Why Real Love Is So Difficult & Rare


We too often love things and use people when we should be using things and loving people.”

We have lost our sense of values: when your fence falls, you mend it; when your friendship fails, you run.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Real love is something we do. It is not a feeling; it is not primarily (or even secondarily) something we feel. Real love is about being loving much more than being loved.

If more people bought into this, practiced this, and lived this way, imagine how much better life would be.

But to be genuinely loving requires a lot of personal growth and inner rewiring on our part. It takes effort—real effort. It’s not easy. If becoming more loving were easy, then everyone would be doing it.

In order to become more genuinely loving we have to overcome some fairly daunting default wiring that focuses each of us more on the quality and amount of what we’re receiving rather than on the quality and frequency of what we’re giving.

Self-preservation—in all its forms—is something that has been hardwired and embedded deep into each of us.

As is laziness—the path of least resistance, the lust for comfort and ease—in all its forms.

To become more genuinely loving, we have to overcome our laziness and many of our self-preservative tendencies.

We’re up against some pretty daunting odds.

We will each have to learn to go against the grain, against our own nature, act different from what comes natural to most of us most of the time.

Because real Love is effortful, real Love is often difficult; real Love takes work, requires attention, dedication, requires inner work—requires us to work on ourselves and in many ways significantly rewire parts of our self.  And this is an ongoing and lengthy process.

Which yet another reason why real Love is so rare—because it is so difficult for us to learn certain things, grow in a certain direction.

Real Love requires that we confront and deal with and even overcome our own laziness, irrational fears, tendency to get bored easily, tendency to be impulsive and reactive, tendency to think in discursive ways, tendency to not to want to think (thinking criticially and deeply, after all, takes effort.  One of the biggest pains to deal with in life is the pain of a new idea.  Thinking widely and honestly and deeply is not something that most of us want to do, let alone embrace).

In order to become more genuinely loving and able to actually produce love—to love another, and not just be loved or receive love—we will each have to learn many habits that are simply not natural for us.

And if we fail to learn these habits, we will not be able to genuinely Love.

To learn how to love we will each have to learn for ourselves how to extend ourselves, walk the extra mile, even turn the other cheek, take on for the team, and begin thinking about more than just “what’s in it for me?” and quid pro quo.

We have to begin focusing more on the quality and frequency of what we’re giving and begin seeing what another or others are actually giving us or doing for us (which may hurt our pride).

Most people—most of us?—when we/they “love,” love in a fairly lazy and stingy and ungrateful way—giving just enough to keep the flow of getting.

But how often do we look at ourselves and really take stock of ourselves? How often do we look at the quality of what we are giving and the quality of what we are receiving and do so in an objective and unbiased (and thus honest) way?

Loving is not natural. It’s not what we naturally do or are.

And I know that that statement runs contrary to what is found in many New Age books and runs counter to what those offering cheap grace are preaching and would like us to believe—that deep down only love is real, and fear and hate are unreal, that deep down all we are is love.

The reality is we’re not.  All we are is not simply love.

If deep down we were only truly loving, then would we really be mucking up things so badly in our personal relationships and as a society?

The truth is that deep down we each have some pretty deeply embedded selfish, narcissistic, self-centered, impulsive, emotional, and non-thinking tendencies. We have been hardwired by nature to preserve ourselves (self-preservation) and “look out for number one” even at the expense of others.

We may each have some original goodness to us, but we also each have a lot of original badness or selfishness or “the world revolves around me“-ness to us—some potentially pretty heinous nonsense going on in each of us.

And the battle in life that we each must wage is dealing with ourselves—separating wheat from chaff, crooked from straight—within ourselves. That’s the “wooden beam” we each must wrestle with and wittle away at.

And to fail to do so—to fail to confront ourselves and our own blindness, selfishness, ego, impulsiveness—is to fail to learn how to genuinely Love.

Many, many people are simply not up to or interested in confronting or facing themselves. They are not interested in real self-knowledge or real self-understanding—in facing themselves and what they’ve done and become and confronting themselves honestly about their patterns and denial and avoidance mechanisms.  Most people are not interested in wrestling diligently with themselves about who they are becoming—who they are becoming by the choices they are making today, right now—the choices of how to act, what to eat, what to read, what to right about, what to think about, how to think, and whether to try and be deeply aware of their own thinking and the seeds they are sowing right now, now, now. . . .

