To Love or to Be Loved: Which Is Better?

Titlepic: To Love or to Be Loved: Which Is Better?

Some people might be better off by focusing on being loved, while others may instead focus on the art of loving. This post outlines these two options.

KEYWORDS: Abraham-Hicks, appreciation, beliefs, emotions, feelings, happiness, law of attraction, love, philosophy, psychology, thoughts.



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The question of whether to focus on “to love” or on “to be loved” is a very good one. For it really highlights the everyday struggles people have with their “place” or “position” in the world.

Therefore, this article is not just for those who are trying to master the Law of Attraction, but is meant for all sincere people on the planet.

It is my hope that this article will bring some clarity to the question, which might then lead the reader in the desired direction. As always, if one only knows what one’s options are, and have a solid understanding of the pros and cons for each option, one’s decision-making process will typically be quicker and easier.


There are many reasons why this question of “to love” or “to be loved” is so important. First there is the “why one or the other?” question; then there’s the “who should I be” question; and then there’s also the “Who am I?” question. So let’s look at all of these now here in Part 1.

Why Love OR Being Loved?

Some people may think that the question posed in this article is silly. To such people it may sound as if it is trying to artificially make an argument that has nothing to do with “real life”.

And I can understand that viewpoint. Sure, contrasting two concepts like that (i.e. “to love” and “to be loved”) may seem, to some, just like a rhetorical device or something. Or maybe they may think that there is some philosophically unsound argumentation going on, that it is some type of “false dichotomy” or “false dilemma” or “false alternative” fallacy that is being presented.

For if there actually are more alternatives than just two, then the original presentation of the argument may suddenly have no force. And I am well aware of this.

But the common-sense view of “to love”and “to be loved” that so many people are subscribing to may be problematic for various reasons. And this is especially true for people who often are involved in “people-pleasing” behavior.

Therefore, there is really something at stake here. Is following the common-sense view going to do the trick? Or do I need to make some adjustments in order to get a better life?

Who Should I Be?

Another important question here is this one: “Who should I be”? For participating in society is always a play, of sorts. There is always a role that one is assuming in order to interact with other people (and not always the same role when meeting person A, compared to meeting person B). So this then begs the question: Who should I be, for this person, in order to…?

For most people this role-playing is automatic. This is because every established relationship (romantic, work-related, family, etc.) is more or less already set in stone, in terms of the power dynamic between the parties, and the roles that they play.

So the question “Who should I be?” rarely comes into focus when meeting people that one already knows, since the respective dynamics between people who already know each other is already more or less determined by previous meetings. It is well rehearsed.

In other words, having once entered into a relationship with someone else, it is very hard to later substantially change its power dynamic. This is why, in romantic relationships as well as in career and job-related relationships, the only way to change that dynamic drastically is to separate, and then renegotiate the conditions, for a possible reunion.

However, for new acquaintances (romantic, or otherwise), the relationship dynamic is NOT set in stone yet. And that raises the question: “Who should I be, in order to…?”

So the idea here is that one must decide what one wants from that other person: what is my goal? Should my role be such that I am flirty, in order for the other person to love me? Or should my role be stern and business-like, in order for the other person to pay his long-standing debt to me?

In other words, for a person who prioritizes being loved (as most people do), he or she typically must ask himself or herself: Who should I be in order to get the stuff, or the result, that I am looking for? What role should I play in order for them to love me, or like me?

Or should I stop being so concerned with being liked and loved?

Who Am I?

While the previous question (“Who should I be?”) is a question that is very pragmatic and goal-oriented in nature, the question “Who am I?” is not. So why bring it up, if it’s NOT very practical in nature?

And as if that weren’t enough, some may say, why use this question at all, since it is typically formulated either by pessimistic existential philosophers in the West, or by representatives from the Eastern philosophical and religious traditions, some of which are practicing severe austerities and a surrender to “brahman” or to some divine idol like Shiva, Vishnu, Buddha, etc.?

The answer to such objections is this. Knowing more about the “Who Am I?” question may actually help us (a lot!) to become more happy and joyful than ever before. And the way to do that involves the actual answer to this question.

