Articles January 1, 2014

How to Be an Adult in Love

David Richo

"This little life of ours rests between a longing to be loved and a calling to show love."

Giving and receiving love can become the primary focus of our life, as a way of fully experiencing our human-ness, and leading eventually to a sense of spiritual fulfillment.

1. I do my best to keep my word, honor commitments, and follow through on the tasks I agree to do.

2. I am making every effort to abide by standards of rigorous honesty and respect in all my dealings no matter how others act toward me.

3. I forego taking advantage of anyone because of his or her ignorance, misfortune, or financial straits. My question is not “What can I get away with?” but “What is the right thing to do?” If I fall down in this, I can admit it, make amends, and resolve to act differently next time. Now I apologize more easily and willingly when necessary.

4. If someone is overly generous toward me or has an exaggerated sense of obligation to me, I do not want to exploit his or her lack of boundaries. Instead, I want to express appreciation and work out an equitable way of interacting.

5. I keep examining my conscience with true candor. I take searching inventories not only about how I may have harmed others, but also about how I may not have activated my potentials or shared my gifts, how I may still be holding on to prejudices or the will to retaliate, how I may still not be as loving, inclusive, and open as I can be.

6. I welcome well-intentioned feedback that shows me where I am less caring, where less tolerant, where less open about my real feelings than I can be. When I am shown up as a pretender or called on being mean or inauthentic, I am not defensive but take it as information about what I have to work on. I appreciate positive feedback also.

7. I am letting go of the need to keep up appearances or to project a false or overly-impressive self-image. Now I want to appear as I am, without pretense and no matter how unflattering. I do not want to use any charms of body, word, or mind to trick or deceive others. Being loved for who I am has become more important—and more interesting—than upholding the ever-shaky status of my ego.

8. As I say yes to the reality of who I am, with pride in my gifts and unabashed awareness of my limits, I notice that I can love myself and that I become more lovable too.

9. I now measure my success by how much steadfast love I have, not by how much I have in the bank, how much I achieve in business, how much status I have attained, or how much power I have over others. The central—and most exhilarating—focus of my life is to show my love in the style that is uniquely mine, in every way I can, here and now, always and everywhere, no one excluded.

10. I never give up on believing that everyone has an innate goodness and that being loved can contribute to bringing it out.

Excerpted from How to Be an Adult in Love: Letting Love in Safely and Showing It Recklessly by David Richo

David Richo

David Richo