To Love and be Loved is to feel the sun from both sides. ~David Viscott

Do you prefer to Love or be Loved?

It sounds like a relatively simple question. It isn’t. Think about it. Ponder it. Dig deep. Initial reaction is to respond with “a bit of each,” but that doesn’t count. It’s cheating. As humans, we have an inherent nature to do both, but I can guarantee that if you spend enough time in introspection you will discover that your preference does indeed lean in one direction or the other. To Love? To be Loved?

In order to answer the question honestly and with reflection you may find it necessary to do a little research or, at the very least, define Love as you know it. We are bombarded by sources of information daily, hourly, minute-by-minute in our society that claim what Love is and what it can be for you and how to find it. Do me a favor. Pay close attention. Don’t allow yourself to be led astray. Even my favorite location for word knowledge, the dictionary, is not going to help you with this one. Trust me. Look up ‘Love’ in that esteemed tome and you will likely be disappointed. Here is a taste:

1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child or friend
3. sexual passion or desire

No wonder we’re all screwed up. There are a myriad of definitions for ‘Love’ in the dictionary but not one of them comes close to how I perceive it. First of all, ‘Love’ is a verb (not a noun) and the only definition given as such within the dictionary (without an object) is, “to have Love or affection for another person; be in Love.” Oh yeah! That’s a big help. Love is a choice. It can be created. To be able to create something is a powerful action. It is not simply about affection, feelings, passion and desire. In true Christian fashion (because some things are just ingrained) I flipped from the page that defined ‘Love’ to the word ‘Agape’ just to see what it said. I skipped past the “Love of God for humankind” part and to the relevant definition: unselfish Love of one person for another without sexual implications. Well, it is closer. I know. I know. Right about now you are referencing I Corinthians 13 in your head, aren’t you? Yeah. Me too.

Back to the initial question: Do you prefer to Love or to be Loved?

Me? I’m a Lover. Why? It’s simple. I’m a coward. It’s easier to Love. It’s far simpler for me to give Love. What? It’s true. As long as I’m giving of my Love than the focus is on the individual who is receiving the Love … not me. Mother Teresa once said, “The success of Love is in the Loving – it is not in the result of Loving. Of course it is natural in Love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done.” To me, the relationship my ultimately fail, but if I give of myself … if I Love as I know I can Love … then my Love has had value. It has meant something to someone.

Those individuals who can answer with 100% honesty that they prefer to be Loved are much braver than I. Robert Frost wrote, “Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.” There is some truth in that. We all want to be Loved. However, to truly allow someone to Love you all barriers have to be dropped. Walls must be broken down. You must allow yourself to be vulnerable. I detest my vulnerability. Again, I am a coward. I don’t like to let people in. I am worn out. I am tired. I am jaded. I have been hurt one too many times. I have misjudged what Love really is one too many times. Ultimately, my inability to let those who would Love me into the deepest core of my being will result in my loss. Who knows what I will miss because I allowed myself to be caught in the ‘Illusion of Love’ too often.

Deepak Chopra penned the following on

“Part of success is not becoming caught in life’s illusions. A fool for Love …

To create a fantasy and fall in Love with it is folly, to become trapped in an illusion, in Love with your own projection. It also makes one vulnerable to those that would fuel it. Soon reality impedes upon the illusion, crumbling it, and one becomes distraught and who you thought they were, was only in your mind, or what one thought was, is not. I guess the desire to be in Love can blind one to reality. Better to not create a fantasy and live in the present being aware of those that would feed the fictions in your mind. Most relationships are really just an illusion."

Do you prefer to Love?
“Because when we Love, we always strive to become better than we are.”
~Paulo Coelho

Do you prefer to be Loved?
“You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.”
~Barbara DeAngelis

You decide.

“Love is as much of an object as an obsession, everybody wants it everybody seeks it, but few ever achieve it. Those who do will cherish it, be lost in it, and among all, will never … never forget it.”