For if we do not know who we really are, how can we decide who we want to be? If the “distance” between who we really are and who we want to be is too great, then it may be too troublesome to get there.

And because it is too troublesome, it will not permit any longer periods of joy and happiness. So by knowing who we are, and why we are here, we may be able to progress toward a much brighter future.

So without having an authoritative answer to the question “Who am I?”, it will be more difficult to determine who we want to be, as well. Or, at the very least, it will be more difficult to determine the best role to play, in order to maximize one’s own happiness at the same time.


The discussion in Part 2 focuses on the concept of “better”: What is it that is being evaluated here? Is it the end result, or is it the way getting there? Or both?

Journey or Result: Which Is Better?

It is quite possible to use the word “better” as an adjective that describes the quality of an outcome or a result. So Action A may be better than Action B if Action A produces a better result.

So if it is merely, or primarily, the result that is appreciated or valued, then Action A would be the best action to do.

However, for a person who does not care so much about the actual outcome of an action, but rather engages in an activity for the pleasure of performing that action, Action B might be better.

And then of course, there might be those who say that they value the journey just as much as the result, which then would create yet another option or category.

The Three Role Models

So we would then have three types of persons with different preferences: Mr Result, Miss Journey, and Mrs Balance.

Mr Result is an alpha male achiever who wants money and fame and social recognition, and who presses on, in anger and fury if necessary, in an attitude of “efficiency” and “productivity”, in order to reach deadlines and to deliver those deliverables.

Miss Journey, on the other hand, is a happy-go-lucky type of person who just enjoys life, and does not care so much about any results or achievements. She just wants a joyous, uncomplicated life so that she can feel good every day, throughout the day.

And then our third person, Mrs Balance, inherits some of her attitudes from Mr Result and some from Miss Journey. So Mrs Balance is not just about the journey, as Miss Journey is, but she also has a certain “commitment” to producing results (as “moral” and people do, in her view), and to thereby maintain her “social respectability” in her community.

The Three Role Models: Mr Result, Miss Journey, and Mrs Balance.
Figure 1. The approximate emotional status of our three role models: the productivity-oriented Mr Result is at N2; the happy-go-lucky Miss Journey is at P2; and the ‘a little bit of both’ Mrs Balance is at N1.

So the upshot is this: For Mr Result, “better” amounts to keeping his deadlines and delivering whatever products he has promised to deliver. Because of his focus on goals, together with his inability to relax and enjoy the moment, and his non-interest in the topic of “feelings” (and the idea of happiness in general), his life will be a constant struggle. He may be loved, or liked, or admired by some. But how good can he really feel?

For Miss Journey, “better” is to have a GREAT day with lots of interesting things happening that makes her happy, satisfied, and joyful. For her, “better” has nothing to do with “productivity” or “efficiency” or “deadlines”. She is a “feeling animal” who goes by instinct and loves every minute of her exciting journey.

And for Mrs Balance, “better” is to keep having “good” days without major disturbances. So as long her community projects go well, and her popularity among her friends and associates is maintained (or even improved), she is fine. So she typically trades strong feelings of happiness for respect and admiration in the community. For her idea is that “everything is about people and relationships”, as opposed to being about “inner work” and the possibility of developing much more happiness, independently of others.


Having discussed the idea of “Better” in Part 2, we now here in Part 3 move on to the main question: Is it better to love, or to be loved?

And the answer to that question depends on which type of person you want to be: Is your ambition to be a new Mr Result? Or are you shooting for becoming a new Miss Journey? Or might Mrs Balance be a better choice for you?

So it all depends on your wants and desires. But, as I have said earlier, in Part 1, deciding who you want to be might be dependent on who you really are, if you can know that.

Naturally, not everyone knows the answer to that question. And even if they did, they may still not take it into consideration anyway. Why? Because most people are not interested in the pursuit of real happiness.

However, for those people who are ready to hear about their spiritual heritage and their purpose, here’s the authorized story from Abraham-Hicks.

