I found something last night in one of my notebooks I had written on 11/16/2016, when I asked myself if I could create an acronym for love.  This is what came to me:

L - Listen

O- Observe

V- Value

E- Empathize

Listen - "to wait attentively for a sound".  Listen is a verb, an active word.  Too often we are listening only to come up with our reply, or we butt in and do not give people a chance to speak.  Another word for listen is hear - "to listen to; give or pay attention to" One of the things my mom taught me was to pay attention to not just what people are saying and doing, but why they are saying and doing what they are.

Observe - "to regard with attention, especially so as to see or learn something".  This word is also a verb, a word of action.  It ties in to the above, pay attention what is underlying why people are doing or saying certain things, not only what they are doing or saying. 

Value - "to regard or esteem highly".  Another verb.  When you value a person, you listen and observe to learn and understand the why of what they are doing, not just the what, even when you may not agree.  

Empathize - "to experience empathy", which is "the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another".  That is a big one and requires us to come out of ourselves and into the experience of another.  Or, the other, as is sometimes used.

In my own life, love has most often called upon me to step out of what is comfortable.  To not make the easy choice, but the difficult one.  To suspend what I would most like to do for the sake of another.  Not out of my need to be valued for what I can do for someone else but because I value them as a person and think about what they might be going through.  Working to join them in whatever it is they are going through and to be with them in that.  Whether or not I agree is irrelevant,  and I don't get to decide whether or not what they are feeling or going through is valid.  

We can all listen more, observe more, value more and empathize more.  Coming out of yourself for the sake of another is not weak, instead it shows an incredible amount of strength.