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Love is one of the three character strengths that comprise the Virtue of Humanity.

Humanity describes strengths that manifest in caring relationships with others. These strengths are interpersonal and are mostly relevant in one-on-one relationships.

What is love?

Love as a character strength, rather than as an emotion, refers to the degree to which you value close relationships with people, and contribute to that closeness in a warm and genuine way. 

Where kindness can be a behavioural pattern applied in any relationship, love as a character strength really refers to the way you approach your closest and warmest relationships. 

Love is reciprocal, referring to both loving others and the willingness to accept love from others. 

There are four types of love, each with a biological and evolutionary base:

  • Attachment love: parent for child; child for parent
  • Compassionate/altruistic love: kindness
  • Companionate love: friendship
  • Romantic love: spouse/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend

Why is love of value?

  • Love tends to facilitate tolerance, empathy and forgiveness in relationships which contribute to the health and longevity of those relationships.
  • Loving and secure relationships can provide a sense of meaning and purpose in life.
  • Love is associated with healthy patterns of communication such as compromise and the ability to engage effectively in conflict with others.

A couple of questions to consider

  • What are the ways in which you express love to others and how is it received?
  • How well do you receive love? It is often harder to give than to receive but good relationships are a two-way street. Do signs of love make you uncomfortable or afraid of what others may expect from you

Some things that you can do to practise love

  • Journal about loving relationships in general, reflecting on what is most valued in a healthy, loving relationship. Put one of your insights into action.
  • Carve out some time each week to experience uninterrupted quality time in your closest relationship.
  • Go out of your way to offer support to co-workers when you see they are stressed or having a bad day. Give them the gift of supportive words and your honest concern. 

For more information on the strength of hope, go to https://www.viacharacter.org/character-strengths/love

If you are interested in exploring how the practice of Character Strengths might be of benefit to your business and culture, contact Peter Maguire on 0438 533 311 or at info@poswork.com.au.

Acknowledgement: the primary reference for this post is “The Power of Character Strengths: Appreciate And Ignite Your Positive Personality” by Ryan M. Niemiec & Robert E. McGrath (An Official Guide From The VIA Institute on Character)

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