“You know when I said I knew little about Love? That wasn't true. I know a lot about Love. I've seen it, centuries and centuries of it, and it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All those wars. Pain, lies, hate... It made me want to turn away and never look down again. But when I see the way that mankind Loves... You could search to the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful. So yes, I know that Love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing, and... What I'm trying to say, Tristan is... I think I Love you. Is this Love, Tristan? I never imagined I'd know it for myself. My heart... It feels like my chest can barely contain it. Like it's trying to escape because it doesn't belong to me any more. It belongs to you. And if you wanted it, I'd wish for nothing in exchange - no fits. No goods. No demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing you Loved me too. Just your heart, in exchange for mine.” ~Stardust, Film (2007)(Written: August 25, 2007)


  1. What an excellent subject, excellently set out! I started getting somewhere in my life, belatedly, when I realised that it was my great unsatisfied need to be loved. In discussions about love on other forums, being loved didn't even feature in people's rather pompous or insincere (as I thought) definitions and opinions. So I was fascinated at your view that wanting to be loved is somehow courageous. Well, yes, if it means that you have to let your barriers down and be seen for what you are, that is the price I have paid: to be vulnerable: not that I think of it as letting people in. Much as it annoys me I am still the same profound introvert as before. I think it is my physiognomy: a face that looks forbidding and cannot easily smile. And that is habit. Much is habit. Transplant a tree from a clifftop to a secluded garden and it won't straighten up. Only at the growing tips . . .

    I do love. My loving is diffuse though: for places, for memories, for nature, for the creation. Yet I love a person: with faithfulness, laughter and lust, in a late-flowering, final pairing of mutual love whose depth and security fills our world and spreads outwards as a model of hope, though quietly and modestly (and in this case anonymously!)

  2. It may be anonymously ... but at least you have found that you can, indeed, love.

  3. If love is sanity, could in~love be in~sanity?

  4. I prefer to be loved
    rather than being a fool and falling in love

    when u love some one u r vulnerable
    and u invariably get hurt in the end

  5. That is why I laid out the question that way ... most of us are one or the other. Vulnerability is always a scary thing!

  6. the whole wide humane feeling are entangled with this verb.its should be a balance between them- give love and we do expect the respect of the unconditional love in race existed without the feelings.oresle all of us wouldn't have enjoyed the world peace.-Kavitha

  7. But, is it truly being loved letting someone know ALL of you? Or, for that matter accepting someone whole heartedly for who they are equate loving them? Would that satisfy the needs of romance, passion and devotion mutually?

  8. Love your space. To feel the sun from both sides you must be open to the pain of love, given and received - that is life, that is living.

  9. A tough question, handled beautifully. I'm still thinking about this. I reread it and still don't know what my answer would be.

  10. Love is all things and all things are love-love is first love is last I love

  11. Hope you are well. See you've not posted for awhile. Maybe too busy loving and being loved? I admire you post. Just shared it with a special friend who is half way around the world, far away from me, more than geographically. Best regards,

    Steve in Atlanta

  12. i think everybody wants both to love and to be loved.

  13. I have loved deeply and I have been hurt deeply, when the question was asked - Do you want to love or be loved? - this made me ponder my thoughts and I quickly realised I want to be loved, I do not see wanting to be loved as courages either because I see myself now as a coward. I am afraid of hurting again and it is for this reason I want to be loved, but I only want to be loved with someone who I know I could easily love myself, it would have to be compatible love. There is no use in anyone loving me if I cannot love that person in return. I have been told by a person whom I loved deeply the reason he hurt me not only emotionally but physically too was because he loved me - I have never heard of love like this before, infact I do not call this love I call it controlling. I made a mistake and it hurt me very much emotionally and physically - this is why I am now afraid to love, yet I yearn to be in love and to be loved. I will most probably never know real love and I do get jealous seeing people who are madly in love with each other. I have just watched a movie where the girl in the end got her man and they ended up having a fairytale wedding, they looked so happy - on the other hand there I was blubbering in floods of tears wishing that was me too! I need love and I want love but I am scared.

  14. I wanna be loved by the one I love... Isn't this feeling quite natural... If we are not getting anything in return from the one we love, then it may lead ourselves to feel that, hopefully something myt be missing wth the way we love , that's y we are being kicked off how hard we try nu... A sort of I inferiority... Evnthough we know that , its nt gud to have complx inferior to the one we love... We are digged into it without even letting a chnc to get through...

  15. I do love a man and what I receive in return is , yelling and scoldings by nasty words all the time.. But I do know that he loves me a lot , but if this is all the way he could express things off... Then its hard to cope with.. Wanna do evrythng he says to, wanna act upon his mental mood, not evn capable of expressing wat atcually need to nu.. Will be like a terror giant for 23 hr 59 min ... And then being extremly lovely for the rest one min a day... Still my mind will be set cool by that 1 min of calm speech... All I need is his care , bothering, love and understanding...

    How can we be patient all the time? How can we keep mum always? How long can we loose our self respect?
    How long can I bear myself being treated like a trash or treated like nothing...
    How long can I weep myself in tears.. I do no the answers for any of these... Am trying.. I wanna make a try.. Bcz I love him...


"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" ~Walt Whitman


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