I recently started reading an interesting, fairly dense book called How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving (affiliate link) by David Richo. By dense, I mean it isn’t a book to be read quickly because almost every paragraph has something thought provoking or important to say.
In the introduction Richo’s contends that:
Love is experienced differently by each of us, but for most of us five aspects of love stand out. We feel loved when we receive attention, acceptance, appreciation, and affection, and when we are allowed the freedom to live in accord with our own deepest needs and wishes.
I had a funny thought as to what it might look like to practice one of the exercises in the book (page 46) on a sometimes hostile open source project mailing list, using someone you don’t particularly like or get along with as the target. Say these statements as you think about that person:
- I am paying close attention to you now.
- I accept you as you are in this moment.
- I allow you to be yourself.
- I appreciate you for what you have been and are.
- I have real affection for you, no matter what.
Okay, maybe a project mailing isn’t exactly the right place to find and feel love, however it might change the way we treat each other in a positive way. Would that really be a bad thing?
Better yet, try these statements with someone you are in relationship with. If it is too hard to say them out loud, start by thinking them in your heart. See if something doesn’t shift inside of you by focusing on them.