Love is Not a Bargain

Have you ever asked yourself what love truly is?

In his book “Loveability,” Robert Holden answers this question quite eloquently. First, he reminds us of everything love is not:

Love is not an act. Love is being able to be our real selves.

Love is not idolatry. Love can only exist between equals.

Love is not special. You can have an exclusive agreement in a particular relationship, for example to be monogamous, but you can only love somebody as much as you are willing to be a loving person and love everyone.

Love is not selfish. “To love is… to will the good of another.” (Thomas Aquinas). True love is unconditional. It is not about what we want from somebody else but about what we want for them.

And last but not least, love is not a bargain.

This seems to be the one principle we most need reminding of. It is so common in our day and age to talk about giving and receiving in relationships and how there needs to be an equal balance as if we are talking about deposits and withdraws from a bank account. Instead of giving freely and without expectations, we tend to ask, “How much love am I getting out of this relationship”?

I am not saying we should not be honest with ourselves regarding whether a relationship works for us and if our needs and wants are met. If they are not met, we need to find a way to express them clearly and lovingly and make sure we are meeting our needs.

However, if we approach a love relationship with the question, “Am I getting as much love out of it as I am investing into it,” we have already signed the death sentence for that relationship. Ultimately, both partners will end up dissatisfied about giving too much love or not getting enough love. Giving conditionally is not love. Love is not a thing to give away. It is a way of being.

At one point in my life, I dated a gentleman who kept a careful tally. One of his favourite expressions was “I did this or that for you, and I am disappointed/hurt/unhappy that you haven’t done this or that for me in return.” As you can imagine, I didn’t stay in that relationship very long. His inability to give freely sadly killed any joy of giving on my part as well. I felt myself turning into a tally-keeper myself. I started giving grudgingly instead of giving out of love and joy and then letting it go, trusting that from somewhere in the Universe, the energy of giving would return at some point.

Love is not for sale or exchange. It does not cost us anything to give love because giving love is really just being loving. From that place of being loving, we feel like giving a favour, a service, a compliment, a gift, physical touch or our time without expecting anything in return. The joy lies in the loving and giving itself.

Even after all this time,

The sun never says to the earth:

“You owe me!”

Look what happens with

A love like that!

It lights the whole sky!

– Hafiz



Life and Belief Change Coaching


Making Somebody Feel Unloved

Have you ever made somebody else feel unloved because you felt like a failure and pretty much unloved yourself?

I have. In fact, just a week ago I made one of my children feel really unloved. My daughter lied to me, or rather, avoided telling me something she should have told me. I felt that I had spent a couple of years when she was little teaching her that she won’t get into trouble if she tells me the truth right away. I thought we had made it through a phase of lying and to a place of trust.

Here was the Universe testing me. I have to admit I failed. When I realized the extent and consequences of her avoiding to approach me with a problem, I went into a place of feeling really disappointed. I allowed myself to feel like I failed to teach my daughter that she can trust me. I felt very angry, mad at her but even more so at myself for having trusted her. The Ego stories had a hay day, just because I allowed myself to go into a place of feeling “not enough”.

From that place of feeling unloved I responded, making her feel unloved in return. My words were hurtful and sharp. I did exactly what she was expecting and why she hadn’t approached me to begin with. I stepped into a power self of anger and into being the authoritarian parent. I told her I would from now on be “on top of her” and check up on her.

When my anger had subsided and I realized what had happened, I had to go back and make amends. I explained my understanding of triggering each other’s feelings of being unlovable. I apologized for making her feel unloved. She still has to carry the consequences of her avoidance and exactly that will be her learning to make a different choice next time. However, there was no reason for me to take her lie as a personal attack and create an atmosphere of unloveability.

I also set a new intention to trust her again. I promised myself to respond with loving kindness and understanding should she again choose avoidance over being proactive and telling the truth. Because trust cannot be born out of mistrust; feeling lovable cannot be born out of feeling unlovable, and lying is the result of not feeling safe in the love of the other person.



Imagine This

“Imagine this. One day, our children will learn about love at school. They will take classes in love and self-esteem, explore the meaning of “I love you,” learn to listen to their hearts, and be encouraged to follow their joy. It will be normal for parents to help their children learn how to love and be loved.” (Robert Holden, Loveability)

For a couple of weeks, I have contemplated which subject to choose for my 100th blog. I wanted it to be a topic which is close to my heart and which is meaningful to lots of people. My choice fell on “Love”.

Is there anything more ever-present than love? By that I certainly don’t just mean romantic love, which is only one expression of love. I mean the heart energy in which we are ideally centred and which we are able to send out to others. I mean the vibration which we need in order to feel safe, grow and flourish.

