By Krystal Kuehn, MA, LPC, LLP, NCC
Love must be learned, and learned again; there is no end to it.
~Katherine Anne Porter
When people say “I love you,” what do they mean? Perhaps they are referring to their strong emotions, or to a physical love that is passionate and lustful. How often is it a deeper love—a love that is selfless, unconditional, and forgiving that is expressed? This kind of love is stronger than emotions and physical passions. It involves commitment and a decision to act in the best interest of others. This is a giving and sacrificial love. It is not dependent upon the attractiveness, agreeableness, or condition of the love object. It is love this is unconditional and free.
This is the kind of love that is loyal and would not betray the one it loves. This is the kind of love that never gives up, but continues to want and believe the best of the other person. This love is patient, kind, and respectful. It does not harbor resentment, nor is it arrogant, rude, and selfish.
So the next time we tell someone we love them, do we love them with this kind of love? We might have good intentions and a true desire to love others unconditionally and with our whole hearts, but most of us could use some practice and greater understanding of love. We can check our understanding of love by this simple exercise. Using The 10 Keys to Happy and Loving Relationships replace the word love with your name or with the words I am. For the first one only, use I have instead of I am. That is, I have esteem for self and others. Then continue with I am patient, I am kind, and so forth.
1. Love is Esteem for Self & Others
2. Love is Patient
3. Love is Kind
4. Love is Considerate
5. Love is not Jealous or Envious
6. Love is Humble
7. Love is not Demanding
8. Love is not Easily Angered
9. Love is Forgiving
10. Love is Sincere
How many of those statements do you believe to be true with your name in place of love? Don’t be disheartened if you feel you need work in any or all of these areas. Most of us probably have plenty of room to grow in our understanding and practice of love. This exercise has hopefully been helpful in identifying key areas in which you might want to improve your experience of love and all the benefits that come with it.
For more information, activities, and affirmations about love go to
The Power of Love is amazing and never-ending.
Love can motivate, energize, inspire, and strengthen.
Love can do in a person what nothing else can do.
Love has the power to revive and change lives,
restore relationships, and bring healing.
All else may fail, but Love never fails.