How to Love Things You Don’t Like

Updated 04/25/19

Staying positive in the midst of adversity, maintaining equanimity in the face of challenges, keeping your head in the wake of chaos… These are wishful ideals the holidays conjure for many. As the year grows to a close, everything from work to family tends to reach an apex of intensity. We connected with life coach Ryan Weiss of Waking Up With Ryan to get a handle on how to stay grounded and upbeat in the presence of such stressors, and what he had to offer was a surprising lesson in love. Turns out you don’t have to like everything, but loving it anyway could make all the difference.

Keep scrolling to learn how.

When you find yourself in a situation that is leaving you stressed, unfulfilled, or otherwise disempowered, Weiss suggests taking a moment to meditate on the big picture. Not “liking” something is a state of resistance. Shift your focus. “Learning to love something means looking at what value the scenario holds for you. You can admit, ‘Yes, I don’t like it.’ The only way it will change is if you can learn to love it for the gift that it has for you. Start searching for the gift,” says Weiss. Ask questions.

“Where is this pushing me? What is this making me look at in my own life? What got me in this position in the first place? It is only in getting clear on these questions and finding these answers that we are able to make better decisions.”

Weiss cites breakups, illnesses, and family tension as the most common dislikes among clients. “You may not like your sister or your brother. You don’t have to like them,” he says. “Learning to love them means accepting them as they are.”

Without acceptance in the present, we are blind to opportunities for growth in the future. Rather than resent or reject the thing you dislike, seek to observe it with equanimity. “It is what it is. Wishing something to be different does nothing. If you can see it clearly and accept it as is, only then can you do something about it.”

There is a crucial distinction to be made between situations that are legitimately dangerous versus merely uncomfortable. If your health, wellness, or personal safety is being brought into question, “you terminate immediately.” If it is something that is more of an emotional challenge, you look for the opportunity. “There are many evaluations of love,” says Weiss. “Love isn’t always nice. Love can be fierce. Ultimately, professional life or personal relationships, it’s all the same. It’s all about our growth.

It is scary, and life is about taking leaps. Be afraid and act anyway.”

Big picture thinking can minimize drama and bring things into focus. “There is a longevity to love,” states Weiss. “Liking” something is a transient emotion based on circumstances. Love, on the other hand, is boundless and transcendent. “Liking something feels very quick. It is very impermanent. I can like you one minute and not like you the next minute. I like you when you are saying to me that I’m beautiful, and I don’t like you when you are not responding to my text messages,” he offers. If instead you can learn to place focus on the long haul, emotional patterns become more grounded.

We begin to respond versus react. “When the focus remains committed to loving no matter what is happening, the relationship is much healthier. I won’t be so up and down.” 

Realizing the intention behind our choices, allows us to move forward with a new sense of freedom. “If you have not done the work of seeing the value in a situation, you will carry that experience with you into your next endeavor, into your next relationship.” Transformation requires gratitude and self-awareness.

We teach people how to treat us. In this sense, people operate within the boundaries we have laid out for them. Weiss clarifies that loving something from a place of acceptance does not mean you have to stay with it. Uncomfortable situations oftentimes push us to take the very leap into the unknown that delivers us to our passion.

“Learning to love something even though you don’t like it doesn’t mean you have to keep it around. You can love something at a distance. Love has much more to do with where it sits within you,” says Weiss. By appreciating the gifts a situation has given you, you can move beyond it without attachment.

“Loving doesn’t mean continually submitting,” he says. “In fact, it is quite the opposite. Love says, ‘I believe in a world where we can all coexist in a beautiful way, in a passionate way, and in a creative way.’” If that is not the world you are experiencing, “Love would say, ‘No more.’ Love would say, ‘I’ve had enough.’ Love would say, ‘This has to change.’” In honoring our own worthiness, we being to recognize our entitlements, gifts, and true potential. Sometimes loving is letting go. In the apt words of Weiss, “If a scenario no longer holds you in the best way to be your best self, Love says, ‘Bye, Felicia!’”

What's not to love about that?

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Have a personal trick for staying positive? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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