Photo by Allan Dias on Unsplash

You’ve probably heard before that to love others you must first love yourself. That’s all fine and good, but there’s another facet to loving other people that we overlook.

Humans have a tendency to question if they should love another person; they wonder if someone else deserves their love. They look at the other person from head to toe, they use their intuition to look beyond the surface to find a deeper truth and they stereotype people who remind them of people they met in the past.

We also have a tendency to withdraw love when someone we loved does something we absolutely detest or if they stop being predictable in ways that benefit us.

Is it any wonder people feel lonely in life? Is it any wonder that people question if love exists? It’s often a very conditional thing, which implies that if for some reason you can’t do the things someone wants you to do, there will be no more love to give.

Personally, I don’t think conditional love is that bad. Sure, unconditional love is quite amazing. To be loved no matter what is amazing. However, when it comes to conditional love there will be times when someone does something that will annoy, anger or depress you. But if you are able to allow yourself to feel it, let it go and then resume loving them, that is pretty powerful.

Most people cannot love unconditionally. That is just the fact of the matter. But what they can do is learn to remove the blocks that keep love out. To be frank, that might be the overall mission of life on Earth for humans.

Can you learn to just accept this thing that you don’t like? Can you allow the people who live in a way you despise to just live, insofar that they are not abusing other people or infringing on the rights of others?

It’s been a tall task for humans, but maybe what I’m about to share will help.

When you’re with the person you love or even with an acquaintance or stranger, there will come a point where they will do something that you are not going to like. You might even hate it.

Your brain takes the negative emotions you’re feeling and then associates the emotion with this person who did this aggravating thing. Now you believe that you hate this person. But is that really true? Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that you hate the person’s actions?

I believe it is more accurate. This same person probably has traits that you like, so it really wouldn’t be right to say that you hate the person. You hate their actions so much that you’ve completely defined them based on the trait you dislike about them.

So if you absolutely abhor someone, it is a specific trait of theirs that you abhor. But I must admit that you could also hate someone who has a myriad of terrible traits and a collection of terrible deeds too.

Now that we have seen that it is the traits or actions of a person that makes us withdraw our love, we move on to the next step.

When we feel this negative emotion because of who this other person is or what they’ve done, we naturally hate that we feel the way we feel. Nobody likes to feel angry, annoyed or depressed. And when we are made to feel this way because of the actions of others, it is no wonder why we say we hate people.

But here’s the key. If you can accept how this other person made you feel, you have learnt how to truly accept someone and the negative emotion you felt evaporates.

As you could probably guess, this also works on accepting things about yourself that you don’t like. The point is not to try to accept the personality trait or the behavior through effort and force. Having the intention to let them go is enough. But then you must let yourself feel the negative emotions that fuel the resentment. And with that, the non-peace gets transmuted into peace.

Now what’s left is just a person with traits that you don’t endorse but because you have no emotion to what they’re doing, you just allow them to be who they are. If you need to step away from them, you do so without hostility. If you once felt the need to talk about why they are wrong and why you are right, that is now gone.

There is also a bonus effect. When you can allow people to be who they are, you can watch their traits and clearly see who you are and what you value. This is the beauty of life on Earth. Everything is different. So as much as we think there is some objectively good way to be, that would fly in the face of how life presents itself to us. Everything is relative, and that’s a good thing.

It just means that people are going to be the polar opposite of you and you may not be able to see the good in it. After all, we’ve seen many people and societies get slaughtered because something about them was seen as bad or wrong. But we all know deep down that variety is the spice of life.

And just because you don’t like paprika doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a place here on Earth.

But as always, don’t just take my word for it. Try it out and see for yourself if your relationships improve. It was a pretty big game changer for me. It reminds me of forgiveness where you drop your resentment of someone, but in this case it’s more general.

You can drop any negative emotion for the behavior or trait that another has. But you remember that a person is more than just a behavior or a personality trait.

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