It goes without saying that killing or harming does not a warm, friendly community make. But we have to do more than just NOT harm or kill--we have to love and assist others. When we live this value, we honor not just ourselves, but those with whom we share space in this world.
Here are four ways to turn toward others with Love.
1) Notice your negative impulses. You can’t force yourself to be loving and kind 100% of the time! Even Mother Teresa’s path was filled with doubt, yet she kept on being authentic with her generous love. If you notice a harmful emotion, take a breath and try to notice what caused it. Remind yourself that you’re doing the best you can.
2) Say a prayer for that difficult person in your life. When you say a prayer for someone, you feel compassion for the circumstances that make them who they are. This may help you feel more understanding toward them.
3) Help and appreciate others in little ways. It’s the small helpful actions that let others know they are loved and appreciated. Take to heart the words of Robert Louis Stevenson, who wrote: “It is the history of our kindnesses that alone makes this world tolerable. If it were not for that, for the effect of kind words, kind looks, kind letters . . . I should be inclined to think our life a practical jest in the worst possible spirit.”
4) Let go of expectations. Give from your heart, without expecting anything in return. In this way you give freely to others.
Donald Altman, M.A., LPC, is a practicing psychotherapist, former Buddhist monk, Emmy-Award-winning writer, and board member of The Center for Mindful Eating. His new book is The Mindfulness Code: Keys for Overcoming Stress, Anxiety, Fear, and Unhappiness.