The older I get, and the more times I try, the harder it gets to fall in love. I can't think of a better reason to trudge through this life than LOVE (maybe food) - but it's complicated; the more energy you exert towards work, health, socializing, and personal time - the harder it is to let someone love you and to reciprocate it.

Here are some things I keep in mind when trying to grow love. (you're either growing or you're not)

1. How can I love better? Not "what do I need to do to get what I feel like I deserve from the other person." It's easy to confuse doing things for a result and doing things because you care. Everyday ask yourself "What can I do to be a better partner?" 

2. Be patient. Love takes time. It's tempting to just throw your life away for someone else and get obsessed, make their priorities your priorities; but they fell in love with who you are, not with themselves. Stay focused on your personal goals and share your life with someone, don't give your life to them.

3. Pause. Not everything that happens in a relationship is because of you or even about you. When you worry or stress or get frustrated with love or your lover's behavior, pause. Maybe this has nothing to do with you. Most likely we're projecting our worries onto a very small situation and blowing it out of proportion. Pause, think about the possibilities, and ask respectful questions if you can't just let it pass.

4. Say What You Mean. I can't stress this enough. If you're in a relationship with someone, there's no time for games. Don't read a text and not respond right away to prove a point. Be honest, be open, establish boundaries and talk about your love - don't just assume it'll all work out.    

5. LOVE BIG. Go hard or go home, if you want something, work for it. Tell them how you feel, and ask yourself "What can I do to LOVE you the best that I can."