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‘Love’ – the verb – Part 1


While love seems to be a universally valued attribute, defining it in behavioural terms can be a challenge. Love isn’t an easy concept to understand, or is it? A Harvard researcher once wrote that love was a proven correlate to a happy existence. Love itself is the purest form of energy that connects any two human beings or even human to animal. It’s the embodiment of all that is good and perfect. {{more}}When we talk about love in the romantic sense, we are basically trying to embody something that is pure and perfect within two individuals who are neither perfect nor pure themselves.

While many of us believe we would like to be in love, we face many hurdles in taking the actions that allow love to flow freely throughout our lives and relationships. We have many ways of defending ourselves against love and can struggle to give and receive love with ease, openness and vulnerability.

With love being so closely connected to meaning and fulfillment, it is worthwhile for each of us, especially in this Christmas season, to define love as an action or series of actions we can take to bring us closer to the people we value. The expression of love includes feelings for the other person or persons that go beyond any selfishness or self-interest on the part of the person offering love. As such, love should nurture and have a positive effect on each person’s self-esteem and sense of well-being. Love never involves deception, because misleading another person damages his or her sense of reality.

So, how well do we meet these standards for being loving? When we think about a relationship or friendship that is meaningful to us, we have to ask:

o Do we behave in ways that nurture each other?

o Do we take actions to make the other person feel good?

o Do we consider what lights that person up, separate from our own interests?

Too often, we think of love as an almost passive state of being, as opposed to a conscious choice we make.

When we regard love as something we simply fall into, we can easily slip into routines with the person we value or lose a sense of respect. Instead, we view that person as a part of us and usually the idea that familiarity breeds contempt comes to life. We then fall into roles, rather than appreciating each other as individuals and experiencing the exciting, loving feelings that result.

It is time for us to show love unconditionally. Love should never be an act of manipulation. It is not a mark of ownership over another person, but the exact opposite – a genuine appreciation of a person as a separate individual. When we see a person this way, we allow ourselves to fully value them for who they are and for the happiness they bring to our lives. We are driven to be generous toward the person, to show compassion and kindness in a way that both they and the outside world would view as loving.

(To be continued)

Prepared by

Dr. Jozelle Miller