what does it really mean to give love?

what does it really mean to give love?
Photo by Toa Heftiba / Unsplash
"Love doesn't keep a score of wrongs. Love doesn't bring up past mistakes. None of us is perfect.”
— Gary Chapman

We often hear phrases like "give love" or "share love" when talking about relationships. But do we truly understand what it means to give love to someone else? It's easy to misunderstand and get caught up in behaviors that are the opposite of giving love.

Giving love does not mean trying to change or control the other person. When we try to force someone to be different than who they naturally are, it's not an act of love—it's an act of judgment. We are saying to them "You are not good enough the way you are. You need to change to meet my expectations." True love should be about accepting someone completely as they are, not trying to remake them into our ideal.

Giving love also doesn't mean thinking we know what's best for the other person. Each human being is the ultimate expert on their own life experience. Assuming we know better than them about how they should live is simply arrogance. Love means supporting them to make their own choices, not imposing our agenda on them.

Moreover, giving love is not about keeping a score of who is right and who is wrong. Relationships are not competitions to be won or lost. An abundant love doesn't point fingers or assign blame, but rather practices understanding. When we criticize, complain, nag, or try to prove the other party's faults, we are not giving love—we are pushing them away with negativity.

So what does it truly mean to give love? It means accepting others without judgment. It means supporting them unconditionally, not trying to control or change them. It means meeting them with compassion, not criticism. It means being present and seeking to understand their experience, not preaching what you think they should do.

Giving love is an act of opening our hearts, not an opportunity to inflate our egos. It flourishes through patience, gentleness, and humility. The next time we aim to "give love" to our partner, friend, or family member, we would be wise to check our intentions first. Are we coming from a place of true unconditional care and acceptance for them? Or are we acting from our own fears and judgments, and our need to be right? The latter mindset is the very opposite of sharing love.

“Love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person. To love somebody isn’t just a strong feeling. It is a decision, a judgment, and a promise.”
— Paulo Coelho