The truth is that deep down we—some of us, perhaps many of us—may be warm, affectionate, kind, caring, empathetic, compassionate. And these emotions may get covered over through the harshness of this world, through heartbreak, through bad parenting.

Other people’s lack of love mangles us. and unless we go inward and deal with it, our “love” too will be much less than love and will have a greater or lesser mangling effect on those we try to “love.”

So going through therapy (with a really good and loving therapist) may (hopefully) allow us to release the pain of our past and remove many of our blocks to the warm and nurturing emotions we have or once had within us and live life with a more open heart.

But that is not enough. As Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us (paraphrasing): “A soft heart offers us no protection against a soft mind.”

Thus even if we reach a place where we are (once again) much more warm-hearted, affectionate, empathetic, compassionate, caring, kind, we are still not yet loving.

Loving requires more.

Genuine loving also requires an explosive growth in terms of our own self-knowledge, wisdom, insight, and discernment. When we are on the road to becoming truly loving, we are constantly learning, noticing, reflecting, examining ourselves, digging ever deeper into ourselves and uncovering our underlying motives and fundamental assumptions and payoffs.

When we are on the path to becoming more truly loving, we are at the same time becoming psychologists and philosophers in the truest sense—philosophers, meaning “lovers of wisdom,” and psychologists—meaning dedicated students of the mind and soul.

Until we become dedicated students of human nature and of our own nature—and committed to learning without ceasing about others and ourselves and our own patterns and tendencies and biases (as well about what it means to be mentally healthy and be fully born as a human being)—and until we become dedicated fully and continuously to becoming wiser, more insightful, our ability to Love genuinely will be very limited and tenuous at best.

Real love is much more than a feeling. Real love requires that we overcome loving reactively and in a quid pro quo or tit for tat, like for like, way. Real love also requires that we take on and deal with many of our lazy and selfish tendencies—our receptive and unproductive and parasitic/dependent tendencies.

Genuine love also requires that we be able to give wisely, consistently, that we be able to not just invest ourselves—which is hard enough—but that we be able to extend ourselves beyond what would make sense to most people—that we learn how to love in a more extreme way and in more extreme (outside our comfort zone) situations—that we learn how to love difficult people, unsightly people, people who we think may not deserve our love or time or attention—people where we think our time and efforts may be water down the drain.

“Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.”

― Thomas Merton

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About John

I am a married, 46-year old, Midwesterner, with four children. My primary interest is in leading a very examined and decent and Loving life; my interests that are related to this and that feed into this include (and are not limited to) -- psychology, philosophy, poetry, critical thinking, photography, soccer, tennis, chess, bridge.
This entry was posted in Conscience, Courage, Dependency, Differentiation, Emotional Maturity, Generosity, Love is Not a Feeling, Martin Luther King Jr., Mature Love, Mental Health, Real Love, Self-Extension, Spiritual Growth, Thomas Merton, Truth, Waking Up, What is Love? and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Why Real Love Is So Difficult & Rare

  1. bipolarmuse says:

    Love, for me, is a very touchy situation. I am very spontaneous with who I “love” when in fact it is not love at all… more like lust. And of coarse, I fall out of lust just as quick as I fell for it.
    Sometimes I feel that I put my guard up to protect myself from “loving”, with the exception of my children. I had mentioned this to my therapist, that I have such a hard time loving someone and that I felt like perhaps I have a very warped sense of what love is… and he told me that I may just be that way because of my traumatic past. I am trying to love now… it is very difficult though and i have a very hard time letting my guard down. Sometimes I feel I am meant to be single my whole life… though that is not exactly what I want.
    Thank you for this post. Gives me much to think about.

    • John says:

      Thank you very much for reading and for your very thoughtful comment. And I’m glad you found my post to be thought-provoking.

      You wrote that you think that perhaps you might have a bit of a warped sense about what love is. I think that is true for most of us—for 99.5% of us!

      I think 99.5% of us are more or less in the dark about what Love really is.

