As you've heard and may know from experience, it's important to live a life full of love—but the fulfilling aspect of this sentiment is not always rooted in romance. In fact, psychologist, couples therapist, and author Debra Campbell explains the importance of finding not one—but three—great loves in life in a recent article for Mindbodygreen.
Campbell explains the premise of her discoveries in terms of how these three loves provide the framework for a meaningful life: "I've learned that when we clear away the distractions, it's clear that our life's journey is ultimately an epic treasure hunt for these three loves of our lives. They encompass what we seek, who we want to be, and how we want to feel."
So what are the three we're looking for? The love of self, love of purpose, and love of others. Only when these loves are realized and nurtured, as your main focus, will your life feel complete. To break these down further, Campbell explains what to look for in each type of love and how to find it now:
Love of Self
This is the most difficult love to foster, as we often look to someone else for satisfaction or fulfillment. However, you'll come to realize that nobody else can give your life meaning the way you can. Loving yourself means affording yourself the same kindness you extend to others, and treating yourself with respect and compassion in the face of negativity or failure. As Campbell puts it, "Ultimately, self-compassion or self-love springs from self-awareness. Knowing ourselves better means knowing how to take responsibility for our feelings and actions, how to stay with our values, and how to meet our own emotional needs."
Love of Purpose
Also known as "flow," love of purpose is rooted in discovering and sticking with your passion, which creates a harmony of existence. "Flow isn’t just a state where your joy and skillfulness shine; it’s even more than that," she explains. "Your sources of flow, be they art, sports, work, or any other pursuits that light you up, can be life-sustaining in difficult times." It's not always easy to find your passion and many people struggle with discovering this love for that reason, but the ongoing search is all part of this flow. It's important to keep your heart open and forge ahead, and when you find it, know that it will "guide you toward greater meaning, purpose, and joy."
Love of Others
This love is tied to the love of self, as it's only possible to have a meaningful relationship with someone else when you wholly know yourself. Mindfulness is the key to a successful relationship with another person because "in disagreements, instead of retreating into ourselves, the openhearted approach allows us to maintain perspective. It's not always about us. Mindfulness is the open door through which love flows between two people."
Check out Campbell's podcast "The Couch" to learn more about relationships and love, and share your thoughts on her three loves below!