I Love You … I Love You Not

LovebirdsLove is a verb, it involves internal and external action. It is so easy to say “I love you” to someone who is providing what you need in the moment, is pleasing your senses, and is doing and being what you believe is correct. The emotion of love is just that – an emotion. And emotions can be quite fickle, changing in an instant.

When you “feel” love toward another person, your feelings are in control. And what a marvelous feeling it is. “I love him.” “I love her.” “He loves me.” “She loves me.” The words have a lilting sound and the emotion is joyous – until it is not. Then the feeling switches to something more grizzly and sharp, angry and disdainful. Even though just a few minutes or hours earlier you may have been cooing words of love, in this next moment you may react negatively to something that was said or done that you do not like. That delicious feeling of love is nowhere to be found. You are feeling the opposite of love and there is no going back right now.

When love is based on your feelings, it is a precarious situation. The object of your love – your spouse, your child, your friend, your coworker – may feel so good when you are expressing that love and may feel so bad when your loving feelings are switched off. Although you may soon return back to those loving feelings, the other person has felt a twinge of betrayal. You have warned them that you will love when they “do the right thing” and you will withdraw your love when they don’t.

The message is clear. ‘I must be a certain way with this person to keep their love. It is not okay for me to fully express myself. Who I am, the way I think and feel and behave, is not always okay. I need to be careful or I will not be loved.”

I cannot tell you how often I have seen couples in counseling who say the words: “I love her.” “I love him.” But their words and actions, tone and body language express something very different. They say “I love you” but they want you to change the way you spend money, the way you dress, the way you try to please your family, the way you spend time with your friends, the way you show your feelings, the way you don’t show your feelings. In the end, they want you to change the way you are. They chose you because in some way you were a challenge to them, intriguing and interesting, and then they want to change that and shape you into something you are not.

When love is guided by your emotions, by the way you feel in the moment, it is no longer love. It may be lust. It may be passion. It may be insecure clinging. It may even be rage. But it is not love.

When you are actually in the act of loving another person, you allow those wonderful feelings to fill your body and you remember those delicious feelings  in spite of what is happening in the moment.  Your conscious mind takes control. You naturally focus on the other person’s needs, desires and wants, those they have expressed and those that are obvious if you pay attention to the body language. But you are not just focused on their self, demanding needs of the moment.  You are able to see beyond the present moment to what is really needed and desired.  And you are also aware of your own needs, desires and wants so that you give from your fullness and express your truth about what you are unable to give at any given moment.

The following poem express the true sentiment of what it means to love.  The path of loving is not easy and is not easy to explain to others.  Any caring parent can recall those painful moments when their love was strong and their child was defiant.  Adult love relationships are no different.  We are always dealing with a child.  An inner child is just as stubborn and rambunctious as a toddler or rebellious teen.  To love another requires truly and deeply and unconditionally and continuously loving yourself.  Be Who You Are – The Greatest Gift of All

Be Who You AreSonnet 16

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom:

If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

       ~~William Shakespeare


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Dr. Erica

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Dr. Erica Goodstone is a Spiritual Relationship Healing Expert helping men and women heal their bodies and their relationships through love. Having presented her comprehensive relationship healing programs throughout the U.S. and Canada over several decades, she has helped literally 1000's of men and women to heal through learning how to love. Dr. Erica believes "Where There is Love There IS a Way". When you love, accept, listen and pay attention to your body, trust your own sense of what you truly desire, and strive to understand, appreciate and really know the other people in your life, anything and everything is possible.

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20 thoughts on “I Love You … I Love You Not

  1. This is the core of it: “To love another requires truly and deeply and unconditionally and continuously loving yourself.” This is what I teach and it’s the hugest message I want to share with the world. This is such a beautiful post!

    • Leanne,

      You are so right and I am glad you teach this. We can’t hear this enough – to love our self first is the key to happiness and certainly the key to creating wonderful relationships.


      Dr. Erica

  2. Hi Erica,

    Love …. A feeling that thrills you, a feeling that sometimes doesn’t. When we love someone like marriage for instance. That roller coaster feeling my start to fade. But to keep it alive, we can do certain things…like surprises…a night at a motel, etc.

    But love goes so beyond that. To me it is two people merging into one. It is give and take sometimes. But most of all it is unconditional. Especially in marriage. There will be disagreements, but communication is the key. Not yelling or screaming, but rather wait for a rational moment. LISTEN to your partner and bend a little. Because If you really love him, you will.


