07/07/2010 04:54 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

The Difference Between Love and Loving

It is hard to admit but love and loving are not the same thing, and most of us are naturally good at "love" but struggle more with "loving." To love someone is to feel that deep connection, affection, and even sense of completion with someone. We can love friends, family, lovers, coworkers, pets and more. Love is an inexplicable feeling that implies a quality of connection and enduring devotion, though not implicitly exclusively. For example, you might say, "I don't always like them, but I'll love my family no matter what and for the rest of my days." Or you might say, "I haven't spoken to my best friend from high school in ten years, but I still love her." Some unfortunate times, we realize that we love our spouse, but may never really like them again.

Loving on the other hand is the active expression of love-rooted qualities in a relationship. People love others and can be cruel, critical, or jealous - but when you are being loving, then there is no room for such actions or feelings. To be loving requires no psychotherapy nor workshops or CDs. Being loving is simple and we all know what it means. Children are loving, pets are loving, people falling in love are loving, a parent to a newborn is usually loving - the rest of us... well...

To be loving is to be kind, forgiving, non-judgmental, accepting, affirming, respecting, proactive, and open. You might make it your task once a week, or even for one week to keep the idea and practice of being loving top of mind. Write a reminder on recipe cards and place them everywhere: Are you being loving with your thoughts? Are you being loving with your attitudes? Are you being loving to those you care about, and what about strangers? Are your decisions and communications loving? Let "loving" be your meditation, your prayer, intent, goal and mantra for one week and see how it changes your perspectives.

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