Tap the source of love and let it flow to everyone.
By Alessandra Conti & Cristina (Conti) Pineda
Last updated on Oct 21, 2023
Photo: Thirdman | Canva
Lost in the familiar drone of weddings, your stomach is grumbling, and you wish the reception would start already, then you find yourself thinking about unconditional love.
Unconditional love can permeate our lives and improve the relationships around us.
Of course, we long for the excitement of a new romance—a kind of love that seems far from traditional definitions, but any married couple will tell you that true love (lasting love) is found in the little things, like the grumbling of a wedding guest’s stomach anticipating the reception feast.
To attract your future mate, improve your relationship, or show appreciation to children, co-workers, babysitters, neighbors, and the catering waiter at the wedding reception who has satiated your grumbling tummy.
Here are 10 small (but effective) ways to show unconditional love:
1. Wear your wedding ring.
You can say “I love you” without words by publicly honoring your commitment to your spouse, but we often see people without their wedding ring or doing the “left-hand-in-pocket” dance, which could be a subtle tell of a potential cheater.
Be loud and proud of your loved one, whether you wear a ring or not. If you’re unmarried, consider giving your sweetheart a reason to publically display their love.
2. Let the other person make mistakes.
So many times in our daily lives, we insist on our way and want fairness (as we define it) in everything, especially when it comes to small tasks—like taking out the trash. We hold ourselves to high standards and leave little leeway for others. We get irritable if they fail to execute a task exactly how we want it, in the time frame we want it done.
Instead of becoming irritable, address the problem to your partner lovingly and focus on solutions. This might feel hard and challenging, but it’s the most fruitful way for unconditional love to thrive.
3. Be clear about the boundaries of a relationship.
If you only see a person as a casual friend, treat them as such rather than inaugurating them as your newest instant-BFF let’s-text-every-minute buddy.
If there’s an inkling of something more in the relationship, allow yourself time to explore it. A clear understanding of your feelings will help you avoid sending a mixed message and set healthy boundaries.
4. Leave your house five minutes before you usually do.
Timeliness shows respect for other people. You’ll also be an angel of the road, where people’s worst sides tend to sneak out because they’re all in a hurry.
5. Let the other person choose the music.
This simple act of kindness goes a long way to keep the peace, and you’ll likely discover some great new music this way.
6. Stop to ask your doctor’s admin assistant how they are doing.
In our busy lives, we rush from one scheduled event to the next and ignore the people we encounter in between meetings. Next time, stop to ask the restaurant workers how their day is going or thank your office neighbors for their cheery attitude.
7. Make a small basket of goodies for a stay-at-home parent you know.
Fill it with inspirational quotes and show them you care about them and their children and that you notice and appreciate their hard work as a stay-at-home parent.
8. Devote one day a month to volunteer work.
Try to give back to your community at least once a month. If your job involves community service, choose something different from your field. Volunteering at a homeless shelter helps me to see the big picture.
9. Give yourself one night per week to go out.
No strings attached, no networking; this night is for you to enjoy LIFE. Choose a fun event with friends or join a group that welcomes others with similar values to yours. You’ll notice that by giving yourself some time off, you will start to treat others more lovingly.
10. Go on a romance retreat.
When you take time to explore the world, you will be a better friend, partner, or spouse. You could meet your future lover, or new best friend or spend time nourishing the relationship with yourself.
Remember, unconditional love starts from within. Forgive yourself for past mistakes, surrender your regrets, and open yourself to the lovely surprises life offers. Once you practice unconditional love daily, you will find yourself cherishing the words “love is patient” in your everyday life.
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Wendy Patrick, JD, Ph.D., is a career prosecutor, author, and behavioral expert. She is the author of Red Flags: How to Spot Frenemies, Underminers, and Ruthless People and co-author of the revised version of the New York Times bestseller Reading People.