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Can love really change the world? Why is love important in all aspects of life?
Love is a powerful emotion that builds bonds and encourages positivity. This warm feeling extends beyond the romantic type of love, as it serves a purpose for families, society, and your own self-image.
If you want to know why love is important in the world, continue reading.
The Role of Parental Love for Children
The first reason why love is important is that it helps children grow into mature and capable adults. This is due to parental love. In Eric Fromm’s view, as written in his book The Art of Loving, there are two archetypal types of parental love: maternal and paternal. (Fromm clarifies that these are archetypes, not descriptions of how any real-life mother or father loves their children.) However, parental love is a unique case because neither maternal nor paternal love is truly genuine on its own; rather, when these types of love combine, they create the capacity for genuine love in a growing child.
To understand this, we need to define maternal and paternal love. Fromm believes that maternal love is unconditional. The archetypal mother loves her children simply because they exist, not because they accomplish anything in particular or conform to any outside expectation. According to Fromm, this kind of love makes children feel secure: They know that, no matter what mistakes they make, their mother will always love them. However, this type of love isn’t truly genuine because it is fundamentally one-directional: A child can never love her mother as selflessly as her mother loves her.
On the other hand, Fromm believes paternal love is conditional. The archetypal father loves his children only as much as they live up to his expectations. This type of love inspires children to work hard, obey, and ultimately excel. However, this type of love also isn’t truly genuine precisely because it’s conditional.
While neither of these types of love is truly genuine on their own, Fromm believes that throughout a typical childhood, they combine to produce genuine parental love. At first, very young children focus solely on maternal love; its presence or absence defines their world. However, older children are more focused on trying to earn paternal love through their behavior and accomplishments. Fromm argues that children who grow into well-adjusted adults learn how to internalize both these forms of love: They see themselves as unconditionally worthy while still holding themselves to high expectations.
Importance of Romantic Love
At the basis of all other emotions within a relationship is the sensation of love, says The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. When you feel loved in a romantic sense, you feel less pressure, less alone, less anxiety, more secure, more confident, and more important.
Deep love gives you poise and strength.
- If you are loved, you feel secure in your relationship. Security allows you to argue without fear.
- Security allows you to feel free to be individuals outside and within the relationship.
Love can ease anxiety about the future.
- When you are in a loving relationship, you feel as though you have someone by your side. Confronting the future is easier when you have someone to do it with.
- If you feel unloved, you may feel your partner has the power to destroy whatever bits of happiness you do have. You may begin to resent your relationship as an affront to other areas of life that bring you joy.
Love is not a solution, but a catalyst for an atmosphere created in which positive interactions are fostered.
Love as Reproduction
Diotima, who taught everything Plato knew about love, suggests that the purpose of love is reproduction, either in a physical sense (creating a child) or a mental sense (creating virtue and wisdom). Modern interpretations of love suggest that reproduction isn’t the sole reason why love is important, but it’s a big one. According to Symposium, creating physical or mental offspring is the closest a human can get to becoming immortal (and therefore permanently having good things). An individual’s offspring will live much longer than they do—physical children will carry on parts of their ancestors, and great works of art, ideas, or virtuous acts are often remembered long after the death of their creators.
Diotima emphasizes in particular the importance of mental children—a great work or great deed lives far longer than any physical child and therefore brings its parent closer to immortality.
According to Diotima, everyone is pregnant in some way—every individual has the potential to create physical or mental offspring. However, people can only give birth in the presence of beauty:
In a physical sense, beauty excites people to seek out suitable sexual partners and makes them happy and relaxed enough to engage in sex (or, later on, childbirth).
In a mental sense, a beautiful body or beautiful mind inspires new ideas. Particularly, Diotima suggests that a beloved with a beautiful mind and body can inspire a lover to birth excellent intellectual offspring. These intellectual children are speeches on virtue or wisdom that make up the educational component of a pederastic relationship.
Love’s Role in Society
According to bell hooks’s book All About Love, love isn’t just about improving individual relationships. Another reason why love is important is that it holds the power to transform entire societies.
hooks contends that the United States suffers from what she calls a “culture of domination,” a culture that values power and control over everything else and in which privileged groups and individuals exploit and marginalize others, perpetuating violence, inequality, and dehumanization.
hooks argues that the cultural norm of valuing control in the US, characterized by a relentless pursuit of power and materialism, emerged as a response to the disillusionment and loss of faith in a genuinely democratic society following the nation’s involvement in global conflicts during the 20th century. She explains that people started believing that true happiness and fulfillment could be achieved not through building relationships and being part of a community, but through acquiring more things and satisfying selfish desires for pleasure and material wealth.
According to hooks, materialism and greed inhibit love and connectedness because they breed a culture of narcissism in which people are encouraged to prioritize their own needs and desires above all else. This culture violates the spirit of community that’s essential for human survival and often justifies acts of dehumanization and exploitation. In response, hooks calls for the need for a radical reimagining of love as a core cultural value, one that challenges oppressive systems and nurtures compassion, respect, and empathy.
Why Humans Need Self-Love
Showing love to everyone and everything is essential, but the most important feeling of love you can have is for yourself. You can’t feel good when you don’t love you.
Remember the Golden Rule to treat others the way you want to be treated? Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret says self-love is the reverse of that. When you don’t treat yourself the way you want others to treat you, you are creating a powerful message: “I am not worthy. I am not deserving.”
- If you don’t love yourself, it means you think you aren’t lovable or worthy of love.
- If you don’t treat yourself well, it means you think you don’t deserve to be treated well.
You will broadcast those messages to the world, and more people, situations, or events will be attracted to emulate those thoughts.
When you feel bad about yourself, you’ve boxed yourself in with negativity. All the good waiting for you in the world is trapped on the outside.
- Criticizing yourself or thinking bad thoughts about your life places you on a frequency with one option: attract more people, situations, and events that will continue to prove you right.
- If all you see is the bad, those are the only pictures the Law of Attraction—the idea that your thoughts attract the things you want—can reflect back.
- If you can think of what you like about yourself and begin to focus on those things, the Law of Attraction will pick up that signal. You will be provided ways to see or find more good things to like about yourself.
By beginning to treat yourself better and loving who you are, you are shifting to a frequency of feeling worthy of love. The Law of Attraction will move the entire universe to create experiences where you are loved and respected.
To truly love yourself, you must focus on the powerful presence inside you.
- Find a quiet place. Sit and relax. Put your focus on the life presence inside of you. (If this doesn’t make much sense, just try it for a few minutes. Focus on the good being within you.)
- As you focus on your power within, you will begin to understand it, see it, and feel it more.
- Anytime you feel your critical eye scanning yourself or your life, switch your thoughts to the power you hold within. Its perfection will become undeniable.
- Imperfections in your life will disappear because they cannot exist when you feel the perfection of your power within.
Of course, love isn’t the cure-all for everything wrong with the world. But spreading love is a start to creating a state of peace and improving relationships with yourself and others. That’s why love is important—without it, the world would be a negative place with little hope for the future.
What are other reasons that explain why love is important? Let us know your suggestions in the comments below!
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