      I think that at first almost every one (me included!) tries to intuitively define love as a feeling—as this super-intense and overwhelming feeling. And so we run through person after person, one relationship after another, looking for that AMAZING chemistry!

      But I really don’t think that that super-intense feeling is actually love. I think it’s limerance, lust, infatuation, romantic attraction, addiction, fusion, merging; and I think that whatever it is it’s an incredible intoxicant!

      But I don’t think it’s Love, because it’s not really about the other person—it’s only really about how the other person is making us feel. And so what’s going to happen to how we treat the other person once we no longer feel the same way about him or her—once the other person no longer makes us feel so intense, alive, happy, giddy? We will likely discard the other person just as quickly and easily and glibly—and even intensely—as we tried to seduce and merge with the other!

      Whenever love is a feeling—whenever love is defined as a feeling—ultimately the other person is expendable, discardable, even replaceable.

      And that’s not love.

      Because it’s not about the other person; rather it’s primarily about ourselves and how we “feel” primarily, and the other person secondarily or as a means to that. In other words, the other person serves as a prop or a tool—an intoxicant—as a way of making us feel better, more alive, less unhappy, what have you. And when that effect wears off, then so too will our use and our desire for the other person.

      And he or she will be taken for granted; or discarded, ditched, abandoned, cheated on, et cetera.

      And all because the other person is no longer as intoxicating.

      But genuine Love (in my best opinion) is about the other person—at the very least Love is about putting the other person one the same level as ourselves and treating another as well (hopefully) as we treat ourselves, as well as we want to treat ourselves and ought to be treating ourselves. Genuine Love means giving the other person the same consideration and high regard that we give ourselves, wanting the best for him or her just as we want the best for ourselves.

      When we truly Love ourselves, we are acting in a healthy and growth-oriented way towards both our present and our future self. We’re not indulging our present self at the expense of our future self. When we really are Loving ourselves, we are doing (trying to do) what’s best for ourselves both right now and for our future selves—for ourself in the future—tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, et cetera. In other words, when we truly love ourselves we may have to say No to ourselves today (perhaps several times) so that we don’t run up a lot of karmic expenses (psychological and spiritual, and even literal/monetary expenses and consequences) for ourselves in the future.

      Of course, the other HUGE variable in all of this is that whenever two people meet, usually one or both people are disguising themselves, sending out their curb appeal false self, their representative (as Chris Rock calls it in one of his comedy bits). One and usually both people are presenting themselves not as they really are, and not even as they really want and or intend to ever genuinely become; rather both people are presenting themselves in the way they each think they need to in order to be desired, wanted, presentable, deemed sex- and “love”-worthy by the other person.

      And so the problem with this is that when one or both people disguise themselves like this—when one or both is defrauding the other like this—the “real” person underneath that each actually IS can be a real bastard or bitch to deal with—a real pain in the ass and not at all like the person they first showed up to the relationship (or party) as.

      So what to do all about this?

      The only thing one can do when presented with such a cluster-eff of a situation as this (where most people are tending automatically toward relating to each other in some semblance of this)—become the change you wish to see! That’s all any of us can do in this situation! Either we continue as we are and continue being part of the problem, or we get wise, we educate the heck out of ourselves (a long process, a “long apprenticeship,” as Rilke put it), we read the books (the right effin’ books, a la “Good Will Hunting”), we do the writing and reflecting and inner work that is also necessary, we nurture and grow our conscience and our intellect and our spiritual-side, and we become part of the solution and raise the bar on what Love actually IS and we start engaging other humans in this way.

      “There is only one way in which one can endure man’s inhumanity to man and that is to try, in one’s own life, to exemplify man’s humanity to man.” – Alan Paton, “The Challenge of Fear,” in Saturday Review, September 9, 1967, pg. 46

      We all start out as beginners in Love, we all start out knowing very little to nothing about what Love actually is. And we all start out likely with some fairly faulty and errant ideas about what love is.

      And we can either do nothing about this and lead essentially an unexamined life and instead just “follow our hearts” without ever really consulting our heads or our souls or God or our conscience or what’s best in us.

      Or we can approach Love the same way we would approach any other endeavor we would like to get better at and become more proficient at and perhaps one day even master—we can start putting in our 10,000 hours, and take it up as a course of study, as if we were trying to get an undergrad or a Master’s degree in the subject.

