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What are the principal traits and characteristics of love?

Love is a reality that involves the whole person. First of all, this does not mean that either physical attraction, or feelings and sentiments, are excluded. It means that love is more than all of that. The person who remains stuck in the phases of physical attraction or nice sentiments might not truly reach love.

To love one must consider the other person completely. This includes appreciating and taking care of the other person, thinking often about him/her, sharing happy moments together as well as the sad moments so as to help alleviate any pain. Whwn one loves, he/she always wants to help the other person as well as receive help from that person. To love is to realistically know the other person without ideallizing him/her; in other words, you accept the person for who he/she is and try to help that person improve him or herself. In addition, to love is to open oneself up to the other person, by sharing aspects of each other’s interior life with total sincerity, as best as you both can.

Solidarity, sincerity, fairness, and sacrifice form part of what we mean by love, but love also includes mutual respect, common interests, and patience. Being able to forgive and to ask for forgiveness is yet another very important component of love. In the words of Yepes Stock: “Love is what makes life worth living”.

If you stop to think about it, all the characteristics that have been mentioned are characteristics of a stable commitment. A commitment is a decision that has matured with time and which enables love to grow.

The key to achieving love is to guide oneself by will power and good intentions; these are among the most important attributes of the human being. In complete love, the art of really knowing someone always goes together hand in hand with character; the empowerment of will power.

Self-knowledge and awareness are the critical tools which enable us to distinguish between the different stages of love and to make the most appropriate decisions at each given moment, thereby avoiding the possibility of being manipulated by the other person or the possibility of acting under false pretenses; it takes both this kind of self-knowledge and courage to avoid being blinded by false images of love.

Having will power helps orient your feelings of fondness, affection, and guide your overall thoughts and actions. It will help you maintain the good decisions you make, and resist acting under external pressure that could be detrimental to you. When on the road to love, being able to know how to wait is one of the principle virtues that can guarantee the best results in both the present and the future.

Getting to know someone well, and having will power, will teach you to respect each other as persons, which also means respecting each other’s intimacy as well as their dignity. If you have a good empowerment over your affectivity and sexuality you will strengthen the very foundation that enables anyone to reach the physical and psychological maturity necessary to truly love someone.