L is for Love, Actually | #AtoZChallenge

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:

Literally literary love

Conditional 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

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

All the posts: Components of Literature A to Z

About Eva Blaskovic

I am a multi-genre author of literary fiction, fantasy, and paranormal, and writer of non-fiction articles on parenting, writing, education, health, and travel. My background encompasses both the sciences and the arts. I teach at a specialized clinic for learning disorders and mentor young authors. In addition to writing and teaching, my passions are weather, Indian food, gardening, and music. I have played eight musical instruments and spent many years immersed in taekwondo and karate. In my youth, I was an avid canoeist. I was born in Prague, Czech Republic, grew up in the Great Lakes region of Ontario, Canada, and moved to Alberta in 1988, where I raised four children.
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7 Responses to L is for Love, Actually | #AtoZChallenge

  1. Pingback: Theme Reveal: Blogging from A to Z Challenge (April 2017) | Beyond the Precipice

  2. This would be my favorite. Did not knew there are so many times. I do prefer to write more on unconditional. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Conditional love is terrible (well, it’s not love, it’s control). But it does make for good conflict and it does make a character suffer (because authors are supposed to be mean to characters — readers seem to get off on this, haha). I’ve watched conditional and unconditional love do their thing, and I’ve felt both. That’s why I juxtaposed* the two in the BEYOND THE PRECIPICE novel, thus better bringing out the features of each while creating man vs. himself and man vs. man conflict. The message I hope to get across is how critical unconditional love is to families and partners, and conversely how damaging conditional love is.

      With my kids, I obviously loved them unconditionally and made sure they knew, but I also watched the wording of everything I said and how I said it.

      Jump through hoops — there’s another idiom. (I nearly used it above as making the character jump through hoops.)

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can understand and relate. My work in progress has been a love story and mostly about conditional and unconditional love.

        This post and comment was insightful to me. I can understand that right words would certainly make a difference.

        Thank you for sharing this and the idiom! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: J is Just Juxtaposition | #AtoZChallenge | Beyond the Precipice

  4. JJAzar says:

    Love is a huge thing. Huge. It’s a topic that I don’t feel is delved into with sophistication often enough, whether it be through literature or otherwise. The fact that you pointed out distinctions between varieties of “love” is great. Eva, you have me thinking now! Perhaps I ought to write a post or two on the topic. I had one drafted for Valentine’s Day (Romance in Writing: How to Use a Love Interest to Develop a Character) but never got around to finishing it. What a compendium this is becoming.

    Liked by 1 person

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