      “We are born for love, but it will die if not nurtured. We are all born with God-given,
      unique traits and skills. But, as with all possibilities they will remain unrealized unless
      they are developed, nurtured, and put into practice. You may have
      the ‘capacity’ to love, but if left undeveloped, you will never gain the ‘ability.’
      Love is life. And if you miss learning how to love, you will miss life.”
      – Leo Buscaglia

      “We take love for granted. We assume we are all perfect lovers and all we need do is wait and our love will grow and blossom as readily as a flower in spring. Not so. Love doesn’t grow unless we do. It takes patience, knowledge, experience, determination, and every positive trait we possess. A life of love is one of continual growth, where the doors and windows of experience are always open to the wonder and magic that life offers. To love is to risk living fully.”
      – Leo Buscaglia

      “How do we create healthy, loving relationships? . . . By caring enough to work on them as diligently as we would if we wanted to perfect a game of golf, or tennis, or become a gourmet chef. These things don’t just happen. They require continual work.
      Yes, we are born for love, but it will die if not nurtured.”
      – Leo Buscaglia

      Thank you again for your very thought-provoking comment! In fact, I think I may end up re-posting much of my response as a new post.

      I hope you are well. Warmest regards,

      John

  2. Cat Forsley says:

    BEAUTIFULLLLL +++
    I wish more PEOPLE WOULD WRITE THIS NAKEDLY ABOUT LOVE ———-
    “HARDWIRED ” …….
    INTERESTING …….
    I THINK THOUGH —– RATHER FEEL THAT WE ARE MADE OF LOVE – TO LOVE ……….
    IT’S TOO MUCH FOR SOME PEOPLE – AND THEY DON’T “GET ” IT …..
    THAT LOVE IS AN ACTION WORD – HENCE —– COM- PASSION – WITH LOVE …..
    I am enjoying Reading you !!!!!
    You may like this essay on Love i wrote 🙂
    http://catforsley.me/2011/11/09/all-love-soul-mates-by-cat-forsley/
    Great style And UNIQUE voice you have ….
    Best – Cat xx

    • John says:

      Thank you, Cat, for the very kind comments and to the link to your essay. 🙂

      First off, I agree, I wish more people would write nakedly/honestly about Love—about what they think love is and why they have come to that conclusion. And then I would hope that those people would be open to sharing those thoughts and opinions with others, and discussing them openly and fearlessly (even when different, perhaps especially when and where they differ).

      I just don’t think that most people put much real thought into what Love actually is. Everyone just goes full-Disney with the idea and starts making Love into this romantic end-all be-all ideal. And that’s not LOVE!!!!

      In fact that (likely) false ideal—that Hollywood / fairy-tale idea of love where love is defined as a feeling–gets us (gets we humans) into all sorts of problems and heartbreak. Love—real love—is soooo much more than a feeling. And in fact, to actually genuinely love another requires that sometimes we may need to act contrary to our feelings, especially when we’re not feeling particularly loving. At those moments we come to a fork in the road: do we choose to act in alignment with our feelings (and thus act out on our feelings), which may be rather negative and unloving; or do we choose to act contrary to our feelings and act in a genuinely Loving and caring and kind and decent way toward the other person. Such a moment shows us what we’re really about, what our true colors are—are we really selfish and unloving and fixated on our own feelings at the expense of those around us? Or are we truly heroically trying to climb out of the psychological crib and act as we ought to act and as we would want to act if our negative feelings weren’t clouding us and our judgment over?

      Thank you again for taking the time to read and to for your very thoughtful and kind comment!

