Love—The Gift Anyone Can Give!
Love allows you to open yourself completely to another, and can join two spirits to love each other as much as they love themselves.
The ability to love is one of humanity’s highest achievements… and one of its greatest mysteries.
But there are a few things we should know about love.
Love is not an object that can be presented from one person to another—although it can be the ultimate gift. It is not a thing you can hold in your hand—even though there are many ways it can take shape and many forms it can assume. Few can identify, exactly, when love comes but everybody knows when it is gone.
Love is a behavior.
Yes, love is an action—and to thrive it must be shown, at least, to one other person. It is also something that is given freely and openly. And that is love’s most important quality!
The effect of genuine giving, centered somewhere other than the self, can be intense and profound. It allows people to open themselves completely to others, and join two spirits to love each other as much as they love themselves.
This is how many people understand love… as if it can be truly understood. They have a “know it when you see it” attitude, where love is something that spontaneously arises from within. Very secretive and covert, it plays “gotcha” with your emotions.
But what is “love”… real everlasting love?
Love is a bond that comes from appreciating the good in another.
Yes… I said it… the “good.”
I know it may be surprising to hear that word—goodness—when putting love in context. I guarantee that very few love stories incorporate people’s ethical considerations. Nobody ever talks breathlessly about high moral values during a passionate embrace.
However, in studies of successful long-term relationships, one of the highest ranked factors is the value placed in a partner’s moral qualities.
To those in the Jewish mindset, this is not a surprise. Of course, the things that we value in ourselves, are the same things that we appreciate in others. We were created to see ourselves as good, and it is only logical that we seek the goodness in others.
So… beautiful looks, sparkling personality, wit and intelligence may be attractive to you, but goodness is the true fertile soil of love.
If love comes as a result of the appreciation you have for the goodness of your partner, then it does not just happen. It can be made to happen! You can produce it! It is only a matter of focus. And if you can create it… you can choose it!
When you look at another person and say, “I love you,” what you are really saying is that you respect and appreciate who they are and what they stand for. It is the goodness they represent that attracts you.
Certainly, there is a huge difference between this and the deep, profound love that develops over time—especially in long-term relationships and marriage. But it is a start!
Since love is a behavior, it is also a choice!
By focusing on the good in others, you can choose to love almost anyone, and by extension, the entire human race. However, what do you need to do to deepen this warmth for a specific person?
Feelings are affected by many things, but our actions touch our feelings the most. It leads us to believe that if we want to be a more compassionate, thoughtful and loving person, we must start by having more compassionate and loving thoughts, and follow it up with acts of rakhmim… charity.
Most people think that love is the source of giving, but true kindness is the exact opposite—the act of giving leads to love.
After all is said and done, true love is an act of giving centered on others—not ourselves—and requires several elements:
- A specific recipient for your love.
- A sense of commitment.
- The conscious act of loving.
- Understanding the common bond that links us all.
When love is broken down to its most basic parts, it can actually be possible to find, create and maintain love over the long term, with anyone of your choosing. Love is a combination of goodness, giving and respect—things a thoughtful and sensitive person can control.
It is time to rejoice! This realization is certainly something that should be celebrated. Love is not a mystical phantom that arises suddenly and without warning, but is a wonderful behavior that is created, nurtured, cherished and—of course—shared!