How to Build Your Love Muscle
I have to admit, my exercise routine rarely changes. Aside from minor alterations such as switching between weights and cardio, the sequence and types of exercises pretty much stay the same.
Two days after the New Year, my pattern was unexpectedly interrupted by a packed gym leaving me no choice but to try out the dreaded stair climber sitting.
Within minutes, I was huffing and puffing my way through the workout. Muscles I hadn’t felt (or should I say, I had been ignoring) were suddenly screaming for my attention.
Love is similar. When we go about our day running the same old scripts, routines, and patterns, our love muscle never really gets a chance to flex itself. This is because we put conditions on love.
We see it as something determined by something outside of us. The bottom line is, love is here. We already have it. We just might need to exercise it in a new way.
Working Out Love
It turns out love and muscles are made up of the same thing: energy.
Muscles give us the ability to become physically stronger while love, when exercised, provides emotional strength, resiliency, and stability.
The cool part is, just like our muscles are connected to tendons and bones, loveconnects us to our sensations and spirit. Here are a few exercises worth putting into motion.
One of the best ways to build our love muscle is to play. Spontaneous play is a natural stress reliever. You see, play invokes lightness, laughter, and fun. It takes about 10 to 12 muscles to make a smile. Not only does smiling make us more attractive, elevating our overall mood, it also increases the chances of making a love connection.
Tip: The key is, play is about engaging an activity for enjoyment and pleasure. Therefore, play for one person might look very different for another. When we do what feels right and allow ourselves to enjoy fully what it is we are doing, we are in a state of playfulness.
It’s hard to strengthen something we don’t believe in. If we believe love is a waste of time, difficult, or fleeting, then similar to repeating the same workout, love may never get a chance to fully reveal itself. Acknowledging counterproductive beliefs (e.g., love only happens when you are pretty or rich) while instilling new ones (love is a universal energy within and around us) builds your love muscle like nothing else.
Tip: Breathing increases believing. This is because our beliefs are a collection of feelings and interpretations. Nothing changes the way we feel and view the world like breathing. Conscious breathing allows this to happen. Taking an inhale through our nose (while sitting up tall) while inflating our abdomen up like a balloon, and exhaling through our nose while drawing our navel in, allows us to breath more efficiently. Exercises like observing our breath moving in and out of our nostrils or drawing our awareness to our heart center while breathing are additional ways to strengthen and stretch love.
To build that love muscle nice and strong, we have to learn how to receive. Here is the thing. When it comes to fostering love, it is a two-way street, meaning that giving (similar to me doing the same exercise routine) isn’t the only way to strengthen love. We must be willing to step it up now and then with opportunities to receive. To receive means to take in the love vibration, to feel, to acknowledge, and to embrace its presence.
Tip: One way to do this is to increase the number of pauses in our day. Brief pauses allow us to take in both our inner and outer surroundings. Moments such as watching a sunrise or sunset, absorbing the smile of a stranger, or the hug of a loved one will do the trick.
Sure, the stair climber may have increased my soreness the next day. Love, at times, can also identify sore spots. It is easy to take these experiences personally. However, without love we cannot fully grow, and some of this growth can be uncomfortable. Keeping our love muscle strong allows us to move through these experiences with gratitude, grace, and ease.
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