      Kindest regards,

      John

      • Cat Forsley says:

        BRILLIANT —————– WHAT YOU JUST WROTE THERE ——- AN ESSAY RIGHT THERE – SOFT POWER IN THESE WORDS AND MANY QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED . ! THANK YOU FOR THE INSPIRATION …..
        🙂 CAT

      • An Kha says:

        Thank you very much for writing so clear about your paragraph, as other have said, the way you using your word and the way you write are very straight forward. I have cry a lot due to your paragraph. I am the kind of person who desparately love to watch all Fantasy Love such as true Love will never fade or anything and such but then now I have realize is not really all about feeling , more than about feeling. I have once act selfish several times… but I constantly cry about her 1/ Her Love was so strong and beautiful to me so i can’t leave her , 2/ My conscience won’t allow me to do so… I decide to be with her , like you said , it is like going up and down. I feel so jealous about her how can she be so happiness with me , often time i wish i born out to be girl so my feeling toward to my love is always happiness , what I get from is very comfort , trustworthy , warm , and pleasant happiness , what she get from me is tremendously happiness , many time i look at her face , i just wish i can be like her . She is my first Love . She older than me 2 Year old. She is super Beautiful. If I may say who is the person in the world i have seen so far… i would pick her. She is that perfect woman. many time i have always thinking about her and sometime i ask myself ” Do I still love her? ” , i pretty sure I still care about her , i still jealous and get the annoyin feeling when she went with other guy but i don’t really know if i still love her. i would love to say all the thing out right here and share with her right now but i am afraid i will hurt her again… seeing her face in hurt is the worst thing i dare not to think about that… it is so painful to think of that >.< I would rather see her face Smile at least i can feel happy from that but… broken her heart is definately no no…. that is like broken my own heart… and beside , i would rather she love other guy so then she leave me without broken her heart , in other word , i would be happy that she dump me… so then i don't have to worry about broken her heart… but i am so afraid that i lost her……

  3. granbee says:

    I really zoomed in on this paragraph:
    Genuine loving also requires an explosive growth in terms of our own self-knowledge, wisdom, insight, and discernment. When we are on the road to becoming truly loving, we are constantly learning, noticing, reflecting, examining ourselves, digging ever deeper into ourselves and uncovering our underlying motives and fundamental assumptions and payoffs.” These actions described here, this very hard work, is what is helping me to live out the Thomas Merton quote. Bless you for your inspiration and extreme helpfulness here!

    • John says:

      You are more than welcome!

      And many (most?) of my posts have this aspect to them—becoming more aware of ourselves—especially our biases and weak spots—the plank or wooden beam we each have in our eye—and that we each MUST (a) become aware of, and (b) deal with if we are to become more Loving, more Godly, better human beings.

      We cannot truly love another or others unless we are self-aware or are becoming more self-aware or more mindful in this way—in a way that allows us to more potently face and confront ourselves. We all have an “ego” or a nexus of blind-spots based in fear, shame, past hurts, even perhaps based in our basic badness (original sin; ignorance; impulsivity and reactivity).

      In fact, so many people talk about “ego” yet really have no idea what the term means in a spiritual sense (as in Buddhism or Christianity).

      One of the easiest ways to figure out if a person (or even ourselves for that matter) is an ego or is really making the effort to rise above one’s ego is to look at how a person deals with opposing opinions—does a person refuse to look at themselves and proceed to wall out those whose opinions differ from his or her own? Or does a person slow down and honestly look at their own thoughts and opinions. —In other words, is the person leading a truly examined life, which above all includes examining their own opinions, especially when prompted by others. M. Scott Peck talks about this beautifully in “The Road Less Traveled” where he talks about “openness to challenge” (http://www.esm.vt.edu/~sdross/text/challenge.html). When a person is TRULY dedicated to something beyond his or her own ego—when a person is truly dedicated to truth and Love (real love, not romantic love)—what in spiritual circles is called being a real warrior—then a person is always open to looking at him- or herself and their own actions. Yet this is just what the ego prevents us from doing this—it doesn’t want us to look at ourselves with any clarity or honesty; it doesn’t want us to see our own biases or how we may have less than noble ulterior motives when we’re trying to do something good. It doesn’t want us to see our own contradictoriness and how we are saying one thing and doing another and trying to rationalize our weaknesses as strengths and play fast and loose with the truth and with spiritual concepts and ideals. The ego wants to keep us each in the dark about all of this.

      But until we start becoming aware of our own blind spots and our ego, and until we start dealing with our ego—our own particular reactive and patterned ways of avoiding truth and reality that keep us in the dark—the wooden plank or beam in our own eyes—our capacity to genuinely Love another, not to mention ourselves, will be seriously compromised!

