Love is more than a feeling of butterflies at the thought of one’s beloved or a fleeting desire and stream of words in a love ballad. Love is complex and entails a silent thread by which we connect to another. We have very little control over its power. Love crosses racial, social, and even physical barriers. It is so mysteriously psychological, emotional, and divine.

Valentine’s Day is one of those “holidays” that survives on commercialism. It is overpowered by candy, paper hearts, and romance. It bewilders those of us who find love in multiple ways and domains of life. Love can be both platonic and romantic. But we’re talking about platonic or agape love.

Personal experience taught me about the power of love while working with children in a residential facility for trauma and abuse. The capacity to extend myself beyond the duties of my title enlightened me to the human tendency to reciprocate kindness toward those desperately seeking it. Platonic love has no strings attached nor does it want to possess the other in order to satisfy one’s own wishes. It does not look for the other to be perfect, nor does it condemn. Pure love is transcendent and displays itself as unconditional care for another human being simply because they are human.

I have come up with three displays of love that we should be mindful of when interacting with others:

  • Conditional: This type of “love” is based on another person’s behavior or how we are treated by that person. If we are treated nice, we show love. If we are treated badly, we relinquish all loving behavior.
  • Selfish: This type of “love” is only expressed when someone is pleasing or fulfilling a personal need. This behavior pattern is often noticeable when a person shows affection when they will get something in return.
  • Unconditional: This type of “love” is not based on what another person does or what you will get in return. It is based on how you feel about that person and want to do for them. This would fit the description of agape love.



True love is caring and self-sacrificial. We must be careful not to love on condition, only when our needs are met, dreams fulfilled, or desires reciprocated. Love is dependent upon what your heart wants to give without strings attached.


I encourage you to learn about and spread love in more ways than one every single day of your life!


All the best


Creative Commons License photo credit: Ammgramm 



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    Last reviewed: 17 Sep 2013

APA Reference
Hill, T. (2013). Family & Friends: Embracing A New Definition Of Love. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 5, 2015, from


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