Dear Donor

It created some discomfort within me when I heard people talk about being grateful for love, but I didn’t know exactly why. I couldn’t agree with it, but I chose not to dwell on it at that moment and just ignored it. Recently I revisited that thought and realised exactly why it bothered me. [Now, I don’t mean to ruffle any feathers, rub anyone the wrong way, etc.; I realise that you may not share this perspective, so if you read on, do so with an open mind.]

I don’t believe one should be grateful for love. I believe love, like everything else, is earned by one’s values, by one’s actions, by virtue of each quality one has which deserves to be loved. Love isn’t charity; it’s too valuable to just be given away. Love, like respect, must be earned and in the most honest manner. One can’t pretend to be a different type of person, or behave in a manner foreign to one’s nature to obtain love.

If you work hard to earn an honest living, would you be grateful for your wages? Wouldn’t you believe that you deserve to be paid because you’ve earned it? Surely, if a person loves you, it’s because you deserve to be loved, isn’t it? You aren’t being granted a favor, are you? Maybe you’re lucky to have found the person who recognises the qualities that earn you the right to be loved, but in no way does that warrant gratitude!

Once this is realised, it’s easy to not compromise your person, your values and all the things you hold important. We all live our lives differently, but if and when you reach this understanding, you won’t love someone unless they deserve it, unless they have earned it! When that person does come along, there will be no compromise.

Edit: It must be clarified that the love between a parent and a child is different in that they did not consciously choose each other.  Ideally, the parents would see in the child the manifestation of their own values, morals and ideals; that is not always the case and there are parents who love their child regardless…and vice versa. But in any event that is a unique relationship, with different motivations and expectations.


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  1. My Musings

    Hello there! There are several facets of love and of gratitude. There is the unconditional love that a mother has for her child, and sometimes vice versa, but that’s about it for unconditional love. You are right, real love does not ask for compromise or for gratitude.

    “Love is far too precious to be offered indiscriminately. Love represents an exalted exchange–a spiritual exchange–between two people, for the purpose of mutual benefit.

    You love someone because he or she is a value–a selfish value to you, as determined by your standards–just as you are a value to him or her.

    It is the view that you ought to be given love unconditionally–the view that you do not deserve it any more than some random bum, the view that it is not a response to anything particular in you, the view that it is causeless–which exemplifies the most ignoble conception of this sublime experience.

    The nature of love places certain demands on those who wish to enjoy it. You must regard yourself as worthy of being loved. Those who expect to be loved, not because they offer some positive value, but because they don’t–i.e., those who demand love as altruistic duty–are parasites. Someone who says “Love me just because I need it” seeks an unearned spiritual value–in the same way that a thief seeks unearned wealth. To quote a famous line from The Fountainhead: “To say ‘I love you,’ one must know first how to say the ‘I.'”” – Gary Hull

    Or as Ayn Rand said “Love is an expression and assertion of self-esteem, a response to one’s own values in the person of another. One gains a profoundly personal, selfish joy from the mere existence of the person one loves. It is one’s own personal, selfish happiness that one seeks, earns, and derives from love.”

    Once you find the person that has the same values as you, your heart will resonate with the discovery and you will love.

    • Karishma

      I have recently become a bigger believer in the unconditional love a child has for his or her parents…than vice-versa.

      That’s a great comment, you should put it on your blog, quoting mine.

  2. Santosh George

    Interesting. However, I think there are those who love others even when they don’t deserve it. Like parents or spouses who love even when the recipient of the love is undeserving. I’m sure you’ve heard of instances where a person is absolutely wretched but is still loved, seemingly unconditionally, by someone else. More often than not that love changes the recipient. And, maybe that’s why the person is so grateful for the love s/he received when s/he was so undeserving of it.

    • Karishma

      Interesting thoughts; you made me stop for a moment and think. You are absolutely right, there are people who love even when the one loved doesn’t deserve it. With parents, yes, that could be the unconditional love they have for their child. But in any other relationship the reasons need to be examined then. The whys of the love are important, just as it is for emotions such as anger, jealousy, happiness. I would suppose those reasons behind loving and being loved speak of one’s own values (i.e. of the parties involved) more than anything else.

