Understanding Love – 14 Timeless Traits of the Most Powerful Emotion
We were designed for relationships, and there is nothing more comforting than knowing we are loved and wanted by others, and nothing more fulfilling then loving others in turn. While some people let us down, the most meaningful form of love is that which has survived serious testing. It is in the midst of challenging behaviour and external trials that love can make a difference.
Over the next four weeks we will be focusing on understanding love, beginning today with a look at one of the most well known passage about love: one written thousands of years ago by St Paul. He outlined the following as traits of love:
1. Love is Patient
Being patient means allowing for the fact that no one’s perfect, and that not everyone is going to change over night. When we expect people to learn quickly or to stop failing, we set ourselves up for disappointment and frustration while making the other person feel inadequate and judged. Being patient, however, means we love the person where they’re at without becoming annoyed or condemning.
2. Love is Kind
Showing love means being friendly, generous and considerate of other people and their feelings. Kind love also encourages others, reduces tension, hugs the hurting and uplifts the despairing.
3. Love Does Not Envy
Instead of resenting others for their success, envying what we don’t have, comparing our blessings with others and becoming bitter about other people’s achievements, loving someone means being happy for them when they move forward.
4. Love Does Not Boast
We shouldn’t show love to someone only to receive praise and recognition. Someone exhibiting true love would love another even if no one saw or appreciated it. It’s also important not to brag and boast about ourselves, as that assumes we are superior to others. While it is okay to take satisfaction in our achievements, doing so by making others feel small is not love.
5. Love is Not Proud
To show real love we must be humble. This doesn’t mean having a low opinion of ourselves, but simply refusing to be arrogant or selfish, both of which stops us from loving others in a meaningful way.
6. Love it Not Rude
Simple manners are important when it comes to love. This means being polite and not speaking tersely or with harsh words, and being considerate towards another person’s situation or feelings.
7. Love is Not Self-Seeking
We shouldn’t place our own needs before others or give of ourselves simply to get something back. Real love it isn’t motivated by reward or what benefits we can get, but how we can benefit others.
8. Love is Not Easily Angered
Loving someone also means not getting quickly annoyed and upset every time another falls short. This doesn’t mean we never have a right to be angry – when a serious offence is committed, then healthy anger can be expected, even necessary – but it does mean that where possible, minor offenses are let go without crushing the other person.
9. Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs
One of the hardest aspects of love is forgiveness, something we will explore further over the next few weeks. For now, this means not keeping an account of everything someone does against us, not only for the sake of the other person and the relationship, but also to stop us from becoming filled with bitterness and resentment.
10. Love Does Not Delight in Evil but Rejoices with the Truth
Loving someone means not rejoicing at someone’s failings or taking pleasure in hurting them. It does means being truthful and open, which in turn helps the relationship to be free of hurt, miscommunication, deceit and lies.
11. Love Always Protects
When we truly love someone, it is often our instinct to want to keep them from harm. We are moved to defend, shield and watch over them, to stand up for them, and to save them from what hurt we can, even if it means protecting them from themselves.
12. Love Always Trusts
Loving someone means assuming the best and having faith in their reliability, abilities and strengths. While people, even those closet too us, will inevitably hurt us and let us down, trusting them means knowing and believing in their heart.
13. Love Always Hopes
We show love to someone when we don’t give up on them, no matter how difficult and challenging they may be acting. This doesn’t necessarily mean we always hold hope for the relationship – you can have hope for what a person has to offer even if you no longer believe that a relationship with them is going to work – but it does mean giving people room to be themselves.
14. Love Always Perseveres
Love always makes a difference, but it must have perseverance to do so. Proof of long-term commitment, even in the face of negativity and challenges, is what convinces someone they are truly loved. It can be challenging not to give up when someone responds to your love defensively, but remember that by persevering you can assist in breaking down negative barriers in their life.
By exploring these timeless traits of love we can better understand the important foundations of love, and thereby refine our ability to show love in a meaningful way to those who need it most.