Love runs the entire world, and if we think that’s rubbish we just need to think about how we respond to many variations of acceptance and rejection that come our way. We all desire to be loved, but rarely is it natural for us to want to love.
If we are serious about love, about getting love right, and protecting ourselves by loving in advance of others’ love, we will want to get real about it; really real.
Let’s think of love as an acrostic. We can arrange L.O.V.E.:
Listen when other people are speaking.
Overlook pettiness, common faults, and forgive failures.
Value other people for who they are.
Express love in practical ways.
Let’s explore those in greater detail:
We all like to be listened to, so it’s ironic that we prefer to speak rather than listen. Good listeners are so scarce. But if we are prepared to listen with an open mind and heart we find the simplest way to love someone by our communication. Most people are pleasantly surprised that we are interested in them enough to listen.
There are so many petty things that prove as stumbling blocks before us. We are frustrated by the most innocuous things. But when we have perspective—more of the God viewpoint—we find it easier to overlook common lapses and to forgive innocent mistakes.
We must ask ourselves, “How important is this issue, really?”
Valuing all others for who they are, despite the temptations to judge or limit our expression of love somehow, is very simple, but we don’t do it that well ordinarily. Particularly in our family members’ lives, we are placed there to love them beyond our prejudices. They are their own people, responsible for their own choices, and we should respect them for that.
Valuing others for who they are is perhaps the greatest gift of love, where no fear breaches the relationship. When we value others for who they are, more freedom is enjoyed by all (except those driven by an anger-laden inner fear).
What is love if it cannot be expressed in practical terms? Others are blessed in our creativity to innovate around love. We use our imaginations, finding ways of doing, saying, or giving nice things to those we are in contact with, or simply by spending time with them.
Loving people is made simpler when we 1) listen intently to them, 2) overlook minor problems with a forgiving attitude, 3) value people for who they are, and 4) express our love in creatively innovative ways.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.