Wow...that is a good question that has been asked from the beginning of time. I'm not sure I could do it justice...but can sure tell you how to mess it up.
If we go by the Biblical definition of it, it would be: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres." - 1 Cor. 13:4-7 (NIV)
No matter how hard I try, I sure couldn't hit it 100%...I am not patient at times at all and there are days I am easily angered, especially when I'm into a project like painting and I have just splattered paint on my favorite relaxing shoes and the phone rings....which happened today. I had to stop, regroup and then see who was calling on the telephone.
Many years ago I used to think my definition of love was how I wanted someone to treat me and then go through a whole list of things they would or wouldn't do. I had some waking up to do.
Someone else said it here in an earlier post, I had to learn how to love myself first...other wise I was counting on another individual to "make me happy." Happiness is an inside job. When I came to the program and my whole life change, I started learning to love myself, take care of myself, nurture myself and protect myself - even against some of my own faulty thinking, my ideals of what I wanted or "expected" changed.
I started seeing that love is expressed in many different ways...but that's not what the question was here... it was what IS love.
To me love is caring about others. I would say that it is caring about someone else more than I care for myself - but that is the level of love I feel for someone, and may not be a healthy kind of love if I care more for someone who is abusive more than I care about myself.
There are a list of things I can say that are things I could do if I love (care about) someone, such as - respect, am compassionate with, am patient with, spend time with, treat kindly, practice forgiveness, or it could be that I practice tough love, back away from, stop enabling, give space, retreat, and allow them to hit thier bottom.
Okay, I'm rambling...I too am curious what the Old Timer said to you Dallas....any chance of receiving a message with her comment to you?