What would life be without love? We’re social beings and we live for it: parental love, the love of family and friends, romantic love . . .
It is not surprising that literature, music, and visual art is full of how we perceive and experience this emotion in its many forms.
There are 7 to 8 forms of love, depending on which of these articles you read:
- These Are the 7 Types of Love (Neel Burton, MD, Psychology Today)
- 8 Different Types of Love According to the Ancient Greeks (Mateo Sol, LonerWolf)
Literally literary love
Conditional love is what we feel when someone loves us only when we act or perform in certain ways. Love comes with a condition. This is an unhealthy love. Technically, it’s not love.
Examples of parental conditional love
“I know my parents loved me but they were disappointed if I came home with mediocre grades.”
This isn’t love.
“I know my mom loved me but when I behaved badly — like broke a dish accidentally — she would get so angry and then withdraw her warmth.”
This isn’t love. And breaking a dish isn’t behaving badly. It’s being a kid.
“I know my parents love me, but they seem so much happier with me when I’m doing well in my job and dating someone they approve of.”
This isn’t love. It’s approval.
So what is love?
Love doesn’t have to be earned.
Love doesn’t have to be proven.
When someone truly loves you, they love you for who you are, not for what you do.
(Source: If It’s Conditional, It’s Not Love, Sheryl Paul, MA, International counselor for anxiety, Huffington Post)
In the article of the link above, read the insert (light grey font) from Rachel Naomi Remen from her book Kitchen Table Wisdom, where she discusses the unfortunate result of conditional love.
Conditional love in romantic relationships can lead to emotional and even physical relationship/spousal abuse.
Unconditional love is true love. Love no matter what.
You have probably heard, “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.” You may have also read about friends, parents, or lovers who had sacrificed their own happiness or lives for the one they loved.
Unconditional love doesn’t always require such a sacrifice, but putting someone else’s life or happiness above your own indicates your selflessness. Unconditional love can be mutual.
Love is a grace, a gift, always there (If It’s Conditional, It’s Not Love).
Accepting another person for who he or she is, allowing him or her to choose and grow by accepting imperfections, mistakes, and disabilities without withdrawing love and support–that is unconditional love.
People may seek unconditional love and acceptance from a pet, such as a dog (man’s best friend), or a higher being, such as God.
Conditional versus unconditional love are a major theme explored in my novel Beyond the Precipice.
Three examples of love in the media
This clip has a slow beginning, but keep watching.
(Total time of scene is only 1 min. 12 sec. before credits.)
Love Actually is a little racy, but it is truly a sweet movie — and Liam Neeson is in it!
An endearing movie with great characters and lessons about love, relationships, and life. My kids and I watch this one again and again. It’s become a yearly tradition.
E.T. (SUPERNATURAL) — Katy Perry