To love someone does not require respect, and to respect someone does not require love. For you see, in many cases, respect reflects the admiration of someone based off of their abilities, qualities, or achievements. But it can also simply be “an understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way” (Merriam-Webster.com). The same applies for love. While in many cases love is a feeling of admiration or affection for someone, it can also be described as “unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another” (Merriam-Webster.com). These are far better definitions in my mind than the ones displayed by the masses, and they can be applied below.
For instance, if I am respected, it means people merely understand me as someone important and therefore I am treated in an appropriate fashion. This could benefit me for a moment, but once I lose that understanding of importance or admiration, I lose the respect. On the flip-side, though, if I am loved in an unselfish way and the person who loves me wants to see the best in me, there is nothing that can change that, ever. They will continue to love me and spur on the good inside of me. No one doesn’t want to see the best in someone. Now, some might say love leads to respect, but this is not always the case. For there are people I love dearly (that is, I encourage to see the best in them), but I do not respect them and admire them for their abilities, qualities, or achievements. I may respect their potential, but not the current state they’re in if they’re causing more harm than good. Therefore, love is far greater than respect, because respect can have selfish motives, but love, at its purest moment and void of its vices, can last forever and lead to more effective change. Because of this, I would rather be loved than respected. For even though I can earn respect, I would rather be real and receive the grace of love than fake my importance to gain respect. That’s the beauty of love: that while I don’t deserve it, I still get it.