Some things bear repeating from time to time. Here are my three favorite ways to feel more loved.
- Assume Love. Don’t fall prey to your lizard brain’s automatic self-protection plan when you’re dealing with someone who has promised to love you and done a decent job of it until just now. Before you react to whatever just upset you (except violence or a threat of violence), try on the idea that you are still loved and see if there are any other possible explanations for what happened.
- Expect Love. While someone in love might say “I love you,” take out the trash before it gets stinky, roll the toilet paper the way you prefer, give you meaningful gifts, or join you in rock climbing, not everyone will. Do not make the mistake of expecting any particular loving gesture. Expect love to come in surprising forms and you will see more of it.
- Find Third Alternatives. The frustration of not getting what you want or need when you two must make a joint decision can make you feel unloved. Instead of arguing for your side, jump the net. Offer to support your mate’s needs and wants, just not this particular proposed way of meeting them. Few decisions ever really present only two alternatives. Find the Third Alternative, the one that satisfies both of you. The first step is to get clear what outcomes each of you seeks, because they are likely not the outcomes the other associates with the proposed means of getting them.
These three steps clear away tons of resentment and let in lots more joy.