    • Donna,

      You are certainly experienced at how to be in a loving relationship, how to choose your moments and speak in a way that your partner can hear. That alone is huge. And you also know about acceptance, total acceptance of your partner as well as yourself.



  3. SucjSuch a poweful read. Where do I start with my comment? I’ll go with love being used as a tool of ownership instead an expression of an emotion. Frequently love and “But I love him” are bandied around as if it really means that when you love someone you keep them chained to your bed. I think the phrase that goes if you love someone you set them free is true. When the love is real it’s not a recepticle to contain someone. Set them free and share them is what I say.

    • Sarah,

      Freedom is a powerful word. When we are free, we can decide for our self what we want to do and who we choose to spend time with. Coming from freedom of choice, we are much more able to love fully. When it becomes an obligation, part of us starts to feel resentful. When we feel as if we own someone else and can control the other person, we have lost that loving feeling. Love does = freedom.


      Dr. Erica

  4. Hello Erica
    I was taught to love unconditionally my parents taught
    me to love with no boundaries and when it comes to
    your spouse never go to bed mad always resolve your
    problems before then .

    • Allen,
      What a beautiful teaching at an early age. Your spouse is so lucky to have a partner like you. Most of us have to learn that much later in life, if we are open to learning about love.


      Dr. Erica

  5. Hi Erica, I really enjoy reading your posts. They take me back to happier times and I so wish that everyone would realize how precious life and love is and not “screw it up.”

    Have a great day. Monna

    • Monna,

      So true. Just this past week, one person, a mother of 2 very young boys, was in a horrific car accident with her baby. One minute she was posting glorious joy on Facebook; next minute others are posting for her and raising money. Thank God she and her baby survived, but she will probably never be the same. I think they will now be so grateful for every day. And then last night I heard about a man who died being hit by a car while riding his bicycle. Life really is precious and we need to appreciate what we have and who is in our life, at every moment.


      Dr. Erica

  6. You had me in the beginning Dr. Erica, agreeing. Yet, then I notice that my love and the way it is expressed is the same as it has and will be. I do not use the word each day. We are walk through action speak the true love within a person.

    Words and just that with false feelings behind most of them. People have agendas which are never exposed, just within their hearts. Only God can draw out the hidden feelings, not love. Yet, we pretend each day that if one hears the word “Love” that has power. No, only those who do not understand the emotion and how love really looks with action being done for nothing but a person wanting to do something for nothing, yet does it out of impulse of gratitude. That is how love looks.

    Well, thank you Dr. Erica, I do believe it is based on the training of a person and the heart with character. Training from life experience with that crazy word Love. Being told that over and over again day in and out. That is meaningless and becomes just a word. Yet, not hearing but rarely with receiving acts of thoughtfulness and pure kindness is felt as love. I believe in action of promptings which have no hidden agendas. That truly says “I love you in so many ways”.

    • William,
      You are so right. Even though it might feel good to hear the words “I love you,” many people get really confused by it. On the one person they are being told “I love you” but then the person behaves in totally unloving ways and the person does not “feel”
      loved. Love is a verb, an action, and a way of being. It is not just a word to be used lightly.


      Dr. Erica

  7. The best definition of love I have every heard: “Loving someone is a commitment to holding a high vision of them, even as time and familiarity take their toll.”
    Sanaya Roman, “Living With Joy”

  8. Very nice written ,
    I think love is a word which is used too
    often in not a right way .
    Real love should be unconditional and it feels right .
    To be loved only if we behave in a certain way
    is not real love to me.
    Thank you

  9. Dr. Erica,
    You make a great point and explanation of what love should be. And when it’s not really love.
    I am reading a book called Why You Do the Things You Do, and it touches on this in an expanded form, explains the why’s of this.
    Thanks for your informative article, am looking forward to more like this one!
    I love Shakespeare’s poem…

    • Diane,

      Love is the most wonderful experience in the world, when it is natural and freely given. I strive to be more and more loving, catching myself when those unloving judgements fill my head. But the mind will always create distracting thoughts, so we need to be reminded often of what it means to truly love.


      Dr. Erica

  10. You paint a very clear picture, Erica, of the difference between conditional and unconditional love. The cool thing is that when love is truly unconditional, it’s easy: there is no need to make an effort to sustain it. When it’s conditional, in my view, it’s not really love at all, but need.

    Would you agree?


    • Alan,

      I guess that is what I am trying to say. We either love or we are expressing our needs and requesting, actually demanding, that another person meet and satisfy our needs. It really is that simple.


      Dr. Erica

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