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The Role of Love in Personality Theory
Forum Assignment for the Week:
Choose at least three (3) different theoretical perspectives that have been covered in this course to date and discuss how the construct of love is conceptualized by each theoretical framework. How is love defined? What role does it have in development and the human condition? Which view appeals to you the most? Why?
Reply to the following response with 200 words minimum. (please make response as if having a conversation, respond directly to some of the statements in below post.)
While there are many theories that deal with the concepts of love and how interpersonal interactions (or lack thereof) affect our ability to love, I think the three that struck me the most during our course came from Rollo May, Erich Fromm, and Abraham Maslow.
Rollo May posited five different types of love from an existentialist point of view: sex (lustful or pleasure-seeking), eros (procreative love), agape (unselfish love that stems from devotion or wellbeing of another), philia (brotherly love or liking), and authentic love (encompasses all the other 4 types of love). May noted that will and love must be intertwined for an individual to fully experience authentic love – if will isn’t present during love for another, it may not be long-lasting or meaningful.
Erich Fromm, from a humanistic approach, offers his stance on love as being an art – it requires knowledge, effort, and experience to not only love others, but love oneself as well. He also stressed that love allows us to still be individualistic in our personality and characteristics, but that love also keeps us from isolation. This is especially important, as love will continue to develop as our personalities and interactions continue throughout our lives.
Abraham Maslow's pyramid of needs included love as the third rung, after food and order. When those two needs have been established and tended to, love can begin to take hold in an individual. His concepts of "B-love" and "D-love" are extremely interesting. B-love refers to "being love" - the unselfish, unconditional love that comes after one has self-actualized and can take on the care and concern of others. They can help their partners also reach self-actualization, which further fulfills their need to love. D-love, or deficiency love, is needy, selfish, and immature. It's difficult for D-lovers to truly love another individual, as they are stunted in their quest for self-discovery and actualization.
While I think all of these theories have valid, strong points, I think of Maslow's B-love and D-love categories as the most impactful. It makes sense that if an individual is comfortable in their own skin, which includes the difficult task of loving oneself, only then can they truly give unselfish and unconditional love to another being. All of these theories involve a certain level of maturity (emotional, psychological, etc.), which comes from continuous interaction with others and the development of a healthy personality.