There are many great traits to have. In my opinion, however, some of the best have to do with kindness, and the ability to give and receive it.

When I was a kid, though, all we ever talked about was strength and bravery. Toughness. Every kid wanted to be the biggest and coolest. Including me. It was our "Gryffindor days" where everyone wanted to be the hero or savior or champion or White Knight.

Then I grew up and moved into a "Ravenclaw" phase where intelligence was the most important thing. Nothing made me prouder than my big brain. I was certain I'd be a renowned scientist or doctor one day, a real genius!

But then I had a paradigm shift and now all I want to preach is kindness. That's not to say the other traits aren't as good, but I think kindness is so massively underestimated and underutilized. The ability to be gentle, loving and vulnerable, I think that is the most important thing. At least in today's wounded world.

Now I have made my heart my center. My kindness is my currency. My value is in what I do and say and give. What I love most about myself is my ability to understand and empathize. What I take the most pride in is my love, kindness and patience. It is not just who I innately am, nor is it my intellect or skill. It is my choices and actions. Those are what I pride about myself because those are what I can control and what I can use to leave a positive mark on this world.

Again, that's not to say other talents and traits are inferior, but I am trying to "signal boost" the virtues of being slow to anger rather than always being ready to "throw hands" (though there is definitely a time and place for that too). And even beyond the basic and vague trait of love, I want to specify that the true value lies in being able to give AND receive.

Of course it is important to give love, to be kind and understanding and selfless. But another invaluable trait is the ability to receive love, to believe it when others tell you that they love you, and the ability to truly understand that there are, in fact, people out there who genuinely care for you and your wellbeing, even if it doesn't seem like it.

To me, the ability of showing love to others (*in a way that they register as loving) is just as important as the ability to understand it when it's coming towards you. And similarly is the power of self-love, and not just in the "#treat yo self" way, but in the way that says "I am good and worthy" and "I deserve my happiness and my life". This is the voice that begs you to take care of yourself even if you don't think you deserve it, and this is the voice that tells you you deserve love and you are loveable even if you think otherwise.

I genuinely believe in the power of love and in love being a very powerful force. Maybe the cheap "Disney slogan" way we treat love is a bit misleading and overly-simplistic, but I still do believe in the core of the message that even if a kiss cannot wake a sleeping princess, love can still change the world. It's not easy, love, but it's worth it.

So yes, when I say I value love above all other things, I'm not just trying to sound like a Disney Princess. I mean it truly. And I'm not just referring to the ability to show love, but to also receive it, and to feel it from your own self. It's the love of self and others that I'm talking about.

*This is similar to love-languages (non-romantically) and communication is key here. Make sure you know how other people register love and try to match the way you display it to the way they receive it. I can't tell you how many times I'd show love (or have someone show love to me) but because we weren't on the same page, the actions didn't quite register properly. It happens more often than you think, to be honest.