I used to hang out with lots of cynics, or for the lack of a better word haters. These friends, myself included, delighted in coming together and bonding over the things they don’t like. Gossip, venting, complaining, and commiserating can be addicting. Like a drug, the “high” of negativity can feel really fun and good – but the aftermath can leave you feeling gross and hungover. So these friendships I had were rooted in negativity – they were toxic and eventually fell apart.
Gossip can be addicting. I would find myself talking trash, complaining, and venting to my nearest and dearest. I was doing myself and the people I love a disservice by not giving them the side of me that shines. I finally realized I was both the problem and solution. It became clear that it is not only in my power but that it is my responsibility to be a lover. But it takes discipline, daily, to not fall into the easy routine of negativity. Being a lover takes way more courage and effort than being a hater. Here’s how I (try to) do it:
• SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LOVERS
I’m not saying my friends and family can’t come to me when things are a total shit show and they need my support… but I’d rather more often bond over the things that delight and lift us up versus the things that make us miserable. That said, like a boomerang, what you put out there is what you’ll get back. So that takes us to the next point below.
• BE A LOVER
Get this: it’s in your power to cultivate and attitude of love in your relationships, conversations, and interactions. This means you’re choosing to show up in the world as a lover. Here are a few ideas on how to be a lover:
1. Be explicit and enthusiastic about what you love. Make it a point to verbalize, blog, or simply be mindful about what you love. Every day. Communicating what you love can feel vulnerable and doesn’t always come easy. Need help? Use your senses. What do you love to smell, hear, and taste? What do you love to read? What do you love to feel? Take notes of what delights you and tell someone about it.
2. A love script for the creative entrepreneur. I love it when creatives tell me what they’re really good at. So here’s a lover’s script for introducing yourself as a professional creative: “Hi. My name is _____. I do ____(A)____ for ____(B)____, but what I really love is ____(C)____.”
Blank A: This is what you do that you get paid for. So it could be graphic design, web coding, photography, etc.
Blank B: This is your dream customer. Think of your favorite client to date and use a few words to describe how your professional interaction felt.
Blank C: This is what you really love doing (even if it doesn’t quite pay the bills yet or is even a non-work-related hobby). Blank C is what makes you a lover instead of just a commodity.
3. Ask other people what they love. Ask your creative buddies what they love about their job or a project they’re working on. Ask your partner what they loved about their day. Ask your friends what makes them feel the most in love with life.
So to conclude this post – tell me what you really love in the comments.
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