LOVE 201: How to Love,  The University of Love

Celebrate

Have you ever been to a ball game? You walked in and took your seat, maybe munched on popcorn or a hot dog, and when your team scored, you leapt to your feet and screamed your head off as suddenly as if a hill of fire ants just erupted under your chair.

YOU didn’t score any points. YOU didn’t train for years to prepare for this moment. YOU didn’t run back and forth, dripping with sweat, struggling against the opposing team.

Yet even so, the victory is YOURS as much as theirs. You have every right to cheer! That’s what sports are all about.

There would be no reason for the players to do what they do without fans to cheer them on.

Now apply this to your love life, because that is exactly what love does. It celebrates the wins of other people.

When was the last time you celebrated someone else’s success?

You don’t need to be in love to cheer for someone. Just as you can cheer for any ball team you choose, you can cheer for any other person you want.

(This doesn’t give you permission to stalk them and become a creeper, of course. Regular people don’t put themselves on display the way sports teams do.)

When you take joy in someone else’s win, you increase the amount of love and joy in the world. In love, everybody wins.

SLIDER

Where do you fall on the Celebrates love slider?

1: you are a spoiled brat, a poor loser, and a poor winner. You don’t care about anyone else’s win and feel like their success diminishes you. You throw tantrums when you lose, curse a lot, and leave everyone else staring at you in shock with their mouths agape. 3: you are a sociopath or a narcissist. If it’s not your victory, then you couldn’t care less. 5: you’re competitive and love to win and talk smack. Even when someone beats you or your team, you’re reluctant to admit it. You enjoy seeing others lose as much as win. 7: you’re a pretty good sport, and when someone else wins, you can shake hands and say, “Good game” without getting an ulcer. If the other team makes a spectacular play, you don’t mind admitting that you’re impressed. 10: there’s no such thing as an “other team.” You’re on everyone’s side. Sure, you can play competitively and it’s fun to win, but it’s truly “not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.”

FOR DISCUSSION

Why DON’T we automatically celebrate each others’ wins more often? What feelings get in the way?

How do you feel when you know others are cheering for you and on your side? How does that change your behavior?

HOMEWORK

Look around and count how many victories by other people you can observe in 24 hours. Count any success you want – from as large as getting a raise at work to as small as being allowed to merge in traffic.

Notice how celebrating others’ successes changes how you feel. Notice how it changes the way others feel about you.

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