How do we love one another better?  In the pursuit to love more freely and completely, beware of these emotional hazards which will cause the love to stop flowing.  Can you find the theme among these 7 deadly sins?

Fear – Fear gets us stuck in the distress of present danger.  When facing a poisonous snake in the jungle the fear is real but when my thinking causes me to make up potentially disastrous events in my mind, the fear is imagined.  Are your fears real?  If not, they are just distractions sitting between you and the object of your love.  Being unafraid of circumstances or the future frees us up to love.  To love more purely, be unafraid.

Insecurity –  Insecurity comes from uncertainty or anxiety about ourselves.  When we function from an insecure or weak place, our ability to love others is compromised.  As we fret over what’s wrong with us, we’re unable to see what’s right with the other person.  Being secure in our strengths and understanding we also have weaknesses allows us to see others that way too.  To love more purely, be secure.

Judgmental Attitude – When we judge others, we put our opinions up against theirs and we always win.  This sets up an uneven exchange with others.  Judging becomes a barrier to love as our mind gets ‘made up’ about the other instead of allowing our difference to sit off to the side.  When we remain neutral about our differences, we can more easily see what is lovable about them.  To love more purely, be neutral about the differences.

Jealousy – If I am jealous, I put a wedge between you and me because I see you as better than me.  It may come out as a put down or nasty comment about you but it stems from thinking I'm inferior.  When I’m jealous of you, I’m unable to see your gifts clearly.  When we get rid of our jealousy, we can see what is admirable about the other person.  To love more purely, admire other's strengths.

Arrogance – This self-focused position believes that my thoughts and opinions are better than yours.  Sometimes this comes from a defensive position where I feel I must ‘one-up’ you in order to prove that I’m worth more than you.  Believing that my life experiences are superior to yours won’t allow me to be on an equal playing field and understand that I can learn from you.  Responding humbly to others sets aside our defensive posture and allows us to hear what the other person is saying.  To love more purely, be humble.

Frustration – Our expectations get in the way of seeing things as they really are.  I can get frustrated because things aren’t as I think they should be.  This causes to me push to get things back into place.   Maturely reacting to others allows each person to have their own thoughts and opinions without trying to control them.  To love more purely, be mature.

Lack of Confidence – Thinking negatively about ourselves and our abilities indicate a lack of confidence.  We don’t trust ourselves to cope with the situation at hand.  When we're preoccupied with how not good we are, the focus is on ourselves and not on the other.  Having self-confidence doesn’t mean that we think we can do everything, but is a realistic assessment of both our strengths and weaknesses.  Self-confidence allows us to focus on the other person instead of focusing on the negative aspects of ourselves.  To love more purely, be confident.

In each of these cases, we get tripped up when the primary focus is on ourselves.   Being mostly concerned with ourselves is directly opposed to love.  To love more purely we need to get rid of these 7 barriers.

We can’t love without taking our eyes off of ourselves and focusing on others.