      I hope this finds you well. And thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment! 🙂

      Warmest regards,

      John

  4. Liza Vassallo says:

    Remarkably astounding, your writing can evoke and does cater to the emotions.

    When you write “Loving is not natural. It’s not what we naturally do or are.”

    You sparked within me the subtle suspiscion I have lived with that humans are a hybrid of beast, animal, saint and sinner whereby we are needy for affection, recognition, community and support. Our lives all take different paths but we all search for a higher feeling of peace, security and validation.

    I can go on about love being a “natural” emotion embedded in our psyche because as children we crave attention, affection and acceptance from our parents and when we reach puberty and are not as cute and as accommodating; we transition this love or need for attention, affection and acceptance in the romantic sense, blending the sexual craving and hunger encoded for our animalistic drive to reproduce and then call it love because some of our minds have been trained to serve the clouds, the spirit, the divine, the powers of promotion of peace, security and validation.

    Yet there is still power that drives everyone. A power to influence or be to be recognized or to just find and serve our purpose.

    Women and men face roadblocks to love when money, will and surrounding influences push and our hunger for security, peace and validation override the needs of love but of survival. Women and men sometimes get into relationships to not be alone, to not be a leper of society or to validate their existence; for some love or obtaining a partner/provider and having children is their only sense of reward they can reach for.

    • John says:

      Hello Liza,

      Thank you for the very kind words and the very thought-provoking comments.

      I think that warmth and affection and attention are very powerful and natural “needs” in us, especially when we’re young. And even when we’re grown most of us still enjoy affection, warmth, attention—these things tend to add sweetness to life.

      And as adults some of us (some people) become a bit more discerning, choosy, even persnickety, about who we receive these things from and how, and who we give it to and why; while some of us (some people) were perhaps very deprived of these things (affection, warmth, attention) in our upbringing and so as adults some of us tend either to seek them indiscriminately and constantly yet give them inconsistently and in a stingy way (some of us give in order to receive, and once we start receiving, we want more and more and tend to give less and less in order to continue receiving. To exchange affection and attention and warmth in this distorted and unequal way makes a person an “emotional vampire” or an “emotional parasite.”) or some of us tend to shut down, isolate ourselves, build up layer upon layer of self-protective wall (layer of neurosis upon neurosis), or some of us tend to give and give and give and give in very quirky ways and get little in return.

      A lot of the mystery of love gets cleared up once we cease trying to pin it down to being a certain emotion. Affection, lust, limerance, infatuation, romantic love—these are all feelings and feelings that we try to pin down and label as a real type of love. But not one of them is really Love.

      Whenever love is defined as a feeling, it ends up being self-referential—about how we feel—and not about how we actually treat the other. Whenever love is defined as a feeling, the other person is valued more as a means than an end, and is treated (mistreated) accordingly.

      But real love is about valuing and treating the other person as an end in themselves primarily, and not just a means (or a tool or a prop) to some end for ourselves.

      Whenever we’re treating another as a means more than an end, we’re actually mistreating that person, and we’ll get grumpy and angry and resentful and bitter and even nasty whenever the other person is no longer making us feel so terrific and high and loved.

      But real love is much more than all of that self-centeredness and using of another. Real Love is about valuing and treating another human being as being worth more than what he or she does for us or provides us with (emotionally, psychologically, financially, etc).

      And it’s that aspect of Love that makes Love so foreign to most of us. We’re born as selfish creatures—the will to live, self-preservation, and all that. We’re all born egocentric, narcissistic—not to mention irrational, emotional, reactive, impulsive, blind to ourselves, and with an external locus of control.

      Thus why Real Love is something we have to learn how to do. In order to learn how to love and how to treat another as an end in him- or herself (as more than just a prop or a tool), we have to develop our consciences and we have to overcome (or at least seriously temper) our reactivity, impulsivity, blindness to ourselves and to how others see us; and we also have to develop our reason, our forethought, insight, understanding, our listening skills, and some measure of proactivity and a semblance of an internal locus of control (be the change we wish to see). And thus in order to learn how to Love well, it will require that we learn how master and govern and regulate ourselves—especially our emotions, and that we focus ourselves and our life in a specific direction—in an upward direction of something good (Godly, virtuous) and larger than the self (ego; something that transcends the ego).

