Essays in Love

Passing an unfortunate woman in the street one day, Chloe had asked me, ‘Would you have loved me if I’d had an enormous birthmark on my face like she does?’ The yearning is that the answer be ‘yes’ – an answer that would place love above the mundane surfaces of the body, or more particularly, its cruel unchangeable ones.
‘I will love you not just for your wit and talent and beauty, but simply because you are you, with no strings attached. I love you for who you are deep in your soul, not for the colour of your eyes or the length of your legs or size of your chequebook.’
The longing is that the lover admire us stripped of our external assets, appreciating the essence of our being without accomplishment. The real self is what one can freely choose to be, and if a birthmark arises on our forehead or age withers us or recession bankrupts us, then we must be excused for accidents that have damaged what is only our surface.
And even if we are beautiful and rich, then we do not wish to be loved on account of these things, for they may fail us, and with them, love. I would prefer you to compliment me on my brain than on my face, but if you must, then I would rather you comment on my smile than on my nose.
The desire is that I be loved even if I lose everything: leaving nothing but me, this mysterious me taken to be the self at its weakest, most vulnerable point.
Do you love me enough that I may be weak with you? Everyone loves strength, but do you love me for my weakness? That is the real test. Do you love me stripped of everything that might be lost, for only the things I will have for ever?

—Alain de Botton

My favorite paragraphs in de Botton’s Essays in Love. I turned 27 today and can’t help feeling hopelessly romantic.
For my family, whom I love oh so dearly, who loves me unconditionally despite my selfish ambition and frequent unreasonable stubbornness.
Batari – Tuesday, October 22, 2013
(Taken from

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