  3. My Musings

    On more reflection on the subject, I take back what I said earlier. All love is conditional. A mother’s love for her child is based on the fact that it is hers and that it was a part of her. The child represents love, family, continuity, the future……. Let’s say the child started hitting the mother or abusing her, would she still love him/her? What happens when the child perpetrates atrocities on others, would she love him for that or in spite of that?
    Similarly children’s love for parents is conditional on the fact that they are the people that brought them into the world and nurtured them. Sometimes it is based on the gratitude they have for what their parents have done for them.
    Negative values in either would not deserve love, for example if parents were abusive, violent. Then to say we love them regardless begs a contradiction, and contradictions don’t exist.
    One has to go back and seek the definition of love in order to understand. Sometimes the term love is mistaken for caring, acceptance, need, gratitude etc.

    • Karishma

      That’s sort of what I was telling you over the phone the other day. It isn’t unconditional when you get down to the root of that feeling of love a parent has.
      You’re right, the word “love” is used too casually, too easily…for those other feelings you’ve mentioned. It’s so much easier for an undeserving individual to say “But I love you!” instead of “Oh, how I need you!”

  4. Sid Sharma

    Can I please say the last word?

    Love has NO CONDITIONS what so ever.
    That is love.
    Anything other than that is conditional and is not love.
    Love is not having to saying sorry. Love is accepting a person as one is is, lock stock and barrel. Love is the silence between two people who love each other.
    Love is the most ab-used word (don’t miss the hyphen) in the world.
    Love is the pain you feel in the palm of your hands, Love is simply love.
    Pronto. Period.

    • Karishma

      If that were true, each person would love everyone in this world. It isn’t so because there are reasons we love someone, we have standards and, as mentioned, love is too valuable to be given away like charity, or to bestow on somebody. It isn’t true that love means never having to say sorry. Being human, we all make mistakes so apologies must be forthcoming in the event one errs. And to love is to make it right if we have hurt somebody. Saying sorry doesn’t mean two people don’t love each other, it means they love each other enough to want to better a hurt they may have caused, or admit they were wrong in whatever way.

      If you say love is accepting a person as he or she is, then we must get down to the basics: Why is that love there in the first place? Why do you feel love for this person? There has got to be a reason to it.

      The problem is that we all don’t question reasons and don’t look for them. We don’t want to think, it would lead us deeper and we would have to get into the whys and whats and hows of it all. It is considered so much easier to leave it at “It is simply so, who knows why?” or “Love is blind and knows no reason.” or even “The heart wants what it wants.” But there’s a reason behind it all! It isn’t abstract, random madness! Then again, really, who wants to think that much these days, hm?

  5. My Musings

    I agree, there is always a reason, it’s understanding those reasons that it deficient. So when a person says “I love you” and cannot say why, what the reasons are for loving, then it’s probably some other emotion that’s really not love. It’s a superficial emotion many times, and that is what leads to the discord we see in relationships.

    The word “unconditional” is also misunderstood often times. The conditions pre-exist in us as our values, the things we hold dear to us. When you love another you recognize those values in them, and feel one with them.
    Love is harmony, a meeting of minds and hearts. Love is not abusive or angry or violent. Love is understanding and giving and caring, and caring enough to be able to say sorry for inadvertent behaviors that hurt; deliberate behaviors such as infidelity, abuse, just show that the emotion felt is not love.

    But people that exhibit such behavior also feel that they should be loved as is and, that having done such things, should continue to be loved as they are. “Love me for my faults” is what I have heard several times. The people that say that know they are not deserving of love but want it any way; they will not be able to love another as they do not have self esteem, refer back to my quote above from Gary and Ayn Rand.
    It is such expectations that give rise to the numerous violent and abusive relationships in the name of love; the husband that beats his wife and then comforts her, holds her in his arms, tells her how much he needs her, that she should not make him angry, and how much he loves her. But he will not say sorry, because “love is never having to say sorry”. These are the contradictions that if understood in the early days would make so many lives easier.

    “There’d be so many hearts contented, there’d be so many less in pain, so many would be less afflicted, if only people would begin to understand” – Anonymous medley


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