“Who do you love?”
- Bo Diddley
It took me some time but I eventually “educated” myself many years ago on just exactly what was real and healthy love.
Value was the final piece fit most snugly to complete the puzzle and then it was all understood. I assigned value to what or who I loved and I truly found it to make me complete as a man. I did not make the mistake of giving it value it didn't earn.
I pledged to the very core of my being that no unrequited affections ever vex my mind nor bog down my reason. Another human being would earn their worth to me as a condition of me feeling love towards that person.
Of course this did not mean that I was setting the bar too high. Your friend Dan has made it relatively easy for people to be loved by him, just have some worth, don't be without value.
Resist being a sponge, dump that entitlement mentality it doesn't become you, and don't expect me to love you just because you breathe air. It also means that I could still like folks regardless of their value (or lack of it) to me.
With a few exceptions (politicians, obviously), I like just about everyone I know and hate no living creature in the world. I may despise their enslaving ideals or evil deeds but I just can't allow myself to love someone for the right reasons while dealing with the needless internal conflict of having hatred in my heart for others.
Your actual mileage may vary, yet I feel that a person cannot truly be able to accurately gauge their love for others for the right reasons while at the same time hold hatred of humanity for any. That to me is real love, my map if you will, of my world.
Real love is the stunning portrait of freedom in it's most wonderful essence. It is a beauty that rightfully ignores our obvious physical blemishes focusing instead on our internal light where it belongs.
Sadly enough, many mistakenly lay claim to a twisted version of what they consider to be “love”. The abuser makes a mockery of the very concept of love as he callously spits the word forth from his mouth as if he were expelling a morsel he found unpalatable.
His love is slavery in it's vilest form. His foul plan is to hide who he falsely claims to “love” from the world, lest they escape to the arms of one who can actually show that person real human love.
The stalker cannot objectively love because he places an unusually high value on what he cannot achieve with the object of his desire. He actually makes his desire an object, a thing to be possessed.
He unwittingly seeks to cheapen his time and efforts in the role of the eternal supplicant, ignoring while gradually diminishing his own sense of self-worth in his foolish quest. He too has given himself over of his own volition, into slavery.
That's my take on it. Real love sets us free to grow into the beings we were created to be. Love of oneself inspires us to create, dream, and genuinely love others for the right reasons.