Lovable. Some people seem to love others easily. They bring out the best in others. They pick up on emotional clues that others miss. They make us feel loved. They generate hope. They even excel in dealing with difficult people. And they seem to do it effortlessly. It can make the rest of us jealous of their emotional proficiency. All of us want to be loved. Most of us would like to be able to love others. We want to be lovable.
Why Do Some People Seem To Be More Loving And Lovable Than Others?
Why do some people seem to be more loving and lovable than others? What inner motivation drives them to love others well? Why are they so universally loved by others?
Nature. Some would argue that they are predisposed by personality and temperament to love others well. They would suggest that being kind-hearted is just in their nature. This makes them lovable.
Nurture. Others would contend that they were raised in a loving environment and are a result of their upbringing they love others well. This makes them lovable.
But there are people who were loved well by others who don’t love others well. Nurture is not always an indicator that someone one will love others well. And the reverse is also true.
An Absence of love. Some would suggest that they know what it is like not to be loved. Not to be valued. They strive to provide what they did not receive in abundance. In doing so they become lovable.
Suffering and Pain. They have been hurt by someone who was supposed to love them. This deep sense of betrayal affects how they relate to others. They create family based on shared experiences not genetics. They become lovable by becoming family.
Faith and Belief. They believe that God loves them. They believe that all people were created in the image of God and have value. This belief makes them easy to love.
Can We Love Others For The Same Reasons?
I believe that we can. I love for all of these reasons and more.
By nature, I am an easy-going person. I tend to see the best in people. But as a child I was nervous and was in fear of most adults.
I was raised in a loving family where I had a sense of belonging. I had value. I was told often that I was loved and wanted. But often that value felt like it was tied to my performance. If I didn’t perform would they still love me?
Outside of my family life, the world could be cold, distant, and lonely. Love was absent for a time. Until I met my future wife.
I have been hurt by others. Pain from those closest to you who were supposed to love you is the worst pain of all. I have a granddaughter and cannot imagine betraying that unconditional love. But it is a fact of life. If, you are around people they will hurt you. Hermits become isolationists for a reason.
As an adult, I became a Christ-follower. I believe that God loves us unconditionally. I am undeserving of that love. This truth empowers me to love others, including individuals who don’t appear to deserve love.
But you don’t have to be a Christ-follower to love others well. It would be condescending to think that only religious people are capable of loving others unselfishly. If, you watch a new parent with an infant you quickly realize the universal capacity that humanity has to love one another.
It would also be hypocritical to not acknowledge the individuals who claim to follow Christ who are some of the most unlovable people you’ll ever meet in the world.
For the Christian please remember that Jesus said, ” “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
It is intriguing in what Jesus does not say. He didn’t say,
- By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you live a morally perfect life.
- By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you build great worship centers, hospitals, orphanages or educational facilities.
- By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you oppose evil.
- By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you support one political party over the other.
- By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you remove and separate yourself from anyone who doesn’t believe exactly what you believe.
Few people would disagree with Jesus teachings on love. To treat others as you want to be treated. To love the outcast. To love beyond self with a willingness to sacrifice for others. This is the kind of love that is hard to dismiss.
A word to individuals hurt by myself and other Christ-followers.
First, I sincerely apologize for the unkindness, shame and condemnation that you have experienced.
Second, I beg you to not judge God solely on the behavior of his followers.
A misspelled word in a book does not dispel the overall truth of that book. The imperfect lives of Christ-follower’s does not invalidate the person or teachings of Jesus.
Jesus is not mad at you. He loves you. He wants you to experience his unconditional love.
In the process of learning to love others we will find some unexpected benefits.
“Studies have shown that volunteering helps people who donate their time feel more socially connected, thus warding off loneliness and depression. But I was surprised to learn that volunteering has positive implications that go beyond mental health. A growing body of evidence suggests that people who give their time to others might also be rewarded with better physical health—including lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan.
Evidence of volunteerism’s physical effects can be found in a recent study from Carnegie Mellon University, published this month in Psychology and Aging. Adults over age 50 who volunteered on a regular basis were less likely to develop high blood pressure than non-volunteers. High blood pressure is an important indicator of health because it contributes to heart disease, stroke, and premature death.” Source.
But The Greatest Benefit To Loving Others Is That In The Process We Become More Lovable.
Imagine that you see an elderly man sitting on a bench by himself. He is looking around and you try not to make eye contact. You don’t know his story and you feel uncomfortable. You have no desire to meet him.
But a few minutes later a young woman appears with a baby approaches him. She sits down and hands him the baby. The elderly man becomes animated in the presence of this child. He is overwhelmed with love and joy. He gleefully shows his grandchild to everyone in sight.
We now see him differently. He is lovable.
Think about someone you know who is loved by everyone. There is a high probability they are kind to others. That they listen well. That they see the good in others. That they go out of their way to help others in need.
In loving others they have established relationships with people who will return that love.
There are people who will take advantage of the loving nature of others. But the rewards of loving others are always worth the risk.
We have a choice every day in how we interact with others. Which of these reasons can you adapt to love others and in the process make yourself more lovable?