LOVE is not a feeling, but more an action; something observable rather than simply an attitude. Not many would disagree. Sure, we might feel ‘in love’ or find ourselves loving something or somebody, but real love, when it is analysed, is much less about emotion than it is about action.
Loves gives when we rather wouldn’t. Love chooses to do the hard thing when it would be more convenient to back out. Love is the halcyon of true life; sustainability is always found on shaky ground without genuine love being extended and propping up any and all of life.
These two matters of attitude are also easily observable, and love without these two is a mirage; a fabrication of a good thing falling far short: the two criterion for love are trust and respect.
Because trust and respect are essences of communication, and because they are the two most important qualities in love, communication is how love is observed.
Good communication between two people, or two entities, or more than two, is a task of love. To give love is to trust a person. To give love is to respect a person. Neither trust nor respect is anything we can be forced to do. We can only ever will ourselves to extend the grace of trust. We can only ever decide that we will respect someone.
The Gift to Trust
When we trust someone we give them a wonderful gift; one they may not very frequently have experienced. It is a wonderful thing to be empowered to gift someone our trust. To trust someone when we are not compelled to do it is powerful, because we all need to know we are genuinely trusted. Trust is only trust when we have sufficient faith to endure the pain of someone failing us. To trust is a test of faith.
The Gift to Respect
Respect can never be assumed and can never be taken for granted. We must earn respect and continue to earn it. Respect is nothing about position power. A good leader does not need his or her position in an organisation to prop them up. He or she wins people because they are full of integrity in the way they trust and respect people. To respect someone is to give them something; it’s a gift when we respect people. They feel they have been given a gift; something most precious.
Love is a wonderful gift because it gives expecting no return. The two best gifts are trust and respect. To trust someone is to love them by not being disappointed if they fail our trust. It is to respect someone without a single condition.
Only when trust and respect are unequivocal do we see love flourish in action.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.