"Love is caring about the well-being, happiness, and growth of the people you love. Love is protecting your loved ones from emotional or physical pain, helping them, strengthening them, and improving their lives, without asking to be repaid. Love is considerate, kind, patient, gentle, tender, repectful, and loyal. Love accepts human imperfection in others. love is never rude, selfish, nor prone to anger. Love does not envy other people nor hold grudges.(1)
Three ancient Greek words cover the breath of the unitary english word "love": Eros,Philia, and Agape.
Eros is love which includes the drive to love (romance) and procreate, the subject of perhaps 95% of written material employing the word love. This love is desire and desire is want. Desire exists only where the want is perceived and experienced as such. Love exists only where the desire focuses on an object.
Philia is reflected in the english word friendship. Many find this the happiest and most fully human of all loves. Friendship is neither want or oneness like eros but rather rather community, sharing and fidelity. Philia is friendship but in its broadest sense, which can include the love between a mother and her child, between brothers and sisters. Comte- Sponville indicates that philia is love in all its forms when it flourishes between human beings, whenever it is not reduced to want or passion (eros)
Agape is concerned for the well being of others as reflected in the Good Sumeritan story.
"Love is a verb. Love the feeling is the fruit of love the verb" - Stephen Covey
"The act of relation is not an emotion or a feeling...Feelings accompany love, but they do not constitute it ...Hence love is not the enjoyment of a wonderful love, but the responsibility of an "I" for a "Thou". - Martin Buber
"[Love] is not an emotion but an attitude of the will...to love one's neighbour is not to feel afffection for him but to wish and seek his good."
All religions faith have a version of what is known in the Christian faith as "The Golden Rule" or "Love your neighbour as yourself". To be a good sumaritan you don't have to like your neighbour, merely adopt a directed will or an orientation of intention to do aim at his good.
"We do not love what we want to love, we love what we desire; we love what we love, not what we choose to love. Comte-Sponville
Love that is offered only in return for good behaviour is conditional love.
In his book entitled, Becoming Human, Jean Vanier speaks of seven aspects of love that he believes are necessary for the transformation of the heart of the profoundly lonely. They are, revelation, understanding, communication, celebration, empowerment, communion with another and forgiveness.
One must have one's own uniqueness or that they are special and worthy of attention made known to the individual. This can be revealed to them through time (open and gentle presence with the individual), attention (in the way we look and listen to the individual) and tenderness (that shows our respect that reveals to the individual their worth).
What is necessary is the craetion of an understanding based on an individual's needs. This may take time and a great deal of attention and wisdom especially where the individual is non-verbal and must have their guestures interpreted
Part of the ability to communicate is to name things. naming things bring them out of the chaos,the hidden, the unspoken and then is made real. The real is true and not chaotic
Every child needs to know that they are a sout5ce of joy. Every adult needs to know they are wanted. Only when we are truly accepted, warts and all can our negative broken self image be transformed
It is not enough to help someone do something. A person must gradually learn that he or she is responsible for choices made. He or she must learn to observes the rules and structures of the community and to make efforts to respect others.
communion is mutual trust, mutual belonging
Human beings can not be continously attentive, loving and non-violent.
Buber, Martin (1958) I and Thou, New York: Collier Books, 1958
Comte-Sponville, Andre (2001) A Small Treatise on the Great Virtues, New York: Henry Holt and company
Falcon, Chuck Tilton (1992) Happiness and Personal Problems Psychology Made Easy, Lafayette, Louisiana
Jaksch, Mary (2002) Learn to Love, San Francisco: Chronicle Books
Jampolsky, Gerald G(1979) Love is Letting Go Of Fear Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts
Jampolsky, Gerald G. and Diane V. Cirincione, Love is the Answer, Creating Positive Relationships
Keen, Sam (1997) To Love and Be Loved, New York: Bantam
Moore, Thomas (1994) Soul Mates, New York: HarperCollins Publishers
Peck, M. Scott (1978) The Road Less Traveled, New York: Simon & Schuster
Saint Exupery, Antoine de, The Little Prince New York: Harcourt, Brace and World
Vanier, Jean (1998) Becoming Human, Toronto: Anansi
1. Falcon Page 9