Learn To Love People The Way They Need To Be Loved
It was an innocent, well-meaning, beautifully curated post that I saw on Instagram that said, “Love others how you want to be loved.”
And while I know it was rooted in good intentions; I think it’s going about love in the wrong way.
I’m not saying to stop treating treat others with kindness. I’m not saying to stop carrying hearts gently, and with love and care. I’m not saying to be careless with the tenderness of the human spirit.
I’m just suggesting a shift of mindset. For you see, just as we all don’t learn the same way, we don’t feel loved the same way, either.
To feel loved is not a one size fits all situation.
To show love is not a one size fits all situation, either.
Love and loving, and what it means to each soul on this planet, have many meanings.
While you feel loved by feeling embraced physically, someone else might not. They might need something else — like conversations that last until dawn, or a new adventure to share, or long walks together around the neighborhood where you can talk and be together.
Some people might need different things on different days, and that’s ok, too.
How we receive love can be different for a myriad of ways.
Maybe we push things aside because of repressed trauma — or maybe we’re still working our way to the other side of that pain. Maybe we love talking and communicating because we come from roots that have been cultivated with an abundance of joy. Maybe it’s not the gift that means so much to us, but it’s the thought of our beloved picking something for us, hoping it will bring us joy, that means so much.
Maybe it’s something entirely different.
And that’s ok.
But perhaps it’s time to dig a little deeper into what those you love need to feel loved.
And not solely your spouse or partner — your children, your parents, your friends, your coworkers — the countless people you have in your circle, they all need love, too.
Ask what someone needs.
Ask what they are feeling.
Pay attention to what makes them light up, and what makes them shut down.
Give them your love, how and when they need it.
Previously published on Thought Catalog, here.