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A few posts ago I listed several ways to intentionally love people.  It was entitled “Simple ways to love.”  They were easy, cost nothing (for the most part), and would have certain impact to varying degrees.  Now, I want to give you a way to love others, from those closest to you to those you barely know, that is a bit more complicated.  It’s a bit more “second level” if you will.  Frankly, I love…to love this way.

For some of you who know me, you may realize while reading this, “Hey, he did that to/for me!”  Please realize that it’s not a trick but a way to really show someone you love them without saying, “Hey look everyone, I’m loving this person!” or “Hey you, I REALLY love you…a lot.”  No.  It is a way to show someone that you care for them, that you’ve thought of them, that you want them to feel better than they do at the present moment.  Here’s how.

I also mentioned in an earlier post entitled “Emotional Needs Introduction” well, emotional needs.  If you haven’t figured it out by now I’m a big fan of knowing what emotional needs are, how to meet them, and how to identify them in others.  Here is an application of those needs.  Think of someone you want to love intentionally.  Maybe it’s a family member, friend, co-worker, or just someone you see on a regular basis.  The more you know about them the easier it will be and the greater chance you will have at being effective.

The first thing you want to do is find an emotional need for which they have a high need.  It may be one that they get a lot of but really need it all the time.  On the other hand it may be one that this person rarely gets met.  For example, let’s say that your mother always seeks attention.  She is always taking over a story and has to one up whoever is talking.  She always wears expensive clothes and tells you (and anyone else) how much they cost.  She probably has a high need for attention or perhaps respect.  Yes, this probably gets old and has most likely taken quite a toll on you.  For now though, you are wanting to love her (we’ll get to how to heal from those hurts another time).  Granted this is an obvious example but it is just that, an example.  To love her, you simply need to let her know how great she looks, how fancy she is, how great her story was, how her new dress is so cutting edge, etc. before she tells you.  Taken a step further, comment on your facebook page how you have the best dressed mom in the world.  In summary, give the person the emotional need when that they crave when they are not actively seeking it.

So often, people have unmet emotional needs so they reach out and grab them, they take them, they steal them to a degree.  That’s why your mom keeps telling the world how great she is.  The thing is, when we take to get a need met, it doesn’t fill that need.  Deep down, we know we took it, we know we didn’t get it, and it leaves us still needing more.  “Aren’t we just making it worse by feeding into it?” you ask.  No, you are actually helping her feel better by giving it to her before she actively seeks it.

What if you really don’t know a person well?  You only know some things about them?  Go ahead and take an educated guess as to what they may need.  You have friend who’s father is old school.  They work their rear end off and have their entire life.  They keep their mouth shut and are a man’s man, real old school.  Send him a hand written note that says something like, “In today’s day and age people can be very (whatever this person isn’t: fake, soft, showy, etc.).  I just wanted you to know that I think that you are a great dad to (whoever) and if more men were like you this world would be a better place.”  His level of respect will go through the roof.  He will feel like he’s on cloud nine.  If this feels awkward it’s because it’s intentional and no one really does it.

The different ways you can do this are endless really.  Many times I have told a younger person who has lost their father (or had no relationship with them) that I was proud of them.  Granted, you have to actually have something to be proud of but it shouldn’t be hard to find something.  I figured that it was probably a long time since they’ve heard that from an adult male if ever.  Each time it moved them to tears or near tears.  Mind you, it’s not manipulative if you really mean it.  It’s wise, Godly, and how we are meant to love. Again, if you’re not sure, take an educated guess, pray about it, go for it.  If you are super wrong on their needs you haven’t hurt them.  It just won’t have the impact that it could if you nailed it.

Lastly, you may never know the impact that it has on the person.  They may never tell you.  That’s ok, you’re doing it for them, not you.  So go, meet that emotional need, love that person.  Imagine if we all did each day at least once.  This world sure would be a better place wouldn’t it?

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