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Love is not a feeling

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

Over a decade ago, I watched a seminar, which claimed that

love is not a feeling.

WHAT? It blew my mind as a young person who had been fed with the idea that love is a feeling in your stomach, the thing that gives you butterflies; the feelings of happiness, euphoria, and other positive things.

So if love is not a feeling, what is it?

Love is an action.

Love is what you DO.

It is a doing.

Love is an active behaviour that shows the other that you care.

Love is an action that comprises the following:

Love is patient

Love is kind

It does not envy

It does not boast

It is not proud

It does not dishonour others

It is not self-seeking

It is not easily angered, and

It keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.

Love never fails.

Corinthians 13:4-8a

There are 15 acts of showing love in this ancient text.

When I read it, I thought: this is exactly how I feel about my little dog!

I am patient with him, I speak kindly to him, of course I do not have no feelings of envy as I would genuinely be happy for him if he gets a compliment for being a good dog or gets a lot of treats and love!

I do not boast or feel proud in front of him.

Except for some embarrassing (but also super adorable) pictures of him shared to family and friends, I don’t think I intentionally dishonour him.

I sometimes have to ignore him a bit to work, but other than that my actions towards him are not self-seeking. I make sure to take him to cafes as often as I can, so he doesn’t feel lonely, among other things that I do that are non-selfish. And I am happy to do them!

I am not easily angered by him. Sometimes I do use my assertive voice, but not with anger.

I keep no record of his misbehaviours.

I try my best always to protect him, I trust that he is doing his best to be a good doggie and keep his barking to the minimum, and I always hope for the best for him, and for us!

Ha… isn’t this real love, by the definition of the acts of love from this old old script?

With humans, it can be a bit more complicated. Especially with those who had done you wrong, especially with evil intentions. Oftentimes, they are the people closest to you that you interact with the most. Although it is not always the case.

For those, this passage says “love keeps no record of wrongs”.

It does not say that love forgives.

Love does not even need to get to the point of forgiving because there is no record of wrong doings that needs forgiveness.

This spoke to me the loudest from the 15 things on the list.

Of course, there are horrible evil deeds that humans do to each other and to other living beings.

Those acts should not be brushed off like they never happened, and we should definitely not put it all on the victims to “keep no records of the wrongs”. Justice is needed to keep the world orderly, as some people would misuse their freedom or power or whatever they have.

But for the people that deserve your love: your kids, parents, partners, friends, neighbours - are you keeping the record of their wrongs? Are you speaking kindly to them? Are you patient with them? Are you protecting them not just physically but also emotionally and otherwise?

Today, think of one person in your life that is precious but with whom you are having some trouble or issues.

  • What is one thing that you can improve on out of the 15 acts of love written here?

  • What is one thing that you are missing from this relationship out of the 15 on the list, and how can you kindly address it in a way that does not dishonour that person?

Thanks for reading on, and happy valentines!

PS: Are there any other passages of wisdom on love from religious or non-religious texts? Please let us know! We would love to learn about them 🙂

With love, S


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