This article is twenty-seventh in a multi-part series that adapts and excerpts my entire book, The Coach Within: 28 Big Ideas for Engaging the Power of Your Own Wisdom, Creativity, and Choices* (Everything Goes Media, 2017).
“We can only learn to love by loving.” — Iris Murdoch
I love this quote in its presumption of love as an action, not a feeling — its assumption that we can expand love and our understanding of it by doing more of it. Murdoch’s sentiment also highlights the transformative power of taking action (big idea 20), of learning and gaining deeper access to something by practicing it. We learn to love by loving. We learn to think by thinking. We learn to make better choices by making better choices. We learn to coach ourselves by coaching ourselves.
Whom and what do you love? Picture yourself loving those people and things more, relishing and nurturing that love, enjoying it more, appreciating it more. How does that love and these relationships evolve for you? Do they increase in their complexity? Simplicity? Profundity? Fullness? Vibrancy? Does your love become more intimate? More solid? More delightful? Get curious (big idea 18). Put your possibility thinking (big idea 15) and idealizing (big idea 16) to work for you.
Now, onto a key coaching application of loving: loving yourself. Just imagine learning to love yourself more by actually loving yourself! What does that mean and what could it mean for you? Within the context of coaching and all that you’ve learned while working through this series, what do you think opens up for you as you learn more about loving yourself and become better at it?
Your Coaching To-Do’s
⎕ This lesson is all in the practice. You are going to delve into loving, learning it better by doing more of it: first with a special person, then with something else for which you have supreme affection, and finally, with yourself. ⎕ So, who is it that you would like to love better? Today you are going to learn to love them better by…loving them. Instruction: Love them. At the end of the day, contemplate what you learned. ⎕ Now, what is something else you love (a hobby, an idea, an experience, a job function, whatever) and which love you’d like to expand upon and know in greater depth? Today, experience yourself loving that thing, enjoying it, appreciating your love of it, and developing that predilection further. Again, what did you learn from loving? ⎕ Same thing, but this time it’s all you. Find multiple ways to love yourself today. In your end-of-the-day assessment, what comes to mind? What worked? What did you learn about yourself? About loving yourself? Where will you take this concept tomorrow?