Love is an essential component of happiness, and the ability to love and be loved are two things we all want and need. However, some people seem to have the knack of having people love them naturally, while others can’t seem to attract love no matter how hard they try.
Modern psychology is starting to unravel where the differences lie between these two types of people and reveal in practical ways how you can bring more love into your life, by showing you the signals you are giving off to others that you don’t even realize you are doing, and how they reflect your inner self.
Loneliness is very common in people who do not feel loved, and loneliness can cause great unhappiness, as can love for someone who does not love you back. To love and be loved are both essential components of happiness. Everyone wants to belong and be accepted.
One of the secrets of being loved is not to try to be loved. Yes, that’s right. Think about it for a moment. The way we communicate with ourselves and with others has a big influence on how lovable we are, and how much love we receive. The way we think determines our own inner reality, and this inner reality determines what we say, how we say it, and how we interpret what others are saying. Add these all together, and this combination is the reality that other people see as us. This is often a long way from the person we think we really are.
Being yourself and coming across as the true ‘you’ is important, and for this, you need to not only look at the inner you, but also to look at how you come across to others, and how you respond to them.
We all create our own reality. Two people can experience the same thing and interpret it in totally different ways. No two people can walk down the same street and see the same things. The street is the same in both cases, but the reality of the street is in our own mind.
This is the way we go through life, and all the thoughts and experiences of our life so far colour and select what we see at this moment.
If we think that life is against us then wee feel the wind blowing down the street is just there to annoy us, and if we think that life is good to us we enjoy the wind in our hair.
Of course, it’s the same wind, and the wind is neutral, you are creating your own inner reality about the wind. In just the same way people can’t make you angry or self-conscious, you do this all by yourself in your inner reality.
We all communicate with others through our inner reality, so that two people will communicate the same idea in different ways. This colours our communication with a lot of other ‘stuff’ which can get in the way, and other people pick all of this up without us realising it.
We can think that communicating with others is all about what we say, and here we would be totally wrong as only 7% of communication is in the words, 38% in the way you say them, and 55% in our body language (Albert Mehrabian 1971). The trouble comes when the words we say are different to the other cues we are giving out, and people will believe the other things first and the words last.
What has this got to do with being loved? Well, your inner reality colours what you are saying, and without you realising it you can be trying to manipulate the other person into loving you because this is the way you believe you will succeed. People who are loved do not manipulate in this way, and this is a significant difference from the people who are not loved (How To Be Loved by W. Broadbent 1978).
What are manipulation techniques? Well here are a few examples – Am I trying to manipulate this person into accepting or loving me by showing him how smart I am? How modest I am? How sexy I am? How funny I am? How agreeable I am? How manly I am? How authentic I am? Do I speak only when spoken to? Do I dominate conversations? Am I genuinely interested in this person or can I hardly wait until he’s finished talking so that I can make my point? What do I often talk about? Is it gossip? Is sex my main topic or is it about what a hard life I’m having? etc.
The other half of communication is active listening, and this isn’t as easy or as common as it seems. Yes, we all listen in some way, but we can listen passively as we would listen to the TV.
We can listen and nod our head to show we are listening, or give the occasional grunt in the right place, but even then the other person doesn’t know we are really listening. It is only by actively listening to the other person that we relate to them.
It is by tuning in to the meaning beyond the words, such as – How does this person feel? How does he think? How does he look at me? Does he look away? Could he be feeling uneasy? Does he look at me with a gentle rested gaze? Could it be that he is feeling calm? Does he look at me out of the corner of his eye? Does this mean he is suspicious? How does he sound? How does he listen? What are his interests? His joys? His sorrows? etc.
Communication and active listening can be improved, and lead to you being able to give and receive love in your life.
Once you can communicate on this level the other things about love should fall into place. Not that the other things are easy, but you now have a head start.