More important than being loved is to love. – Dalai Lama
What does that mean?
Loving, or the act of giving love away to another, is a very powerful force. Receiving love is also powerful, but it relies on others to act in a loving manner towards you. To me, this quote is all about the power inherent to love, and the joy it brings to you when you give it away to another.
One important difference between being loved and loving another is you can only control one of those. You cannot make someone else love you. However, you can give love to any number of people, and yet you are not diminished for having done so.
Love given is a joy for you to give and a joy for the person receiving it, thus doubling the joy. Love, by my estimation, includes everything from a friendly, love of humanity kind of love, to a love of country or ideals. It can also refer to romantic love, of course, but that is not the type of love I wish to describe.
Why is giving of oneself important?
Giving is a great way to feel better about yourself. Whether you are giving love, as the quote suggests, or you are giving of your skills or your money, any and all of it helps you feel good. For those who believe that doing good deeds in this life has a spiritual benefit, that should be reason enough, right?
It will also help others feel good about themselves. Think about how good you feel when others show their love of you personally, or their love of humanity, which just happens to include you. When you show your love for others, you feel much better. This is how others feel when you show your love for them.
Giving love also opens doors. By showing your love to others, by sharing it with them, they open up just a little bit more. They may even feel an urge to show some love for others. In this manner, a single act of kindness, the showing of your love for humanity, can have ripples that extend far beyond what you can see or know.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Note that I’m not talking romantic love in this case. Spreading romantic love to more than one person can get you into a bit of trouble in many countries. So let’s stay focussed on how you can show, and give, other types of love to other people.
How many ways can you show love to others? Think of all the different ways to do so, from the mundane to the powerful, from holding a door open to donating blood. How about letting someone else go first, complementing someone on their courtesy, kindness, or love for their fellow humans?
Consider the list you have accumulated. How many of these things do you do on a regular basis? How many of them have you done even once? How many have you only seen done by others? Which of them could you do more often? Which of them do you enjoy doing most?
Does this sound like a good plan for the future? Can you find a few things on your list that you like to do and are willing to try to do more often? It doesn’t have to be huge, at least not at first. Start with something within your comfort zone, and then go larger from there.
Pick something to start with. How can you do this? Where can you do this? To whom, or with whom, can you do this? Is it something you can plan, or is it something that just happens? Are there certain circumstances when it can be done? Can you make plans for how you will act next time you get the chance?
How will you handle things like opening doors, letting someone in ahead of you, or any other action that you can plan, but not anticipate? Give it some thought, and you can probably come up with a plan to use in such circumstances.
What else can you do to show your love for others? What can you give of yourself, you time, your talent, your treasure, which could benefit any others? Can you plan a time or a schedule to give it a try? What other actions can you take to help prepare for this action?
With this plan, or plans, in your mind, the world is on the cusp of a new explosion of love. All you have to do is get started. What are you waiting for?