Why do you love someone? Is it because of their qualities or because of a sense of kinship or intimacy?
You can love someone for their qualities and not feel a sense of kinship. This type of love gives rise to competition and jealousy. Such is not the case when love arises out of kinship.
If you love someone for their qualities, when the qualities change or you get accustomed to their qualities, your love also changes. However, if you love someone out of kinship, because they belong to you, then that love remains for lifetimes.
People say, I love God because He is great. What if God is found to be ordinary, just one of us? Then your love for God would collapse. If you love God because He is yours, then however God is, whether he creates or destroys, you still love Him. The love of kinship is like love for yourself.
(Someone asks Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: ?Why do so many people have no love for themselves??)
No. It is just the opposite. They love themselves so much that they want better qualities for themselves. They want to appear better than they think they are. This love of qualities makes them hard on themselves.
If love is based on the qualities of a person, that love is not stable. After some time, the qualities change and the love becomes shaky. Loving someone because of their greatness or uniqueness is third-rate love. Loving someone because they belong to you, great or otherwise, is unconditional love.
Knowledge along with sadhana, seva and satsang (spiritul practice, service, and coming together in celebration) help to engender a sense of belonging. When love springs from a sense of belongingness, then the actions and qualities do not overshadow the love. Neither qualities nor actions can be perfect all the time. Only love and a feeling of kinship can be perfect.
From a talk by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar