I make love lists. These are lists of things I love. My journals are filled with them. I’ll spend twenty minutes writing down all the things I love. My elephant lamp, butterflies, puffy clouds, naps, naps on the beach, wildflowers, walks in the woods, my family, my best friend, my boyfriend… you get the idea.
The thing is that when you spend time thinking about all the things you love, all the things you are grateful for, it changes the way you look at things. A lot of people focus on what bothers them when they are surrounded by so many wonderful things. At first it can be hard to come up with things you love. This is because you haven’t practiced it. Like anything the more you do it the easier it becomes.
We all love things. We may not realize it. We don’t spend a lot of time thinking about all the things we love. We probably should. When you know what you love it helps you choose to fill your life with these things. It’s easier to make the right decision because at a deeper level you know what you enjoy. I love to sleep. I love a soft breeze. I love long, hot baths. I love soft towels. I love to feel beautiful. I love a comfortable pair of shoes. I love deep conversations. I love dogs. I love adventure.
I can slip into making a list of the things I love quite easily now, but it wasn’t always like this. I use to do a lot of casual complaining. This is when you talk about things that you don’t like with other people and use it to connect. It’s actually rather prevalent in our society. We complain about our jobs, co-workers, kids, spouses, parents, politicians, we commiserate over bad customer service, or a horrible waitress, we complain about how dumb everyone is, when in fact we all have moments where we appear dumb to strangers.
It’s so common to complain that when someone doesn’t complain they get labelled as a “positive” person. Like they just don’t understand and have special rose tinted glasses. In fact, people will causally complain with others about how positive someone is, sometimes in front of the positive person. The thing that if you really talk to the positive person you’ll tend to find they have overcome some trauma or crisis in their life and they made a conscious choice. They chose to become a force for love. They understand all too well and they’ve earned those rose tinted glasses.
There are hundreds of things that I love. There may be hundreds of things that make me sad, but why would I spend time thinking of all those things, all this does is make me anxious. I’ve been down this path. It did not leave me a healthy, happy person or a more prepared for anything that occurred in my life. I did the whole casual complaining and it brought little benefit to my life. I may have connected with people, but it was an empty, unfulfilling connection.
I still sometimes find myself drawn into a conversation of casual complaining, but I have also set the intention to be aware of it. Often if a conversation wanders into the area of casual complaining I will redirect the conversation. I may very well ask a person to tell me about some of the things they love. It tends to throw people off, yet if they do play along we will often find something to connect over which we love. And that brightens my day, and hopefully theirs.
I’m all for brighter days. I’m all for encouraging people to shine. I’m all for a world that chooses love. I suggest you try it. You don’t need to write it down although that’s always fun. You can do it on your commute. You can do it with your whole family as you head to some event or sit on the back porch. Give it a try and see how it changes the energy in your life.