What do you think of, when you think of 'love'? Maybe you think of your spouse, a friend, a family member, or a beloved pet. But, did you ever think of love as a character strength?
Love is one of the 24 character strengths identified by the Values in Action classification developed by researchers in Positive Psychology. Like its sister traits, Kindness and Social intelligence, it is a strength that contributes to one's humanity--the ability to connect with and understand others. And though most of us have a healthy reverence for the strength of Love, we may easily dismiss how absolutely critical it is to building both our individual character as well as unified communities.
If Love is your top strength, you value close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated. The people to whom you feel most close are the same people who feel most close to you. Furthermore, those that have love as a top strength, are able to accept and open themselves up to love from others.
Those with love as a top strength will not just express it romantically, but through compassion to others, whether they be close friends or strangers.
In order to show what this strength looks like in action, how it contributed to individual character, and the great power it has to transform communities, read a story from Tracey Garbers, surviving spouse to CWO3 Gary Garbers (USN-SEAL).
“It was his love and kindness that carried us through our time apart.”
Tracey & Isabel Garbers, surviving spouse, and stepmother to CWO3 Gary Garbers (USN-SEAL) building a home to honor Gary's legacy.
"Prior to one of his many deployments, my husband Gary was busy preparing for his 6 month trip. He knew this would be hard on our family, considering we now had a 4 month old and a 4 year old. He read to Bridget, our oldest, every night before bed. He knew how much she would miss that time together, so he recorded himself reading several of her favorite books. It was his love and kindness that carried us through those many times apart. The joy on Bridget's face, as she listened to her Dad's voice was an example of pure love. Gary showed his love in many ways, to many people. He remains with us in our hearts and minds. Always close and never forgotten.”