“We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.” John Lennon
Whether it’s our relationship with a significant other, our children, a business partner or our friends, love has to be nurtured. Too often, we go after the prize and forget that the gift is really in nurturing and maintaining the relationship – not in possessing it. We fall into a false sense of comfort thinking that the other person will simply understand that we’re too busy or prioritizing someone else. The truth is that every relationship that is important to us requires attention – and not just the attention WE think is essential, but the attention that is needed by our love. We might think we are paying attention to another by cooking for them or taking care of their basic needs, only later to find out what they needed was a half hour of our undivided attention. Or because we need physical attention, we mistakenly assume that our partner requires the same in order to feel loved. Getting to know and understand what fuels the people in our lives allows us to build strong relationships. If our relationships are not where we want them to be right now, all we need to ask ourselves is “where am I not looking after the people who are important to me?” Even if we believe that it’s the other person who isn’t nurturing our relationship – by asking ourselves that question might open the door for us to reach out and ask for what we need. It doesn’t mean that the other person will always reciprocate, but at least we can learn to voice our needs. It might even open us up to take the first step, allowing someone else to show up in unexpected ways. Nurturing our relationships also has the side benefit of making us feel good about ourselves – building self esteem, trust and, of course, love.
Weekly Path to Peace: Nurture the gift of love.
- Begin this week by taking stock of your important relationships. Are you currently nurturing the gift of love or are you merely leaving it hidden in the cupboard, assuming it will grow on its own. Allow yourself to notice, without judgment or blame, the condition of each of your close relationships.
- Dedicate this week to building healthy relationships with those you love. If you know you haven’t spent much time with your children, ask them what would make them feel like a priority this week. If you’ve been tough on your business partner, decide to listen to their concerns this week. Focus on doing one thing to connect and nurture every relationship in your life