As a principle alone, Real Love is transformational. As I have taught the definition and nature of Real Love to people all around the world, I have been impressed with how they have lit up with understanding.
As they have realized the role of Real Love in their lives—and the role of the lack of Real Love—they have come to understand their own behavior, the behavior of the people around them, and their relationships. This understanding alone can have a profound impact.
The impact of understanding Real Love as a principle, however, pales virtually to nothingness beside the power of Real Love itself. As people actually feel Real Love
- they feel a sense of profound connection to the people who love them.
- they no longer feel alone. they lose their emptiness and fear.
- they no longer have a need for the anger in their lives, so it simply begins to gradually disappear.
- the other Getting and Protecting Behaviors begin to vanish, also because there is no need for them in the absence of emptiness and fear.
- they feel a deep sense of peace and happiness. Studying the principles of Real Love is fascinating and productive, but the real goal is to feel the power of Real Love. So what does Real Love look like? Regrettably, the world has sold us a terribly deceptive counterfeit of love, so we see love as
- more sex.
- romantic poetry.
- candlelight dinners.
- expensive gifts.
- elaborate and sentimental expressions of “I can’t live without you.”
Sometimes Real Love does involve some of the elements we just listed, but just as often love has nothing to do with these expressions. Real Love means caring about another person’s genuine happiness. Again, what does that look like?
Recently I was presenting a seminar in Washington, D.C., and on the front row there was a woman who was obviously skeptical of what she was hearing about Real Love. She had had a most unhappy life to that point, and although she understood the words I was speaking, she just couldn’t imagine feeling unconditionally loved. In all her forty-plus years, that feeling had never happened to her, and that is not at all uncommon among us. As I spoke, she scowled, shifted in her seat, frowned, and so on.
Finally she asked a question that indicated her doubts, so in front of hundreds of people I simply kneeled down before her, looked her directly in the eyes, and said, “Real Love is genuinely caring about another person. It’s completely focusing on what another person wants and needs, as I’m doing with you right now. In this moment, there is nothing more important to me than what you need. That’s all that matters.”
She broke down and sobbed. I didn’t touch her. No hugging or kissing. No gifts. I didn’t actually use the words I love you. She wept because in that small moment she knew that I cared about her, and that feeling made all the difference.
We have so many opportunities to share Real Love with others. All around us people are drowning from a lack of Real Love. They need our loving touch. Some of the ways we could love people might include the following:
Expression of Love
Your child has fallen and skinned a knee.
You say, “That looks like it hurt. You want me to look at your knee and see if it needs anything?” No sympathy, no encouragement of victimhood, just a genuine expression of concern for her welfare.
Your wife looks sad or distant for some reasons unknown.
You sit next to her and lightly put your hand on her knee or shoulder. Then you say, “You look distracted or concerned about something. You don’t have to tell me what it is—no pressure at all—but if you want to, I’d love to hear about it.”
Your husband is angry because you left the car in the driveway—again—instead of putting it in the garage. What he doesn’t know is that when you came home, his lawnmower was right where your car was supposed to go, and you couldn’t put the car in the garage without putting his mower away.
You have a perfect opportunity here to defend yourself and make this all his fault, but you don’t. You realize that he needs love, not your defending yourself, so you walk right up to him, cup his face in your hands, and say, “You are so right. I haven’t paid nearly enough attention to that. I’m going to write Park the car right now on an index card and tape it to the dash. Maybe that will help.”
An employee seems confused and frustrated.
You say, “You look a little overwhelmed. How can I help you?”
Look for ways to unconditionally care about the happiness of those around you. As you do, everyone—especially you—will be richly rewarded.
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