I feel love is not just about enjoying each other's company. It's more about caring for the other person and always longing to see them happy. But in this endeavour to see them happy, we tend to get hurt most of the times. Is it true that we can love any other person only when we stop loving our-self?

Is there a discussion in ethics that essentially argues that the love of self should be subjugated to the love of the other?

  • I think that Aristotle's discussion of what a friend is is a pretty good take on what love is, supposing it to be true that "a friend loves at all times." He says that a friend is someone who will do what they believe to be in your best interest, for your own sake. Seemingly Aristotle doesn't make any normative statements about whom you should befriend, though. Jun 28 '18 at 0:10

First note that there are different kinds of love:


Secondly, how would you quantify love? Is it simply there or not, or is it measurable along a continuous scale?


Notwithstanding, consider parental love primeraly being expressed in caring for a child. The parent need to take care of themselves, or risk leaving the child destitute. Similarly the happiness of a loved one is rarely served by neglecting one's own happiness. In short, there is a strong case for:

Love yourself before you can love another.


We human beings care about other people's opinions on us: The majority of people will not obtain their self-esteem by a personal belief that they are consistent with their idealistic image for themselves, but rather by other people approval and confirmation. For example, if my idealistic self is nice and kind, therefore i want other people to see me so, but if my idealistic self is violent, therefore i want other people to see me as so.

From this perspective, when i love someone, this means that i'm completely sure that he sees me as i want to be seen and does not see me as i do not want to be seen.

This need for approval could seem subjective or trivial, but no it is not, that's because the urge for self-esteem is universal.

  • interesting answer, thanks. this loveless person would see it inverted, though, that i see him as he wants
    – user34105
    Jul 30 '18 at 17:46
  • Oh, do not ask, “What is it?” Let us go and make our visit. In the room the women come and go Talking of Michelangelo.
    – user34105
    Jul 30 '18 at 17:55
  • i would like to upvote this twice, i find it quite beautiful tbh
    – user34105
    Jul 31 '18 at 15:45

From a systemic-interactive point of view, love is a common interaction. Nevertheless, its mechanism is commonly misunderstood.

An interaction is an exchange of something between two entities. There are two parts: what the subject receives, and what the subject delivers (you are the subject because you are assessing the interaction, and she's the object of love).

The most common notion of love is love as receiving. The subject gets attention, care, sex, etc. It cannot be controlled, ergo, it is a passive form of love. It does not require nothing, it is egoistic, and tends to enforce self-esteem. People commonly thinks of this variant as the meaning of love. Sadly, if the subject is focused on this perspective, love will dissappear for sure. It is not really an interaction, so, the object could soon get tired of giving and not receiving.

The other perspective is love as giving. Of course, this is absolutely controllable, it is an active form of love, and it requires effort. It does not give nothing to the subject, nothing, except the pride of giving. It is not easy to perform, requires patience and constance. Of course, the object of love will feel pleased.

But here's the magic of human interaction: any action creates a tension, and our human nature demands us to relieve tensions in order to survive. So, if you give love, the other person will feel good, and if she's a normal, sane and mature person, will feel grateful. Gratefulness can be relieved only by mirroring the action, that is, performing an equivalent reaction.

The consequence of this natural behavior causality is obvious: if the subject receives love and returns less than received, the object will soon lose interest and the interaction will end. On the contrary, if the subject gives more than received, the object will get permanently engaged in the relationship.

But wait, you don't need to wait until receiving something to start reacting. You can be the causal generator. You can start giving and always give more than received (at a certain point, you will feel that her life is more important than yours, that's just part of the process, but it does not imply stop loving oneself: just having a lower priority than the other). As said, if she's mature, love will never end. Eureka, that's the real recipe for love: choosing a sane and mature interacting partner, and always give more than received. In fact, that's the same recipe for economic development and any other interaction. You can find all this on my last book.

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