What I've come to understand is that giving love and being loving has nothing to do with giving anything material and it definitely has nothing to do with sacrifice. Giving love and being loving is being present in the moment with another person, giving them your full attention and saying or doing whatever it is that makes the other feel good and be well in that moment. Love is desiring for the well being and good feelings of the beloved as much as they desire it for themselves. Giving another love and being loving is anything that you do knowing that it brings the other good feelings or well being. Giving love and being loving has nothing to do with sacrifice, If it doesn't feel good to you, it's sacrifice and that isn't love.
No matter what another is doing I can choose to be loving. I can't control anyone else anyway, and only I can make me feel better.
Giving love is what loving someone is. Being loving is giving love in every moment. It all boils down to being able to give love to another in a way that makes them feel good. Many times I think that humans have rules for others to follow. We feel that others should give to us in certain ways and if they don't they aren't loving us "the right way". What if instead of expecting anything from them at all, we could focus on only giving love to them? What a huge difference this would make in our relationships.
To focus exclusively on giving without having any expectations of receiving anything in return is to love truly. This means that you love even if the other is in a terrible mood, even if you're in a terrible mood, whether or not you feel like it and even when the other is being unloving. Unless the other feels good upon receiving what you are giving it isn't love. Desiring good feelings and well being for the other is being loving. Giving it to them in ways that feel good for them is giving love.
When I say that I give love, or to be loving, I don't mean that I give in any way that causes me to feel like that person now owes me. To give in this way is really taking in barter form. Who wants to be given to if it's really just an "I owe you" in a shoddy disguise? Giving in a way that causes you to feel like you are giving something up that you'd rather not give up is sacrifice and sacrifice doesn't feel good for anyone. When I used to give it was in the form of giving in a sacrificial way, giving up something: my time, my resources, my freedom. For the receiver this is very uncomfortable and can create resentment over time. If you feel like in giving you are a better person, or you are trying to "one up" another or make them feel guilty, that is also a form of taking. If in giving, you feel as if the other owes you something, or that you have given away something that you would rather not have given, or that you are a "better person" for giving to them, then you aren't giving and you aren't being loving.
Giving feels good. It's energizing to give love to another. When you give to another in a way that makes them feel good and adds to their well being without expecting anything in return and without giving anything up yourself, that's love in action.
Does that mean that if your mate wants to go to his favorite restaurant for dinner and you feel like going to a different place that it isn't love if you decide to "sacrifice" your preferences and go to this favorite place? If you feel like: "I did him a favor", that "he owes me", that "I'm a better person", or that "I'll be a pushover to keep the peace", then that isn't love. On the other hand if you feel like: "He really deserves to eat his favorite food. It's so nice to have a night out without the kids " or "It makes me happy when he's happy. I loved the stir fry last time" or "Everything evens out and we'll have plenty of time to go to other restaurants that I prefer."
I believe in love, and I believe that all things are possible. It's possible to give love to another without expecting anything in return. It's possible to add more well being to another's life and to make another feel good. Here are some ideas that you can implement today to give love to not only the special people in your life, but to everyone you meet:
* Tell them you love them if they are someone special in your life
* Help a stranger in need
* Spend one on one time with a special person in your life and give them your full, focused attention
* Put some extra effort into preparing dinner. Cook someone's favorite meal.
* Give your child a "free fun day" out of school. I do this one child at a time and we spend a day doing something they love to do. Make sure you do nothing else but spend time with them.
* Spend some extra time helping your child with homework - patiently.
* Celebrate with loved ones, just because.
* Write a loved one a letter, call or text them to tell them how much you care about them and what you appreciate about them.
* Just be there as a positive and loving force in their life. It's enough to just be with them and be happy and loving through thick and thin.