What is love if you don't care for someone else more than you care for yourself? What is love if not putting another's needs ahead of your own? What is love if not to love without expecting anything in return?
Love is not a two-way street. Love is a selfless act. It is giving without expecting anything in return. You may enter a relationship with dreams, plans, and expectations, but as the old boxing adage goes, “Everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face.”
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Instead of trying to force yourself into the fully-scripted roles of the ideal relationship, let go of your expectations and reliance on your partner for affection and validation. Love with no expectations can never be betrayed. Only when an exchange is expected is betrayal possible.
So, love someone for all that they are. Appreciate them for who they are rather than how well they fit your preconceived notions of how things should be. This will free your heart of any anger or frustration and allow you to begin to love unconditionally, even if it is from afar.
When you love unconditionally without expecting anything in return, you will create a unique and rare relationship based on unconditional and non-possessive affection. Because you are not merely using another to satisfy general self-interested desires, your relationship will be pure and honest.
How often do we set the bar too high and then use that as an excuse to not love completely? “A wonderful gift may not be wrapped as you expect,” said Jonathan Lockwood Huie. Allow everyone to be completely themselves. Don't try to manipulate or change them. I just adore them right now, exactly as they are.
Consider people with compassion and acceptance. Then allow circumstances to naturally and freely resolve themselves into the best possible outcome for all parties involved. Those you love without expectation will most likely dazzle you when they, in turn, begin to see you in your truest light.
Here are some simple ways to love without expecting anything in return
- Love yourself first and foremost—completely and unequivocally. Be at peace with yourself. If you can do that, the need for others will vanish.
- Believe in the good intentions of the person you care about. Everyone has some good in them.
- Accept the person exactly as they are. We do not have the right to own or rearrange people.
- Smiling, laughing, and spending more time with that person, exploring new and challenging activities together, are all good ways to express yourself. It fosters intimacy.
- Always protect and defend him or her, including their sense of dignity as human beings.
- In your interactions with them, be truthful and honest. Stop playing with them.
- Openly express your love and affection for them. Every morning, whisper in their ear how lovely they are.
- Physically show your affection. Healing can be brought about by a simple kiss on the cheek or a light touch on the shoulder.
- Respect and treat that person with courtesy and dignity, as you would a gentleman or lady.
- Don't tell them lies or cheat on them. Maintain your commitment to your relationship until the end.
- Don't constantly whine, nag, or complain. It irritates the spirit.
- Don't berate them all the time. Instead, whenever possible, encourage and support them.
- Exhibit more compassion. We all require a little compassion from others.
- When they least expect it, surprise them with acts of kindness.
- Be available when they require a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to lift their spirits.
- Don't compare your relationship to those of others.
- Maintain your cool and continue to work on improving your relationship
- Develop a thick skin in the relationship, knowing that difficulties are an unavoidable part of life.
- Forget about your emotional investment in that person or relationship. You won't be able to expect a return on investment this way.
- Don't use blackmail or manipulation to get them to do your bidding.
- Keep no unnecessary secrets from them. The presence of secrets indicates a lack of trust and authenticity in the relationship.
- Listen to what they have to say with an open mind and the intention of understanding where they are coming from.
- When confronted by others, speak up in defense of the person you love and the integrity of your relationship.
- Discuss your concerns with that person openly and face to face.
- Stop focusing on that person's flaws or the things that irritate you about them. It's simply not worth it.
- Sit down, talk about it, and make plans for the future.
- Instead of shifting blame and heaping it on them, accept responsibility for your own actions.
- Apologize for your mistakes, learn from them, and make amends as needed.
- Forgive the offenses that were committed and move on. Life is too short to be unhappy by holding grudges.
- When that person is in your life, celebrate them, and let them go when they leave. Don't make anyone stay.
It is a glorious sign of emotional maturity to be able to do these things with no expectation of a specific outcome. You grow as a person and take control of the relationship.
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