Thursday, March 1, 2007

And What Is Not Love?

To be good at anything we have to spend time and effort studying and practicing it. To be loving we need to know what love is and what love is NOT. We should not confuse love with the Hollywood-type-of movie love. What then is love? True love at its very basic is:
1. Patient
  • Do I accommodate his/her views, his idiosyncrasies and his ways of doing things?
  • Can I overlook his shortcomings or faults?
  • Will I be able to bear the blame and accusation?
  • Can I accept him as he is?
2. Kind
  • Do I have a kind heart towards him/her?
  • Do I strive to make him happy?
  • Do I uplift his spirit when he is anxious or depressed?
  • Am I tender hearted towards him?
3. Forgiving
Mother Teresa says, "We must make our homes centers of compassion and forgive endlessly."
  • Do I try to forgive endlessly at home?
  • Do I harbor grudges over a long period of time?
  • Do I hold on to resentment?
  • Do I keep a record of wrongs he has done to be used against him?
  • Do I try to forgive and forget?
4. Self-giving
  • Do I make self-sacrifice for him/her?
  • Am I generous towards him?
  • Can I give in to the relatively unimportant comments and arguments?
  • Do I give up my preferences, goals, comfort, time and energy for him?
5. Encouraging
  • Am I always encouraging or am I critical towards him/her?
  • Do I affirm him?
  • Am I his cheer leader?
  • Do I see his potential or do I see him as he is?
  • Do I constantly find ways to praise him?
Have we spent the time to cultivate and nurture these qualities or are we so engrossed with making a living that we don't bother about such things? How then can we be good at loving?
Ultimately relationship, not what we achieved or acquired, is what matters most in life. So why do we allow our relationships to get the short end of the stick? When our schedules become overloaded, we start skimming-cutting back on giving the time, energy, and attention that loving relationships require.
What's most important to us is replaced by what is most urgent. When life on earth is ending, we don't surround ourselves with objects. What we want around us is people-people we love and have relationships with. In our final moments we all realize that relationships are what life is all about. Learning this truth sooner rather than later is wisdom. Why then wait until we are on our deathbed to figure out that nothing matters more than a loving relationship?

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