A Course in Miracles teaches us that the world we see is a reflection of our own inner state. It also teaches that giving and receiving are the same thing, because we are the source of our own experience, so when we give to others we are really giving to ourselves.

So I invite you to ask yourself the question, ‘What would love do?’ Focus on what giving love looks like for you and where you might be withholding love from yourself and others.

When we withhold love from anyone, we are withholding love from ourselves. Ultimately, this never feels good. That doesn’t mean we put ourselves in situations that can hurt us but it means we check if there is any part of us we are purposefully holding back. Are we fearful of not being accepted, of being rejected? Are we “paying someone back” for their seemingly bad behaviour? Are we scared of being too much, or not enough, to be found lacking in some way or causing pain to someone? Giving love doesn’t need to look like anything in the physical world, it can be the way you feel and think about yourself and others. Maybe that is the most loving thing you can offer in a particular situation where contact might not be appropriate or safe.

Choosing to give love and kindness freely and without expectation is a challenging practice but also a very rewarding one. Whenever I notice I’m holding back I ask, ‘what would love do?’ If I was being kind to myself and others in this situation, what would that look like? If I can’t give freely without expecting something in return I focus on being kind to myself. I’m still learning this practice every day.

Expecting something in return wanders in to the realms of manipulation where you’re actually trying to receive rather than give. You receive automatically when you give. It may not be linear or come from where you thought, but if you can give freely, you will receive love automatically. It’s cyclical and can never truly leave you.