Love Thy Neighbor

It’s February, which means love is in the air and spring is right around the corner—thank goodness!

Even though February usually reminds us how much we love that special someone in our life, I think most of us often forget how important it is to love those around us as well. We should have love for our faiths, ourselves and our neighbors. They say that love makes the world go ‘round, but I feel like most of us are so caught up in work or school that we often get disconnected from people we interact with each and every day.

Friends, acquaintances, teachers, bosses, even the guy behind the counter at your favorite convenience store—all deserve to be loved as much as anyone else. Just remember this: we are what we are only in relation to those around us, so we must love others as we love ourselves. Here are a few ways you can show love to those around you.

1. Believe in the potential of others, and let them know when you’re impressed or surprised by them. People will be flattered when you notice their efforts or passions and will be glad that you voiced your appreciation.

2. Stop and listen. It’s as simple as that. We spend the majority of our time in conversations thinking about what we’re going to say once the person we’re talking to has said what they want to say. But this means that we aren’t really listening to what the other person is saying. By simply listening to another’s words with sincerity, the conversation will develop a much stronger personal connection.

3. Be yourself, not what you think someone wants you to be. Give others the gift of the real you and a real relationship. Share with others how you really feel, what you really think. They’ll appreciate your honesty and a much stronger, more personal relationship will ensue.

4. Stop thinking of ways other people could improve upon themselves. Just because they aren’t like you doesn’t necessarily mean they need to change. If everyone were the same, the world would be a very boring place. By accepting others for who they truly are, much more time can be spent getting to know them rather than trying to critique them.

5. Go outside of your comfort zone for others every once in a while. Just because something isn’t normal to you doesn’t mean it isn’t normal to them. Besides, how do you know you don’t like something if you’ve never tried it? Placing trust in another and overcoming your resistance to change will be greatly appreciated.

I hope you can embrace some, if not all, of these methods. They will lead to much more fulfilling relationships with those around you.

Until next month—keep striving to love one another. As John Lennon once said, “Love is the answer, and you know that for sure; love is a flower, you’ve got to let it grow.”