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Love or approval?

Is there a difference between love and unconditional love? If you’re like me, the quick response is “yes.” Upon longer reflection, however, I couldn’t define the difference unless by “love” I meant something other than love.

Sounds strange, right? But as physician, author, and storyteller Rachel Naomi Remen writes, “perfectionism is so widespread in this culture that we actually have had to invent another word for love.”

“All love is unconditional. Anything else is just approval.”

~ Rachel Naomi Remen

Awhile back, I wrote a post asking you, What love thrives in your relationship? Thinking about it in this new context — the one set up by Remen’s quote — gets me thinking that part of what all couples need is more practice at loving each other and less at approving (or disapproving) of each other…giving ourselves the chance to excel at loving our partner regardless of what he or she has done (is doing) or whether or not we ourselves are presently happy or sad.

  • What would it take for you to be (unconditionally) loving with your beloved?
  • In what areas does your “love” really equal approval (or your lack of “love” equal disapproval)?
  • What kind of love-maker do you want to be?

Do add your comments and let’s see how we can all become better lovers and stop wasting so much time judging each other.

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  1. Yes its difference a love and unconditional love because unconditional love is a term that means to love someone regardless of one’s actions or beliefs. It is a concept comparable to true love, a term which is more frequently used to describe love between lovers unconditional love unconditional love and love many means like i love my dog cat etc.

    Comment by Mahal Kita — June 29, 2009 @ 11:18 am

  2. Throughout my 13 years of marriage I have been seeking unconditional love. I truly believed that it was something that my husband could (or should) give to me as my partner in marriage. My husband is very quick to disapprove of things. After reading this post, it is very clear to me that it’s his approval that I seek. Do I really need his approval? Isn’t that within myself?

    Comment by Tiffany — August 11, 2009 @ 2:07 pm

  3. On first thought, I agree that there is a problem. However, that quotation by Rachel is certainly very enlightening; love in itself is unconditional and the others are not. Is there a need to even use ‘unconditional’ anymore.

    Comment by BK — March 20, 2010 @ 1:39 am

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