So Who Am I, Really?

We all are, in our essence, spiritual beings. In our original state of being in the eternal realm of Non-Physical, we do not have a physical body. Nevertheless, in that state we are already then emotional and thinking beings, who are pursuing nothing but more happiness, more satisfaction, and more joy.

In other words, we are, as Abraham-Hicks say, “liquid love”, personified. Our essence is pure unadulterated, unconditional love. We are “built” to love anything and anyone. That is our contribution to All-That-Is (i.e., the sum total of all material and spiritual universes).

Our job here in the material world is thus, among other things, to continue to love. This, of course, is not entirely easy, but it’s part of the journey that we have signed up for. And when we do not love, we know, intuitively, that something is off, even if we may not be able to pinpoint the exact reason.

So one of the most important facets of our short time here on this planet is that we must continuously keep up our love and appreciation (for other people, for animals, for nature, for our current situation, etc.) going, in order not to suffer.

This means that our innate nature, our “soul”, is that of expressing, outwards, love. So just like the sun, which spreads its powerful light outwards without any demands of getting something in return, we should be shining love unconditionally, without having any demands of other people admiring us, or loving us, or liking us.

We are powerful entities and we don’t need any admiration from others. We are here to explore new possibilities to be happy and joyful, and we don’t need others’ approval or liking to do that. Our job is to like and love, not to remake ourselves into someone that is worthy of being loved. We are already worthy. We just have to realize it.

And Who Should I Decide to Be?

So for someone who accepts this story of our origin as a true story, the choice should, theoretically, be very easy: the “natural” choice would be to choose to be the person that one already is, namely a “lover”.

But in practice it may not be so easy. Why? Because most people are not really interested in pursuing real happiness. Most people are more concerned with their social status, and how they and their own life look in the eyes of others.

And the calculation they may make is that they are not interested in becoming real “lovers”, even if that is their inner and innate nature. For if they give up their people-pleasing behavior, they probably will lose both their friends and their job. Or so they think.

In other words, the choice is this: Social respectability, or true happiness? Friends and romantic relationships, or true happiness? Etc.

These contrasting possibilities may, however, not really be what the future holds. For if a person can raise his or her positivity and happiness, the Law of Attraction naturally will step in and deliver those things that they desire. So eventually, of course, they will have have as many friends and romantic relationships as they want, if they just can increase their positive energy momentum to a place such as that of Miss Journey, or higher.

But admittedly, this may take a lot of inner work, and it may also take years. And that work must be done in a private place for best results. So it is understandable that most people prioritize NOT feeling so good, in order to actually have SOME friends and SOME romantic partners, so that they can show to the world that they indeed have something approximating a so-called “normal” life.

The Common-Sense View

The common-sense view of “to love” or “to be loved” is, in its “official” version a view that, roughly, divides equally between “to be loved” and “to love”. So in this “official” version, the idea is that people spend roughly 50% of their time and energy in a state of loving, and approximately 50% in a state of trying to make others love us or like us.

In my estimation, though, the time and energy used for loving is grossly overstated. My estimation is that at least 80% of the time and energy is spent on people-pleasing maneuvers, and activities preparing for such maneuvers, compared to the offering of unconditional love.

And this is not even counting one’s actual daily work. As I have described in my “Dangerous Jobs” article, certain types of work are connected to a high exposure of negativity. So people-pleasing individuals who work in such places may have basically zero positivity (i.e., love) left to offer either themselves or others, due to their harsh working environments.

So the overarching problem is that, in reality, the common-sense view is basically a people-pleasing philosophy, and much less of a loving philosophy. This means that it is more or less in direct conflict with our innate nature, as “lovers of anyone or anything”.

Therefore, adopting the common-sense view will typically result in a diminishing of the amount of happiness and joy one might experience in one’s life.

How Much Happiness Do You Want?

This means that if being loved, or being liked, or being respected, is a priority for someone, then it may automatically restrict their ability to love. And if our love, and loving, disappears because we simply want to please others (for whatever reason), then life will become a struggle. A struggle to make others happy, while we ourselves may be missing out on all of the good-feeling stuff.

