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Everyone needs more love in this city in 2020

2019 is a volatile year for Hong Kong. In the past six months, Hong Kong is going through a turmoil that everyone in this city is affected. In this year end, are you planning to review your 2019 and evaluate the progress of achieving your yearly plan?  We may also start to contemplate about our new goals in 2020. However, due to the uncertainties in many aspects we may not be able to make many concrete plans for the coming year. In a conversation with my close friend recently, both of us agreed that the most important goal for 2020 may be to love ourselves and others more under the current unpredictable environment. To love more! what a great but abstract goal! 

In Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving, love is being conceptualised as an art. According to Fromm, love is an active instead of a passive affect. In fact, love is primarily giving, not receiving. If we want to love someone maturely, we unite with the other person while at the same time preserve our integrity and individuality. Love is a paradox, “two beings become one and yet remain two”.

Many people  in their adulthood are still looking for outside mother and father figures as attachment figures. Fromm suggested that a mature person becomes his or her own mother and own father. The person loves oneself unconditionally and guides oneself by his or her own principles and expectations.

Before we can love another person, we need to learn to love ourselves first. We need to cultivate love of our own life, personal growth, and internal freedom before we can give love to others.

How can we love ourselves and others more? Fromm described three requirements for practicing to love, they are discipline, concentration and patience. The practice of any form of art needs discipline. For instance, we may love ourselves more by starting to go to the gym regularly with discipline or we may love our partners more by spending quality time with them weekly.

Concentration is also necessary for loving ourselves and others. How many people find it quite difficult not to look at the phone constantly when being alone?  We need to learn to live more mindfully and be able to be alone with ourselves. For example, we can learn to practice mindfulness meditation to cultivate the ability to be alone with ourselves. When we are with our loved ones, we may try our best to put away our mobile phones and give our full attention to the others.

Patience is very precious in nowadays because most people value efficiency. In fact, patience is very important to the practice of love. Do we have the patience to listen to our loved ones when they have issues to share with us? Do we have the patience to wait for our loved ones’ gradual personal growth instead of forcing them to do what we expect them to do?

2020 is coming and it is expected that we will inevitably face lots of uncertainties. No matter how volatile the coming year is, ourselves and our loved ones are our most precious gifts in our lives. To love ourselves and our loved ones more is beyond dispute one of our best goals in 2020!

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