“Let all that you do be done in love.” – 1 Cor. 16:18
This month we’re focusing on what it means to be intentional. Intentional living. Intentional meal planning, and most importantly, intentional love. As we contemplate goals for how we want our year to unfold, it helps to reflect on whether we’re living out of intention, or out of habit. While familiar habits are easier and feel more comfortable, it may not give us the results we desire.
Living with intention helps us make positive changes, so we can live happier lives with less anxiety. When making lifestyle changes, ask yourself the following questions:
- “Am I living in line with my values?”
- “Will this bring me closer to my goals?”
- “Is this creating more or less demands on my time and energy?”
So what about “loving” with intention? How can we love less out of habit?
Intentional love takes a little introspection, or time to look inward. This helps to see personal contributions you’re making in your relationships. Being mindful also helps us be more present and aware of personal needs and the needs of others. Whether it’s an intimate relationship, friendship, or parental role, love requires emotional awareness. It’s like making a bank deposit. When we make positive emotional deposits through kind words and actions, we add value to the quality of our relationships. Communication plays a key role in this. Listening and freely expressing cares and concerns is essential in strengthening the bonds of love. How can we do this in today’s hurried world?intentional love
Making Meaningful Connections
With social media taking over today, we are lacking meaningful connections more than ever. Social media may provide some authentic friendships, yet cannot replace the benefit of real life interactions. Studies have shown face-to-face communication to be essential for human happiness, and social interaction as the key to longevity. As humans we are not meant to be isolated. Our well-being depends on social interaction.
One benefit of face-to-face interaction is the release of neurotransmitters. Simply giving someone a hand shake can release oxytocin (the love hormone), increasing your level of trust, reducing cortisol levels, and in turn lowering stress. Facebook may connect us to some degree, but it cannot provide the benefits of real life face-to-face connections. Therefore, to foster loving relationships, we must make intentional interactions. Take time out to meet a friend for coffee, or plan a date night. In all relationships, making meaningful connections is paramount to sustaining love.
Unfortunately, our attention toward one another is limited due to the constant interruptions from electronic distractions. The world has become too busy for its own good. We are left feeling detached and being taken further from the one thing that keeps us grounded, human connection. John Gottman and his wife Julie Gottman created the Gottman Institute to promote and support meaningful relationships between couples and families.
According to the Gottman Method, “the foundation for every good relationship is friendship.” It only makes sense then that we give our time and attention to our loved ones like we would when getting to know a friend. To know and understand one another, we must spend quality time together. We must intentionally pay attention.
Happy couples know each other well. They get to know one another by spending time together, so each person can hear and be heard. Self-love is an essential aspect to this. Only by fully knowing and accepting yourself can you fully and openly allow someone to see you, and you see them. The relationship you have with yourself will dictate your relationships with others. Taking time out for self-care to get to know yourself will help you to feel whole individually, and better able to give your best to others. We give our best when we feel our best!
Consider ways to make more meaningful connections, encouraging intentional love in your relationships.
Tips for Loving with Intention:
- Be Mindful – To be mindful is to be fully present. Presence with a loved one is the best present you can give! Face-to-face interaction promotes the release of oxytocin (the love hormone), fostering more meaningful connections and reducing stress.
- Prioritize Health – To give our best to others, we need to prioritize our own well-being, making health priority. Self-care will help you feel your best, so you’ll have enough energy to give to others.
- Maintain Manners – Speaking with kindness goes a long way in maintaining loving relationships. Simply saying “please” and “thank you” shows concern and appreciation for your loved ones,
- Set Boundaries – Time is precious. Make it a habit to set down your phone and turn off notifications during meal times, and carve out quality time to be with loved ones. Listening with your full attention will help your loved one to feel heard and more cared for, while helping to avoid misunderstandings.
- Set Intentions – Write out the way you would like to see your relationships. Questions like, “If we could be our best, what would we be thinking?… Saying?…And doing?” These kinds of questions will allow you to live out your intentions more fully.
Here at Makin Wellness we offer a holistic approach with consideration to the whole person, encompassing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Our services include professional counseling, life coaching, and nutritional counseling with the use of aromatherapy to promote harmony between mind and body. Contact us today if you are looking for support with being more intentional in your relationships!
About Makin Wellness
Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling.