Every day, people ask one of the – at once - most painful and hopeful questions there is: “how can I find – or recover love”?
But the question is the wrong one.
We don’t “find” love, the way you find coins under a sofa cushion. It doesn’t come from the outside.
And we don’t pull a string and make it magically re-appear in a relationship that has dried up.
The real question, when it comes to intimacy is “how can I inspire love?”
And we inspire it – every day and every night - by doing three specific things and each begins with setting a vision, and then following through with commitments that make that vision come into reality. We first “dream it alive” – and then we wake up to our highest vision with the following three processes:
- How to be inspired in your life
- How to be inspired “with” your partner
- How to be inspired “for” your partner
Let’s look at how this works…
How to Inspire Love Part 1: You Choose Day by Day To Live an Inspired Life
In the dating world, both men and women focus on “finding” the right partner, where they should first focus on “being” the right partner.
What electrifies women about men is when a man is on a path of growth, pursuing a vision of his life with integrity, fierceness and devotion. What electrifies men about women is their radiance, the joy that ripples through and out from their bodies when they connected to their love of self, love of others and love of life. As I often say, “feminine joy is masculine aphrodisiac.”
So for both men and women, the first step in attracting (not “finding”) a dream partner is to make sure that you are living your own dream with as much dedication as you can.
That means you are growing, curious and open and enthusiastic in all areas of your life. Ask yourself, are you inspired by your emotional growth right now? What about your intellectual and physical growth? Are you inspired there? What about spiritually, socially, creatively? The more you wake up each of these areas, the more naturally radiant and attractive you become – especially to someone who is also inspired by how they are living their own lives.
Does this work for couples who have been together a while as well? Often, yes. We are initially “attracted” to each other, but what keeps us together is that we admire, respect and are inspired by our partners. But what inspired us in the beginning may not inspire so much now. And let’s be real – what’s inspiring about a 25 year old is not the same thing as what inspires us about a 35 or 45 or 55 year old. If we don’t vision, grow and stay inspired about our own life, year by year, why should we expect our partner to be inspired by us?
This is why we must continually stay open to our dreams, and to actively vision and then live into our most inspired life.
How to Inspire Love Part 2: You Learn the Skills to Become Inspired “With” Your Partner.
It seems crazy, doesn’t it?
What so often begins with tender kisses and maybe wedding bells, ends in mutual attack, recrimination, frustration and tears. Why does that happen?
In my experience, it’s simply because people don’t put their attention on learning the skills of how to be an “inspiring partner.”
An inspiring partner literally surprises and amazes their partner by (1) cultivating good will in a skillful manner and (2) navigating emotional triggers, difference and conflict with the empathic and “active” listening skills of a therapist and the negotiating skills of a master diplomat.
The good news is that these skills are easily learnable. When you know how to validate your partner’s reality before you question or contradict it, you are already halfway there.
Now, add onto that the skill to make “behavior requests” without triggering wounds, how to separate emotion from a task that needs to occur, how to create alternative options to seemingly insoluble problems (I like to teach the techniques of the Harvard Negotiation Project) – well then, your partner will stare at you in wonder, awe and gratitude that you are unlike anyone they've ever met: wise, kind, empathic, patient, understanding, calm, and in service to a greater vision of love, and not ego.
By learning and living these skills, you model the kinds of behavior that your partner will then naturally start mirroring back to you – inspiring them to increase their own ability to “dream it alive” their highest and most loving selves.
How to Inspire Love Part 3: You Learn the Skills to Be Inspired “For” Your Partner.
What is love?
Love is desiring the good, self-expression and happiness of another person as much or more than you do your own.
And sure, we all have the “intention” of doing that when we get into relationship, but something funny creeps in. Well, okay not so funny…
We begin to want to shape our partners to fit our own desires, anxieties, wounds, needs and narratives.
I understand why we do that. Trying to shape the world to fit our perceived safety is a normal human activity. It’s why we make roads in straight lines, fences around our yards, locks on our doors and cover our privates in public, among other things.
But that aint love.
The third quality of being a genuinely inspired partner is to – with deep empathy and curiosity and awareness (especially of your own fears) – support your partner within the direction of HIS or HER life narrative, not yours.
That means if they need to refresh their souls, rediscover their path or creativity, undertake a course of study or mastery or revision their life so that they are living an inspired life from the inside out – you support them.
This is perhaps the greatest gift of love, because here, you may have to not get your way in both small and big ways.
But that is love.
And when you learn the skills for each of these qualities, you inspire love – from the first second you meet, right into relationship, and if you so choose, into the sweetness of age.