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If You Want To Be Loved…

December 12, 2011

One of my favorite quotes of all time is from the 1st Century Roman poet, Ovid:  If you want to be loved, be lovable. I actually have a necklace with a pendant that has this quotation inscribed in Hebrew. When someone notices the Hebrew inscription and inquires about the meaning, my response always invokes a smile and a nod of understanding. It is such a simple truth. And, it is a truth that needs to be remembered – particularly during holiday season when family gatherings are expected and sometimes dreaded.

As a child, I was often perplexed by the behavior of some of the adults in my family whenever there was a get-together. Most would act pleasantly, but there was always the odd one or two who seemed loaded for bear.  They would use the occasion to let others know their displeasure over something, make snide comments, have a “chip on their shoulder” and/or try to make everyone else miserable because they were. The irony of the behavior of these folks is that, in reality, I sensed that what they really wanted was to be accepted and loved – even though they were acting in ways that were neither acceptable nor loving.

So, as I grew up – being the brilliant child that I was – it dawned on me that the best way to have others accept and like/love you was to be likeable and loving. As I became aware of the people whom others admired and looked up to in my family, I realized that this is how they behaved.

Now, I know that I’m not always likeable or loving to everyone – who is? But I do know – I have learned – that your chances of being loved/admired/liked by most people increases when you act lovingly towards them. This concept is especially important to remember when interacting with in-laws, siblings and other family members with whom having a loving relationship can be wrought with challenges and pitfalls. So, this holiday season, resolve to put aside your defenses, make an intellectual decision to enjoy the family gathering and act lovingly toward everyone you encounter. And, if you behave this way every time you are around these same folks, you just might be surprised at the results. After all, for most people, it is hard for to be nasty/mean/sarcastic/defensive toward someone who treats them well.

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