      Thanks again for reading and for commenting Liza, and my apologies for the long overdue reply!

      Kindest regards,

      John

  5. Liza Vassallo says:

    I appreciate the response, again very thoughtful and I am grateful I was the catalyst to your impromptu reply. I know I triggered that and feel thankful for igniting our connection. Love is a lesson; ever growing and it develops as we individually take the response ability to explore and discover our patterns of behavior; how we connect or deflect. Continue to tune in, your expression of love does not confine or define; it teaches, so thank you for being you with us here.

    • John says:

      Thank you again for more very kind words, Liza. And it’s always great when two people can give each food like this for thought. I know that it’s what I aspire to do with my posts–to provide some real food for thought. I’m glad it resonated with you, and I appreciate the food for thought in return!

      Kindest regaqrds, Liza,

      John

  6. Liza Vassallo says:

    Reblogged this on Liza fills, feels and falls for the silence. and commented:
    Profound yet easy to follow; the layers of what we call or what we pursue as this thing named Love.

    • John says:

      Thank you very much for the reblog, Liza 🙂 I appreciate it and I hope it resonates with others as well and that the message spread forward!

      Warmest regards,

      John

  7. This is wonderful. Your wisdom is much appreciated. Real love, yes, very hard work. It does require overcoming a lot of what is not natural. I couldn’t agree more. But if we can just do the hard work the rewards for both people are significant, actually nearly immeasurable. But of course it doesn’t stop there, it spreads to others. That’s what will change the world. The mindfulness of being LOVING, even if we don’t feel love right at that moment! Excellent. Thank you.

  8. Pingback: Why Real Love Is So Difficult & Rare (updated 12-26-2012) | What Is Real True Love?

  9. Anonymous says:

    explainable

  10. Pingback: Love *Is* Difficult | What Is Real True Love?

  11. olgatodd says:

    Thank you for stopping by!

    Have a wonderful day 🙂

  12. ‘And as adults some of us (some people) become a bit more discerning, choosy, even persnickety, about who we receive these things from and how, and who we give it to and why; while some of us (some people) were perhaps very deprived of these things (affection, warmth, attention) in our upbringing and so as adults some of us tend either to seek them indiscriminately and constantly yet give them inconsistently and in a stingy way (some of us give in order to receive, and once we start receiving, we want more and more and tend to give less and less in order to continue receiving. To exchange affection and attention and warmth in this distorted and unequal way makes a person an “emotional vampire” or an “emotional parasite.”) or some of us tend to shut down, isolate ourselves, build up layer upon layer of self-protective wall (layer of neurosis upon neurosis), or some of us tend to give and give and give and give in very quirky ways and get little in return.’
    This especially resonates with me. Thank you so much for all your words. Thank you also for placing the words in a nonjudgmental fashion. God (if there is one or many) knows the wrongs in me and my negativity, my tendency to care primarily about my feelings, the ‘self righteous’ the self pitiful way i have been for the last so many years. The way you write, there seems to be hope for every one of us on the path to becoming loving selves who are not only open to receiving, but also equally, if not more so, giving. Thank you. A long long way for me to go, a plenty of rewiring to be done inside. Hope I have it in me to be unconditionally loving someday. Thank you:)

    • John says:

      Thank you, Little Sunshiners, for reading and commenting. I am glad that you find something helpful and hopeful in my words, so thank you for the very kind words. Best wishes in your journey,

      John

  13. Joshua says:

    Beautiful Article. Written by a very wise and well learned person. Genius.

  14. red says:

    I agree that love for humans is not natural since the fall in the Garden of Eden. We originally were made in God’s image of Love but severely damaged that image in the fall. That is why it is so difficult to love correctly now. But light shines in the darkness for all to see and move towards which is the grace and Love of God. You are correct that Love transcends feelings from the human heart since we are not the origin of Love….only God is. The closer we get to God (here is the journey, learning, etc.) the more He will help us understand what love really is. He loved us first…he is the originator, author and creator of human love. Without him we will never have a chance of knowing or understanding what love is…the real stuff.

    Thank you for giving us such an inspiring subject to discuss.

