Theoretically, there is no situation in which I can't be loving. It is possible to be loving while saying 'no' to an angry kid. It is possible to be loving while reminding someone of a chore they've forgotten to do. It's possible to be loving while I'm scared or upset.
In practice, I'm not doing everything in a loving way. I am working on it, and am so happy to be more loving every day.
One of the biggest ways that I'm working toward being more loving is by recognizing my own feelings. I tend to get mad and reactive when there are hard things happening in my heart, or my body, or my head. At those times, love doesn't flow through me easily. I have to stop and take care of my own feelings so that I'm clear enough to be gentle, to listen, and to be compassionate with other people.
When I realize that I'm cranky, I try to stop everything, especially talking. I breathe, feeling my lungs fill and empty, feeling my chest rise and fall. If I can, I just keep doing that for a while even though my 'habit energy' wants to rush off to check email or eat a cookie or argue. I notice my body, paying attention to how the upset is showing up in my body. Then I breathe some more, especially breathing into those places. Sometimes I put hands on my belly and heart and just hold gentle pressure while talking to my feelings like they're a baby (with deep gratitude to Thich Nhat Hanh who teaches this practice).
These practices really help me. If you have trouble being loving, try them. Please, let me know how it goes!
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness helps me find peace with my imperfect journey--being with myself as I truly am, loving my family as they are, and showing up for a messy world with openness and compassion.