, my husband and I were watching a program that described how a national park was created. I recognized one of the people being described on the show and remembered that this was someone that my mom admired.  I called her and let her know about the special that was on PBS.  I immediately heard the enthusiasm in her voice.  Since I had been watching the show, I was able to talk with her about this person’s life and what he had accomplished.  However what was most important for me was not what I had learned from the show, but that I was able to connect with my mother.  I had made her feel loved and respected, because I remembered her and showed interest in what she enjoyed.

 

When a loved one asks you to join them in what they love, do so with joy.  Not because of what you are about to do, but because you are going to spend time with this person.  You’ll be able to connect with them and make memories that you both can share in the future.

 

Your loved one will feel appreciated and respected because you made time for them and you made room for who they really are.  That is something that all of us need to feel free to be … Ourselves.

 

When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce.  You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun.  You never blame the lettuce.

Yet if we have problems with our friends or our family, we blame the other person.  But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce.

Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument.  That is my experience.  If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.

-Thich Nhat Hanh

 

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Posted on 24 September, 2009 in Finance & Family, Happiness, Making the Day Count
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