Love has so many meanings in the English language depending on the context. Wikipedia defines it as an emotion, virtue and a verb. It can be an affectionate feeling toward another living thing (I love my horse), a pleasurable feeling (I love that dress) and it can be an action word expressed in kind, compassionate and/or affectionate ways (doing something for someone, showing empathy or touch). Loving my new car is not the same as loving my children. I wouldn’t show compassion toward my car and I wouldn’t replace my children with new ones when they break down. There are even different levels of love:
- Familiarity is love between people that have something in common.
- Friendship is love between friends that have been through a lot together.
- Romantic is love between intimate partners.
- Divine or agape is unconditional love.
I would not have the same level of love for people that I know at work as I would for my friends, family or husband. However, I may show love to those people in the same way. For example I can be affectionate (hugging) compassionate (express empathy), or perform “random acts of kindness” (service or gifts). And then there is “tough” love that doesn’t “feel” like love at all. Sometimes this is in the form of consequences. Learning about what love is can be confusing for young children, therefore connecting and building meaningful relationships with them is paramount to teaching them how to love. Expressing love to our children can be showing affection, delivering random acts of kindness and expressing empathy when delivering consequences. To learn more about the Love and Logic way for delivering natural, delayed or created consequences so that children feel loved unconditionally, please contact me.