Evolutionary psychology tells us that love is an essential growth element for cells. Love influences our DNA, helps to build our brain and develop our nervous system.

“… the urge to love and be loved is our primary desire. Love is as important to us as air, water, and food… The more you love and also let yourself be loved, the more alive you feel… Love feeds all our basic desires, including our desire to be connected, to be known, to be safe, to be happy, to be successful, and to be free.” (Robert Holden, Loveability, p. 20/21)

Babies are born embodying the basic truth that we are all lovable. When they grow up and take on the conditioning of our society, we teach them limiting stories about love and about themselves. Stories of how elusive love is, or how difficult to find or keep, or how unworthy of unconditional love they are. As we grow up we literally forget that we are perfect and completely lovable the way we are! We unlearn that we are lovable without conditions, without comparisons, without judgments, without attachments, without needing to “do” anything to be loved. We desperately strive to be “good enough” and hope somebody will love us if we just try hard enough to be “right” and look long enough to find “the One” who can accept us the way we are.

I so often have clients, female and male alike, who are on a quest to find love, to find the perfect romantic partner. However, when we are looking for love, the looking is exactly what is blocking us from finding it. We have to become what we are looking for. “… like attracts like, and if you know that you are love, you’ll feel comfortable about attracting love into your life.” (Robert Holden, Loveability, p. 3)

What does that mean? It means to be a more loving person, to start loving everyone more, to literally step into the energy of love and be love. When you embody love you can’t help but attract more love into your life.

Robert Holden has created a new word by speaking of “Loveability,” a word which might one day be found in a dictionary. He is talking about the ability to love and be loved.

Love is an inner journey. “The goal of this journey is not to find love; it is to know love.” (Robert Holden, Loveability, p. 5) When we feel truly lovable, we are able to love others unconditionally and be loved in the same way. Our capacity to love others influences how much we can love but also how much we let ourselves be loved by others. It determines if we trust love and let love in with an open heart.

I invite you to explore the meaning of those three little words “I love you”. When you say this to your partner, your children, your parents, your siblings or friends, notice what you mean in each moment.

When doing this little exercise I came up with many different meanings. Sometimes I say “I love you” and I mean “I am so grateful to have you in my life” or “I trust you” or “I accept you without judgements” or “I am attracted to you” or “I support you and am here for you” or “I see you with all your strengths and weaknesses” or “I am so proud of you” or “My heart flows over” or “I feel safe with you” or… the list is almost endless. We express so much in our love relationships. We express how much we love ourselves and how unconditionally we are able to love others.

Here is an opportunity to explore your own loveability by understanding mirrors and embracing your shadow sides:

Shadow Energetics Workshop with Darryl Gurney, Sept. 25-28.

Our Vacation Self

Have you ever noticed that we seem to have a “vacation self” and an “every day self”? What happens to us when we go on vacation?

I remember my surprise as a child watching my responsible and serious father turn into a happy and relaxed human being when he was on vacation. I have one photo from the early 80’s in which he is doing a somersault in the backyard of a cottage in England we vacationed in. Up until today I am stunned by his transformation back then.

Just having returned from vacation myself, I noticed how I too, seemed to have a “vacation self”. My vacation self is not one that is doing somersaults—I would probably break my neck-–but certainly is one that is different. I am more adventurous. I am also more generous with my finances and with my time. On vacation it always feels like we have plenty. The day stretches out wide open in front of us to do with it whatever we feel like.

I also noticed how I am drawn to things I used to do. I found myself looking at Ravensburger puzzles. I haven’t puzzled in years. I remember fondly how it always felt like the world around me was just fading away when doing a puzzle. I didn’t end up buying a puzzle but I noticed that I long for some “puzzle time,” time to myself in which I can just let the world fade away.

And we carry souvenirs home with us, seashells or pictures or other knickknacks to bring back a bit of that feeling of being away on vacation. We bring all those mementos home in our suitcase in order to remember who we were able to be when we were away.

Most of us find it a bit hard to go back to work—no matter how much we love what we do—and to our everyday life. Some sort of grieving seems to be going on, grieving that the vacation is over. Yet, I wonder if we are also grieving for the person we are on vacation, the person we could be.


I wonder what would happen if we gave ourselves permission to be more like that vacation self every day, be more present in the moment and enjoy the gift each day is.

What if we asked, “what makes my heart sing” on a daily basis?

What if we found time to do all the things we love, just as if every day was a vacation day?

What if we allowed ourselves to be generous, relaxed and happy all the time?


I found this quote in a little café when on vacation:


Yesterday is history

Tomorrow is a mystery and

Today is a gift

That’s why we call it present.



For coaching contact Angelika