Why were you put on Earth? Have you ever truly thought about this? Some may answer with a vocation or a relationship. But Dr. Brenda Wade believes the answer is the same for all – to grow one’s capacity to love.
Nationally recognized for her work as a relationship expert, author, and trainer, Dr. Wade is a psychologist with a passion for teaching people how to love. Those who benefit from her expertise learn to love themselves and others better.
Dr. Wade has 4 key ways that you can work to grow your own capacity to love:
- Look for patterns
Start by looking at the behavior patterns that limit your ability to grow your love. This will mean looking at both your current patterns and those from your past.
When looking back at your life, examine what patterns have been passed down in your family, even before you were born. No matter how hard people try, they pass on their own trauma to their children, and in turn their children do the same. These patterns help form your behaviors today.
Then look at your current behavior patterns both with yourself and with those closest to you. Are there newer patterns that may be limiting your potential to grow?
Once you recognize these patterns – both old and new – you can work to learn healthier ones. After all, you learned the first ones to begin with!
- Train your brain
Did you know that your brain is a programmable tool? That means it has the potential to change and grow. Add in that fact that with today’s technology, experts know more about the brain than ever before.
This means you have an amazing variety of tools and resources to train your brain.
To get started, look for opportunities to learn and grow. For example, if your husband refuses to clean up after himself, instead of repeating the same pattern of anger and frustration, work to change your reaction. Or perhaps you won’t look for a new job because you’ve convinced yourself you too inexperienced. It’s time to flip the narrative and go for it.
It may not happen right away, but with practice training your brain, your habits and patterns will start to shift.
Before shifting into the same negative, reactive patterns, try to pause. Dr. Wade believes the best way to do this is to commit to a practice that quiets your mind.
Meditation is particularly helpful for this. That’s because it teaches you to pause in a structured way. Centering prayer, journaling, and yoga are other examples.
When you spend time quieting your mind, you can train it to do the same when in conflict. Over time, you’ll learn to take a breath and move to a place of love and exploration with both yourself and others. Before long, your brain will no longer react to old patterns.
- Say thanks
The single greatest power we can tap into is gratefulness. That’s because it literally changes the brain. And the best part is, you can start practicing right now.
Keep a journal. Take time out of each day to name what you’re thankful for. Commit to regularly write a note of gratefulness to the people you love. Do it for yourself, too! In this way, you honor that you and your loved ones are human and are continuing to learn and grow. It’s a freeing and constructive experience.
You have an infinite capacity to evolve and to grow in love. When you tap into this capacity, you’ll be better to yourself and to others, too.