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.

2 Comments to
Family & Friends: Embracing A New Definition Of Love

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  1. Dear Tamara, I find your descriptions rather simplistic. If one is truly to understand love and be able to give it truly they must first and foremost know love in their own true self. In doing so they begin to have a healthy relationship with self and then potentially can have healthy relationships with others. In long term relationships, indeed complex in nature, there are no ‘givens’ per se, in that one cannot control their outcome. But I believe it is quite safe to say that it is not conditional love if one does not accept abuse of any kind or allow boundaries to be crossed and that that still remains love. Maintaining awareness of self and other is key to healthy love. Unconditional love does not require not paying attention to what you are getting in return for if what you do get in return is not healthy for you, then the love experience is null and void. Does one carelessly throw seeds on cement and hope for the seeds to grow. If love is something real and purposeful then where it is placed must come with thought and care for it to grow. This of course is my opinion but it is also my observation of the one of the major frustrations people have in general in their love/family relationships. I believe in and try to practice the observance of boundaries especially in regards love, communication being key in sustaining and maintaining these boundaries which allows freedom of choice within the relationship to give freely and give high qualities to the relationship such as unconditional love. But having said that, none of us is perfect, so communication once again is key in maintaining the sense of honor, trust, respect which are all real and practical acts of love, especially unconditional love for without these at the helm of the giver’s heart in the form of self respect, honoring of one’s values and trust then the idealisms you portend are just that rather idealistic in nature and in their results.

    • Hello BE: Thank you for your comments. I think there are various categories of love and unfortunately they are misunderstood.

      It is extremely important to sustain boundaries in any type of relationship (I think most people are aware that this is essential) in order to protect oneself from harm and abuse. Boundaries are what makes love true and with boundaries, all parties involved are sensitively cared for. Boundaries in relationships are what keeps emotional reciprocation appropriate. We cannot have healthy relationships or love without boundaries. Self-sacrificing is another concept.

      Self-sacrifice simply expresses the desire to love unconditionally and without barriers in healthy relationships. Self-sacrifice is love to the fullest because it is a dedication of every part of you without holding back. It is something that, in my view, must be present in healthy relationships in order for them to be successful.

      Consider the example of a mother having a baby. The self-sacrifice is the 9-months of carrying and pain of the birth in order to bring to life a life. The mother forgets all about her pain when she sees the face of her baby. Self-sacrifice involves forgiveness, openness, and grace. Have you ever made a mistake and wished someone would erase all of their anger toward you? When that person chooses to forgive you, that is self-sacrifice. Self-sacrifice, however, like anything else in life has limits.

      For Christian believers, self-sacrifice is displayed in the death of Jesus Christ. Of course, self-sacrifice for us doesn’t have to be comparable to this. But loving without strings attached is enough. Selfishness is obviously the opposite of self-sacrifice.

      Your other point involves self-love or loving oneself before loving others. This is also important, but only to a certain extent. Loving yourself is healthy so long as you do not become conceited, prideful, and arrogant. Where can love be exhibited if you believe you are heaven and earth? It cannot.
      Love is not expressed in the word “me.” Love is an emotion to be equally experienced and given. In order for this to occur, we must have a healthy consideration of ourselves (not compromising with abuse of course) while simultaneously considering the other person.

      I hope this makes more sense. Everyone has a philosophical opinion on what love is and is not. But I think philosophy is far from experience. Hopefully we all will experience the true and sacrificing love that this article attempts to encourage.

      All the best

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