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20 Most Brilliant Insights Ever Shared About Love

If you're looking for love or trying to find new ways to appreciate your partner, consider these invaluable insights from some of the world's most inspiring thought leaders, past and present.

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Every day, aim to live with more patience, compassion, understanding, and love for your partner and those closest to you. To help keep these practices front-of-mind, we sought guidance from history’s greatest teachers—from poets and philosophers to scientists and spiritual leaders—on love. Heed their advice to open your mind and heart whether it’s to manifest love, better understand your partner, be less critical, or learn how to make love a real priority in every relationship, especially with yourself.

“As you perform good actions selflessly, true love will blossom, which will purify our emotional mind.”
Amma, spiritual leader and guru, Amma.org

“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it be rather a moving sea between the shores of your souls.”
Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese-American poet, The Prophet

“So if there is a verb, for me, that comes with love, it’s ‘to have.’ And if there is a verb that comes with desire, it is ‘to want.’ In love, we want to have; we want to know the beloved. We want to minimize the distance. We want to contract that gap. We want to neutralize the tensions. We want closeness. But in desire, we tend to not really want to go back to the places we’ve already gone. Forgone conclusion does not keep our interest. In desire, we want an other, somebody on the other side that we can go visit, that we can go spend some time with, that we can go see what goes on in their red-light district. You know? In desire, we want a bridge to cross. Or in other words, I sometimes say, fire needs air. Desire needs space.”
Esther Perel, psychotherapist, TED Talk on “The Secret to Desire in a Long-Term Relationship”

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
Rumi, Sufi poet, theologian and teacher

“The most important aspect of love is not in giving or the receiving: It’s in the being. When I need love from others, or need to give love to others, I’m caught in an unstable situation. Being in love, rather than giving or taking love, is the only thing that provides stability. Being in love means seeing the Beloved all around me.”
Ram Dass, spiritual teacher, RamDass.org

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher

“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.”
Pema Chödrön, Buddhist nun, Ride the WavesVolume II

“We really have to understand the person we want to love. If our love is only a will to possess, it is not love. If we only think of ourselves, if we know only our own needs and ignore the needs of the other person, we cannot love.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, Have Faith in Love

“There was only one variable that separated the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging and the people who really struggle for it. And that was, the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they’re worthy of love and belonging. That’s it. They believe they’re worthy.”
Brené Brown, researcher, TED Talk on “The Power of Vulnerability”

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
Lao Tzu, philosopher and poet

“So if we love someone, we should train in being able to listen. By listening with calm and understanding, we can ease the suffering of another person.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart

“Women tend to get intimacy differently than men do. Women get intimacy from face-to-face talking. We swivel towards each other, we do what we call the ‘anchoring gaze’ and we talk. This is intimacy to women. I think it comes from millions of years of holding that baby in front of your face, cajoling it, reprimanding it, educating it with words. Men tend to get intimacy from side-by-side doing. As soon as one guy looks up, the other guy will look away. I think it comes from millions of years of standing behind that…sitting behind the bush, looking straight ahead, trying to hit that buffalo on the head with a rock. Love is in us. It’s deeply embedded in the brain. Our challenge is to understand each other.”
Helen Fisher, anthropologist, TED Talk on “The Brain in Love”

“Your love should never be offered to the mouth of a stranger,
Only to someone who has the valor and daring to cut pieces of their soul off with a knife,
Then weave them into a blanket to protect you.”
Hāfez, poet, The Gift: Poems by the Great Sufi Master

“There are a few things that I’ve come to understand erotic couples do. One, they have a lot of sexual privacy. They understand that there is an erotic space that belongs to each of them. They also understand that foreplay is not something you do five minutes before the real thing. Foreplay pretty much starts at the end of the previous orgasm.”
Esther Perel, psychotherapist, TED Talk on “The Secret to Desire in a Long-Term Relationship”

“Unconditional love really exists in each of us. It is part of our deep inner being. It is not so much an active emotion as a state of being. It’s not ‘I love you’ for this or that reason, not ‘I love you if you love me.’ It’s love for no reason, love without an object.”
Ram Dass, spiritual teacher, RamDass.org

“Always try to recognize and admire the good qualities in each other. Whenever you are talking to others about your partner, try to highlight his or her good qualities; don’t ever mention the weaknesses in front of others. Whatever your weaknesses may be, they should remain a secret between the two of you. You should work out your problems together with a positive attitude, without provoking or hurting each other with accusations. First of all, we should become aware of our own weaknesses because this is the best way to remove them. Never use your partner’s faults as a weapon against him or her. When you are pointing out a weakness, do so lovingly and with every intention of eradicating it in a positive way from your lives. These weaknesses are blocks that prevent you from expressing yourselves fully. See these blocks as obstructions and learn to remove them.”
Amma, spiritual leader and guru, Amritapuri.org

“From my own limited experience I have found that the greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion.”
Dalai Lama XIV, Tibetan Buddhist monk, DalaiLama.com

“If we succumb to fear, we start holding back, and do that all-too-common dance of getting close, then pulling away. When we remember that our safe harbor depends on our awareness and honesty, we’re less likely to make internal compromises, put on masks, or act like a chameleon to attract a partner or keep a hurtful relationship together. If we live by truth, we may have pain, but we will always rest securely in ourselves.”
Charlotte Kasl, psychologist and author, If the Buddha Dated: A Handbook for Finding Love on a Spiritual Path

“Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says: ‘I need you because I love you.’”
Erich Fromm, social psychologist

“Love is the capacity to take care, to protect, to nourish. If you are not capable of generating that kind of energy toward yourself—if you are not capable of taking care of yourself, nourishing yourself, protecting yourself—it is very difficult to take care of another person. In the Buddhist teaching, it’s clear that to love oneself is the foundation of the love of other people. Love is a practice. Love is truly a practice.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, PBS interview

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