By April Dye, US Daily Review, Contributor
You and I effect the lives we touch. We have the capacity to bring hate, tears and pain or love, laughter and encouragement to those we come in contact with. I really noticed a change in my life when I started to realize the impact we have on each other’s lives. I decided I wanted to effect people in a positive way – I call it walking in love.
First and foremost, in our desire to walk in love, we need to take care of ourselves: spiritually, mentally and physically. We cannot truly treat others with love if we don’t love ourselves first. When we love ourselves, it filters down to and through others.
Have you ever met someone who doesn’t love themselves? They may be depressed and have nothing positive to say. Or maybe they seem perfect but think they can’t do anything right. They may think of themselves as ugly and useless. I have seen several examples of people who do not love themselves. I used to be one. I had this feeling of needing to be accepted and wanted. There was an absence of something that I didn’t know I needed. I was the type of person that never wanted anyone mad at me, I didn’t want to hear “no” from my parents. Not because I was scared of them, just the word, it was rejection. When I got to high school I dated some but never really had that “love” that I was seeking. I had thought I was in love but that person didn’t have the same feelings for me, so there again was that feeling of rejection. I think out of desperation I found the first guy that pampered me and attached myself to him. I was going to be and do whatever I needed to do for this relationship to work. I started doing things that were not me because he did them and I wanted to be with him. We got married and at some point during that year, I just couldn’t keep up the charade. My life was getting darker and darker. I was scared everyday that if I wasn’t what he wanted me to be and do what he wanted me to, he would leave me. Well, guess what? He left me anyway. I did not love myself enough to be me and think that was good enough. After 7 years of learning what I needed and what I didn’t have to settle for and prayer I found my best friend; he loves me for who I am, quirks and all, and doesn’t want me to be anybody but me.
We need to remember that the “love walk” starts at home. Now our duty after taking care of ourselves, is to take care of our families. Spouses, we need to listen to one another. Encourage each other. Listen to what the other person is saying. Put the other first. We need to tell our spouses we love them everyday. We need to show them respect everyday. We should never be-little them to make ourselves look or feel better. We need to look for and praise the things they do instead of complain about the things they don’t. Just like the old saying goes “you catch more bees with honey than with vinegar”. We should be in the mindset that we are still dating. Don’t let the humdrum of life let you forget why you fell in love. Wives, give your husbands some space when they get home from work before you and the kids bombard him for his attention. Give him a smile, a kiss and … time. Make him feel that he gets some pampering just like you give the kids. And husbands, listen when your wife is talking, respond so she knows you are listening. Hold her hand or kiss her without expectations. You already know how I feel about our children but a reminder that we need to show them love with hugs, and kisses and praise but we also need to set boundaries and let them know what they are. We need to be consistent and follow through.
Remember that when we leave our homes we should show love to those we encounter throughout our day. Everyone can have a bad day. So when we put ourselves in other people’s shoes we can more easily have empathy and compassion towards them – the express cashier in the not-so-express line, the waitress who got our order wrong, the car driving 30 miles an hour in a 50 mile an hour zone; we should be edifying each other instead of tearing each other down. We should be nice to each other instead of picking out flaws.
Will our lives ever be a utopia? Not in this lifetime. But we can try and make it at least easier to coexist. My life has gotten so less dramatic when I decided to put myself in other people’s shoes.
“Smile it improves face value”, “Don’t worry be happy” and “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” These don’t have to be just sayings; they should be the way we live our lives.
April Dye is a wife and mother of two. You can follow her at clardye.blogspot.com.