Love is an expression of acceptance and appreciation for another person. It is soul to soul. Sex is the acceptance and appreciation of another person as a body. One can therefore have love without sex and as much, one can have sex without love.

To say that I love someone does not necessarily require a show of affection through the body. I do not have to want the body because I love the soul. In the life of Ramon Sampedro depicted in the film, “The Sea Inside” we see it brought to the forefront in Rosa’s affection for him and his ability to share love with her and others even as a quadriplegic.

I cannot, therefore, love someone without first looking for and looking into the soul. I cannot state that I love someone while dismissing that person’s opinions, desires, or concerns as these represent the person’s inner qualities, the qualities that define them. Of course, this can sometimes be different from how a person sees themselves or how they want to be seen, that is, their Self Image. Yet, no matter how a person chooses to portray themselves, no matter what values they hold dear, they still want to be respected or valued for their opinions, desires, or concerns.

Love, therefore, is both directive and giving. I give from what I have. Therefore, I cannot love from a state of emptiness. A state of emptiness evokes need, an emotion often mistaken as love, even if the connection with another person temporarily fills that emptiness and fulfills that need. A relationship, therefore, that is built on drawing from another will evoke emotions of jealousy, control, insecurity, apprehension, hostility, and even will provide contentment, but definitely not love.

In addition, love is directive. A person gives to whom he can direct that energy. Thus I can only love that which I can respect. Yes, a feeling of satisfaction allows me to think that I can give to the world. That still is giving. And a person who can love with this energy can give without expecting return appreciation. He gives because he is full, and what’s more, knows how to be full again. This can be seen as unconditional love, a giving of respect, appreciation, affection without a reason. All real love, therefore, is unconditional. Conditional giving cannot be described as love. It may be respect, acceptance, concern, or appreciation of another because of a relationship, an act, or an expectation.

Therefore, the only way we can love is to first be emotionally balanced, mentally strong, and rationally capable of offering consideration. As a result, any attempt to build a capacity to love must be preceded by a building of these attributes. One cannot give from a pitcher unless the pitcher has first been filled. We can then stretch this realization to an admission that unconditional love is selfish. Before we give it, we must first give to ourselves. As suggested above, any other form of giving, even an exchange of respect or affection, is not real love as it introduces a condition.

This act of first building self mentally, emotionally and cognitively is that of having a strong, secure Self-Image, a definition of self that is impervious to the vicissitudes of change. This is understanding change.

Author's Bio: 

I am a physician. I was trained in general medicine, psychiatry, neurosurgery, orthopaedic surgery and neuropathology as parts of my experiment in what I really wanted to do as a career. I know that, in each area, I had professors who were highly regarded for their knowledge in those dark areas of complexity and for their ability to fix these areas when they went wrong. And, in association, I too shared in that respect.

As a physician in active practice, I enjoyed the challenges and the respect my abilities drew. But I was dissatisfied. I saw too many people who were suffering mental anguish and nothing in my training shed any light into that dark area of human suffering. Using my background training in mathematics, I started to look into the logic of this problem. I saw two defects. We were not looking where the problem occurred. It was too complex and too hidden. Secondly, we couldn't fix it. I also saw that it did not appear to be as precious as life. Physical illness can kill. Mental anguish simply relegated the person to being defined as one who functions at a lower level of competence. Yet, I saw it in my practice as something that leaves a sort of 'living dead'. I decided to do something about it.

It was a tough decision for me. I was leaving an area where I already achieved a level of respect or even admiration and going where I would be thought of as a drop-out. I had reached a pinnacle of using deep knowledge to fix the most precious aspect of the person. I was seen as stepping down to use "less knowledge to fix what cannot be fixed, a state that could only be soothed." I wanted to debunk that.

At first, I developed an understanding of the human psyche, simply by looking for it in those who presented a problem. I discovered a strange fact. Even the most mentally distressed or repressed person was able to think as well as does anyone else. They just couldn't adapt their thoughts as quickly as conditions changed. So, in highly charged contexts, even successful people were seen to fail and experience mental anguish. And the distressed or ill-prepared person even more so. My observations and conclusions are discussed in the pertinent pages. But I then expanded my search into corporate executives who were precious to their companies for their ideas but were getting stymied by fast change during the 80's. Then I went to teachers, probation officers, counsellors, and finally to recovering drug addicts. Fortunately, the Canadian health system allowed some leverage to help these people and get paid for it. The full experience gave me this insight into that complex area of the human psyche and the tools of logic that are the only tools that can reach that metaphysical area of human existence. This insight and those tools I wish to share with you.