Love | Character Strength | VIA Institute

Become Aware Of Your Strength

Understand what love is all about so you can begin recognizing it in yourself and others.
What is Love?

After millions of songs and greeting cards, love needs no introduction. That said, we want to be clear about how the term is used in the VIA Classification. Love as a character strength, rather than as an emotion, refers to the degree to which you value close relationships with people, and contribute to that closeness in a warm and genuine way. Where kindness can be a behavioral pattern applied in any relationship, love as a character strength really refers to the way you approach your closest and warmest relationships. Love is reciprocal, referring to both loving others and the willingness to accept love from others. There are four types of love, each with a biological and evolutionary base:

  • Attachment love: parent for child; child for parent
  • Compassionate/altruistic love: kindness
  • Companionate love: friendship
  • Romantic love: spouse/partner/boyfriend/girlfriend
Which virtue is this strength?
Love is a strength within the virtue category of humanity, one of six virtues that subcategorize the 24 strengths. Humanity describes strengths that manifest in caring relationships with others. These strengths are interpersonal and are mostly relevant in one-on-one relationships. The other strengths in Humanity are kindness , love , and social intelligence .
Humanity

Explore and Apply Your Strength

Research findings on the benefits of the strength of love found Love tends to facilitate tolerance, empathy, and forgiveness in relationships, which contribute to the health and longevity of those relationships. It is one of five strengths most associated with enhanced life satisfaction. The practice of loving-kindness meditation, in which you cultivate feelings of warmth for yourself and for others, has been shown to boost this strength in addition to a wealth of positive outcomes for the body and mind.