In How to Love, Thich Nhat Hanh distills one of our strongest emotions down to four essentials: you can only love another when you feel true love for yourself; love is understanding; understanding brings compassion; deep listening and loving speech are key ways of showing our love.
FEEDING OUR LOVE
Each of us can learn the art of nourishing happiness and love. Everything needs food to live, and love. If we don’t know how to nourish our love, it withers. When we feed and support our own happiness, we are nourishing our ability to love. That’s why to love means the art of nourishing our happiness.
UNDERSTANDING IS THE NATURE OF LOVE
Understanding someone’s suffering is the best gift you can give another person. Understanding is love’s other name. If you don’t understand, you can’t love.
RECOGNIZING TRUE LOVE
True love gives us beauty, freshness, solidity, freedom, and peace. True love includes a feeling of deep joy that we are alive. If we don’t feel this way when we feel love, then it’s not true love.
REVERENCE IS THE NATURE OF OUR LOVE
There’s a tradition in Asia of treating your partner with the respect you would accord a guest. This is true even if you have been with your loved one for a long time. The other person always deserve your full respect. Reverence is the nature of our love.
LOVE IS EXPANSIVE
In the beginning of a relationship, your love may include only you and the other person. But if you practice true love, very soon that love will grow and include of all of us. The moment love stops growing, it begins to die. We can learn how to feed our love and help it continue to grow.
4 Elements of Love:
1. Loving Kindness. Being able to offer happiness. You can’t offer happiness until you have if for yourself.
2. Compassion. The capacity to understand the suffering in onself and in the other person.
3. Joy. The capacity to offer joy.
4. Equanimity. What happens to your loved one happens to you. What happens to you happens to your loved one.
2 More Elements:
Respect and Trust. When you love someone, you have to have trust and confidence. Love without trust is not yet love.