Love is not just an emotion. It is a decision, a crisis, a promise to ourselves. Love is a lot. If love were just an emotion, it would not make sense to promise that we would love one another “forever.”
These and many more are mentioned in his book “The Art of Love” by the German psychologist and psychoanalyst Erich Fromm. In this article we will analyze some of the most important quotes from his book about love. Enjoy!
However, most of us do not know how to truly love. It may sound absolute and somewhat gloomy, but let’s also think about the social context in which we live. After the end of World War II until today, there is a big gap of values. The crisis, from then until today, in all its manifestations, has proceeded and is proceeding in a value, existential crisis, making thinkers, philosophers, psychologists and all of us reconsider our ideas and values.
In any case, however, love was, is and will be the driving force that, in its normality, should encourage us to be better people. Of course, in order to achieve this, we must work hard with ourselves, our personality and our personal development. Thus, we may be able to love ourselves first and then others. This journey requires true humility, courage, dedication and discipline. We have them;
Love is not and should not be a passive act, where we just let things and situations go, without doing anything else. Instead, it is an act where joy is mixed with actions, willingness and the need to share unselfishly.
Therefore, we are called to come down from our pink cloud and strengthen our relationship, which asks us to make every effort to walk hand in hand with the same ideas and recreate it on a daily basis.
“Immature love follows the principle: I love you because you love me. Mature love says: You love me because I love you. Immature love says: I love you because I need you. Mature love says: I need you because I love you. “
– Erich Fromm-
The above quote is not limited to love relationships. It has more to do with the way people relate to their own society, that is, to “love” more than necessity or to prefer to “love” in such a way that they are deprived of something altruistic and true. love for their fellow human beings.
In terms of this type of love, which is based on need, rather pathological, it means that we do not care for or understand ourselves. This implies the expectation that others will take responsibility for what we do not want to do. Which is actually our responsibility.
“The first step is to realize that love is an art, just as life is an art. If we want to learn to love, we must proceed with it way if we want to learn any other art, such as music, painting, carpentry or the art of medicine or engineering. “
– Erich Fromm-
“If two people who were strangers … suddenly let the wall between them fall and began to feel and discover each other, this would be one of the most fascinating experiences of their lives. “
– Erich Fromm-
Here we are talking about intimacy. The miracle that usually begins with attraction and which is consumed with a deeper encounter that transcends the skin and sexuality itself. We are talking about an emotional connection, discovering another person with all its nuances, virtues, imperfections and essence. We talk about the intimacy that slides hand in hand with confidence, the contact that makes us shudder or a relaxed and nostalgic conversation that seems to come from the stars themselves.
“Love is not just a relationship with a particular person. It is an attitude, a guidance of our character that determines the type of a person’s relationship with the world as whole, not with an object or a person. “
– Erich Fromm-
People tend to see love as an object and not as an ability. Love is not something that is limited to the relationship we create with our partners, our partners, our parents or our children. “Love” enriches our existence, it is an attitude capable of giving meaning to this world, a resolution capable of transforming our society. However, as Fromm explains, in this modern culture we have commercialized everything with a willingness to satisfy our own needs and that includes love.
In other words, “If one person loves only another person, and is indifferent to others, then his love is not love, but a compromising attachment or a maximized egoism.” -Erich Fromm-
This is one of the most famous phrases of Erich Fromm and one of the most problematic. As we already know, one temptation we often succumb to is to “throw ourselves” into a relationship, especially when that relationship is in the beginning. It is a degenerative process that ends up destroying our identity and consuming who we really are, along with our freedom and dignity.
We must not forget that the real art of love is to be ourselves, but also to move forward with our partner, having the same commitment, being each responsible for his own development and relationships.
For Fromm there is a big difference between falling in love and staying in love. He thinks that if the relationship starts with sexual attraction that then ends very quickly in the act itself, then the bond that the couple has is in danger.
To develop a mature, wise and responsible love we must work in 4 key areas: 1) care, 2) responsibility, 3) respect and 4) knowledge. However, in many cases, we end up in love without any intimacy based on mere need – a need that is satisfied with the sexual act. This is a one-time love. Passion can occur, but it is easily confused by a lack of trust and by not knowing the other person well. It is a love that never takes shape.
On the other hand, whoever knows how to overcome the initial sexual attraction and excitement and wants, will try to create a real intimacy, will try to be like a craftsman, turning love into a real, mature and courageous love.
So, ending up with these quotes from Erich Fromm, we learned that love is not just a “subject” where we have to learn both practice and theory. The art of love is both an active and a responsible attitude towards life and society itself. It is a transformative force that requires awareness, not compliance, and that requires creativity, not passivity.
Based on his work “The Art of Love”, by Alexia Stathaki, AUTh Psychologist