So it all boils down to how much happiness you want in your life. You may develop an incredible amount of happiness if you want, or you may decide not to develop any more happiness than you already have. It’s up to you.

But to be clear: developing real happiness takes real inner work. It also requires, more or less, that one develops an attitude of emotional selfishness.

By this I mean the following. In order to succeed in developing substantially more happiness in one’s life, one must be dedicated to the idea of “happiness”. So in order to see progress, one must, once and for all, prioritize right: the idea of “happiness” must be the main goal, the only thing that really matters.

So for such a person, the main goal is not to be liked by others. The main goal is not to be appreciated by others, or respected by them. The main goal is not to avoid “losing face”, or avoid losing a discussion on a touchy topic.

Rather, for a person invested in emotional selfishness and the pursuit of happiness, the only thing that matters is to NOT lose one’s happiness.

So when other people start complaining about this and that, such a student must decisively act in such a way as to preserve his or her own happiness. This may involve leaving more or less instantaneously, without being concerned about the feelings of the other person.

Emotional Selfishness

The cultivation of happiness is therefore more or less equal to the cultivation of emotional selfishness. And emotional selfishness, in turn, practically boils down to “non-empathy”.

This does not mean that the student is unaware that his or her behavior will be troublesome for the other. Rather, it is the opposite. The student is well aware of that the opposite party may get irritated or emotionally upset by such behavior. But the argument he or she uses is simply that “better that they are upset, than that I am upset”.

The main argument for a student adopting an emotional selfishness way-of-life is simply this: it is the responsibility of every single person on this planet to care for his or her own emotional well-being. We are not responsible for how other people feel. That is solely their own business. How others are interpreting and evaluating and reacting to my behavior is not anything I can affect anyway.

Most people, however, do not think like that. Most people are not subscribing to the philosophy of emotional selfishness. And because of that, they will also never be able to reach the positive half of the negativity-positivity spectrum, where Miss Journey and all other happy people are enjoying their time here on this planet.


We have basically only two main scenarios to play with: to spend our time loving, or to spend our time trying to get loved by others.

Most people are trying to get liked and appreciated by others. This is a “doable” practice for many, since it on many occasions certainly delivers at least SOME results. For people do like other people who are “likable”. So by playing the role of “being likable” or “being lovable” or “being ready to serve others”, it certainly will give tangible results in many cases, and quickly as well.

Another benefit of the “getting loved” philosophy is that one does not have to engage in any mental or spiritual exercises in order to practice it. So it is an approach for people who don’t have the time, or any interest, in engaging in any Law of Attraction workshops or practices.

The downside of the “getting loved” philosophy is that it interferes with our innate quality as “lovers”. So even though the “official” version of the common-sense idea of “to love” and “to be loved” is that both should be practiced equally, it is probably more true to say that this common-sense view actually is mostly a people-pleasing philosophy. If that is correct, then this automatically limits one’s loving capacity. For the more people-pleasing activities one engages in, the less love one has left to offer.

Determined students of the authorized versions of the Law of Attraction therefore typically abandon all, or most, of such people-pleasing behavior. As children of the unlimited creative energy of the Universe, we are, by birth, lovers. We are not born here to seek love from others by making ourselves “likable” or “lovable”. We are here to create new desires, try out new and exciting possibilities, AND to feel good, all at the same time.

Therefore, the question “Who Am I?” and “Who Should I Be?” now merge. The student should be that which he or she already is, namely a lover, not a seeker of appreciation or admiration from others. And that is the only thing that will make him or her really happy, anyway. Real happiness is not about other people. Instead, it is only about you, as a student of Law of Attraction.

But the choice, of course, is still yours: Are you a Mr Result, a Miss Journey, or a Mrs Balance? Do you want friends and relationships more than finding true happiness? Or do you value happiness more than anything else?

Chris Bocay

Copyright © 2023 by Chris Bocay. All rights reserved.

First published: Fri 10 Mar 2023
Last revised: Fri 8 Sep 2023

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