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How do we learn to love in an authentic way?

How do we learn to love in an authentic way?

May 27, 2024

Since children, the words that we hear the most to conjugate all and that we learn to imitate and use are, in many cases, "I love you", I love you. However, when we subsequently try to obtain in reality, in fact, such conjugation, we find it very difficult to experience it in a healthy way. Unconsciously, our affective relationships are contaminated by egocentrism, jealousy, domination, passivity and other elements that hinder the connection with this verb.

Erich Fromm, in the book The art of Loving, asserts that love is not an easy feeling for anyone , whatever our degree of maturity. "All attempts to love are doomed to failure, unless actively seeking to develop the total personality and achieve a positive orientation."


We all try to be loved, and not to love, and we struggle to achieve that goal. It is inferred that love is simple if the proper object is found to love or be loved by him.

  • Related article: "The 4 types of love: what different kinds of love are there?"

How do we learn to love in our day to day?

For Fromm, you learn to love like an art, interiorizing the theory and practice gradually and with the clear conscience that it is a matter of primordial importance, on whose achievement depends our psychological equilibrium.

According to the author, the only valid solution to avoid emotional isolation is in the achievement of interpersonal union, the fusion of love. The inability to achieve it means insanity, destruction of oneself and others. "Love is the mature solution to the problem of human existence," says Fromm.


At the same time, Fromm sees the immature forms in the "symbiotic relationships" . One of its manifestations happens when we become obsessed with the other and we really convince ourselves that we love, when in reality it is an obsessive process. Therefore, when we say that we are crazy for each other, we are not defining the qualitative or quantitative relationship, much less, the authenticity of love, but rather the degree of loneliness in which we were before we met "lovingly".

In contrast to the symbiotic union, mature love implies union on the condition of preserving one's own individuality. In his work and becoming, the human being is free, is the owner of his affection.

Respect as the foundation of love

Love resides in respect; if there is no respect, there is no love. It is obvious that respect arises from one's dignity, emancipation and freedom . To respect is to allow the development of the beloved person in his own way and not as I want, to serve me, to agree with me, to resemble me or to respond to my needs.


In order to have certainty that we "inhabit" a mature love relationship, it is necessary for men and women to achieve integration between their masculine and feminine poles, a requisite and necessary and sufficient condition to reach maturity in love.

On the other hand, as far as mature love is concerned, the logical fallacy implied by the notion that love of others and love of oneself are mutually exclusive can be highlighted. The truth is that if it is a virtue to love your neighbor as yourself, it must also be that I love myself, because I am also a human being. Love for others happens through love for me.

Love as an act of giving

Love we discover it only in a free, authentic human being , and manifests itself fundamentally in the ability to give. "It's not rich who has a lot, but who gives a lot," says Fromm. Thus, we can distinguish between:

1. Maternal love

Maternal love not only contributes and encourages the preservation of the child's life but must also inculcate in the child the love of life, the desire to stay alive beyond instinct . The "good mother" gives her happiness, her honey, and not just her milk.

Unlike erotic love, where two separate beings become one, in maternal love two beings that were united will separate and, therefore, a healthy mother psychologically and emotionally will encourage and cement the path of his son towards autonomy, respecting him your individuality It is the ultimate test of maturity and maternal love in an extensive way.

2. Erotic love

Unlike fraternal or maternal love, Erotic love is a union with a single person , exclusive and, if it is also loving, means establishing it from the essence of being.

3. The selfish

The egoist does not love himself, he hates himself, has a low self-concept and low self-esteem . Selfishness and self-love, far from being identical, are really dissimilar.If an individual only loves others, he can not love at all; For the same reason, if you only love yourself, you understand nothing about what it is to love.

A reflection on lovers and affection

Satisfaction in individual and social love can not be achieved without the ability to love one's neighbor, without concentration, long-suffering and method. "In a culture in which these qualities are rare, the ability to love must also be rare."

Fromm proposes that we must go beyond the universality of economic interest where the means become ends, where the human being is an automaton; we must build a supreme place and the economy is to serve it and not to be served, where others are treated as equals and not as servants, that is, where love is not separated from one's social existence.


How to love and be loved | Billy Ward | TEDxFoggyBottom (May 2024).


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