  15. TheBestHonestAnswerEver says:

    Well today we really are living in a complete different time which years ago it was very easy finding love in the old days which today it is very extremely difficult. Our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, certainly had it so much more easier for them as you can see. And what is very sad is that much more marriages are ending in divorce which years ago many marriages lasted much longer. And for us good men out there looking for love which now with much more women these days that are very high maintenance, independent, selfish, spoiled, and very greedy, really speaks for itself since most women in the old days had to struggle like many men to make ends meet which today many women do want the best and won’t settle for less. Times have really changed which i just had mentioned in the beginning of my comment, since many of us men don’t make the kind of money that many of the career women are making today which really does make it difficult for many of the women to accept us for who we really are since it is all about money for them. A very excellent reason why many of us good men are still single today which we really can’t blame ourselves at all since many of us are Not single by choice.

  16. fourgeaud says:

    I absolutely loved your article, truly enlightening. Shame it isn’t in French though 🙂

  17. David says:

    I agree with this post. I am young. I’m 24. I consider myself to be very observant. I know what real love is. And i know it is difficult and rare. But I’m at a stage in my life where I find myself asking this question: is it worth it?
    To love like this. To put all your energy and effort, your time and strength, pouring yourself into others, when you don’t expect anything in return. Is it worth it? I have been struggling with this concept for months now. I know that to be the recipient of this type of love is heaven. But to be the producer of this love… how can it be done? What if there is only pain for them. Is it worth it?

  18. Pingback: Why Real Love Is So Difficult & Rare – thecreativeenvironmentalnetwork

  19. Brooke says:

    Hi, I find this article and your ideas to be very interesting and thought provoking. I also agree with a lot of your ideas. Love is not a feeling, it is an action. Love is also being able to give and not be selfish. But isn’t everything we do selfish? Every act we do for others — isn’t it inherently selfish? I feel it is very hard, if not impossible, to escape being at least somewhat selfish. When giving for others, people expect something in return or at least hope for something in return. And even if they don’t want something in return, they have a sense of charity and a pride-boost for being “selfless”. It makes people feel good to give, so in that case, giving is also selfish. At least that’s the way I see it. And even if you truly care about another person and want the best for them, aren’t you expecting or wanting the same in return? And if you don’t expect or want the same in return, then maybe that’s what love is — not wanting happiness for yourself but for those you love. And yet, I cannot help but think that love is selfish. Although it shouldn’t be, I feel like it is. And I suppose that’s what this article is about. Opening people’s eyes and making them see that love shouldn’t be selfish… as hard as it is to over come every tiny bit of selfishness. But is it all bad to be selfish? I don’t think it would be, it keeps us caring about ourselves at least. And through an evolutionary perspective, being selfish preserves yourself and keeps you safe, so it’s only natural that selfishness would continue to be an inherent trait. So I think Love has both aspects of selfishness and selflessness. And that’s okay, because it’s important to give for who you love, but it’s also important to make sure the person you love looks out for your best interests too. Otherwise you can be stuck in an unhealthy or abusive relationship with someone who you love but doesn’t love you. So I think love is a balance. You have to be willing to change and fix your own flaws and be able to truly want happiness for another person, but you also have to know when and who it’s right to do that for. It’s important to protect yourself as well as fix, and change yourself.

  20. Johnny says:

    “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.”

    ― Thomas Merton

    That did it for me.

  21. liz says:

    That is totally the authors opinion. I disagree on this. If this is true, then anyone can do it. But not many people fall in love naturally. If this can happen, then you can choose any partner and be with different kinds of people and give love to every and each one. But true love is only for one. The one that actually stole your heart.
    No wonder over reproduction is a problem because you can “love” whoever the heck you want. Real love is not like that. It doesn’t take efforts to be with them because you naturally love them and no matter what happens you’ll still choose them.

  22. Very Extremely Hard To Find A Real Good Old Fashioned Woman Today says:

    The real Good old days certainly had much better women than today which back then Most were very pleasant, had better manors, a very nice personality, and very Easy to meet as well. Today Most women are very Pathetic with a very Serious Attitude Problem, Not nice at all to meet, and are the biggest Cheaters of then all. Enough said.

  23. And The Truth Is says:

    And real love in the good old days was really very real back then which our parents are living proof for many of us that are so very blessed to still have them around today.

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