Transform Respect to Pure Love

It is more fulfilling if we have pure love instead of respect

Image by DebraJean from Pixabay

Love is our innate nature. The form of love that exists in society is mainly need-based love and I do not consider it a true form of love. When a person is devoid of any fear then he can love another person unconditionally. It is then that the person will be unmoved by whatever the other person does.

Respect on the other hand is created when we have a form of dependence on the other person. Need-based love also gives rise to respect. When I say I respect someone it really means that I treat him in a special manner different from other beings and do not expect that person to have any vulnerable side to himself.

Respect is dangerous

Respect puts both the person who is respected and the person who respects to be under continuous pressure. The person who is respected would like to put on a mask of a stronger man while the person who respects would fear that he would come to know aspects of the other person that would cause him to lose his respect for him.

Example: Ram is a father of two adolescent children and both his children are dependent upon him for a variety of their needs. This causes the creation of need-based love and results in both the children respecting their father. The form of dependence that the children have ranged from providing motivation to study and do well in exams, not getting romantically involved with girls, etc. His father kind of enforced these behaviors and thus there was dependence. The love between the father and his children was thus not true love. Ram feared showing his vulnerable side to his children like his own attraction to another attractive woman while his children lived in constant fear that they might see aspects of their father that might ruin their respect for him.

Humans are vulnerable

It is a fact that humans are vulnerable. Every person, how much ever respected in society, will have a side that he would not like to show to society. If respect is involved then it will create unnecessary pressure on the person to wear a mask. This mask in turn would create frustration and the whole basis of the relationship between him and the ones who respect him is flawed.

Transform respect to pure love

Whenever we see that we are respecting another human being we should ask the question what are we dependent upon? Instead of needing the other person to satisfy our needs, it is better that we do inner work and create an inner voice that relieves us from being dependent upon the other person. It is then that we will not consider the other person as God and would love him unconditionally. It is then that we will be able to even accept the vulnerable side of the person and would accept him as he is.

The analogy to the banyan tree

Consider yourself as a branch of the banyan tree. Till the time the branch is dependent upon the main tree to provide it will nutrients then it will have a need-based relationship with the tree and would be upset if something happens to the tree. The branch will not be able to see the vulnerable side of the main banyan tree.

This is analogous to you being dependent upon let’s say your father for guidance and motivation and unable to see any vulnerable side to him. You will be under constant pressure to respect your father so that he acts in a manner that is approved by you and society. Your father will also have to wear a mask that would prevent him from hiding his real nature with you.

But you are not a branch of any other tree. You are in fact a branch of the banyan tree that has the ability to develop its own root to the ground. You can be attached to the main tree but derive your sense of motivation and guidance from your inner voice just like the branch of the banyan tree. It is then that you can develop unconditional love with the main banyan tree and be unmoved by any vulnerabilities that the main tree has.

Developing your own roots does not mean that you become detached from the main tree. It just means that you have your own source of inner guidance and it will ensure that you can develop unconditional love with the main tree.


Respect is useful till the time we do not develop the inner strength to carry on with our lives. Once we have dug deeper into ourselves then we need to transform our respect into pure love. In pure love, we do take care of the person whom we love but are not affected by any vulnerable side that the person may have. This would relieve us from unnecessary pressure and would also relieve the person whom we earlier respected to live his life in a freer manner. Thus, it is a win-win situation for both.



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Utpal Kumar

Interested in the psychology behind human functioning. I write on a variety of topics with most of them dealing with personal development | MS in CS from UCSD