The Art of Conditional Love

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Jean-Léon Gérôme’s “Pygmalion and Galatea” gives us an insight to the story of the artist who fell in love with his statue and kissed her. From this kiss, she came to life. I immediately fell in love with this image and idea, but more with the sentiment than anything else. Here’s the perfect visual of loving your craft, and of course, your craft loving you in return.


How do we get to the point of mutual love and respect to and from our careers? 


If we are to make our craft our careers, then we are called to spend an average of 40 hours a week on it. That’s 1/3 of our lives.


Who wants to spent 1/3 of their lives NOT in love?


So the question, then, is this . . .


What is love?


It’s simple. Love is an action. I have the cynical view that we are not capable of unconditional love. Conditions always exist in humanity. This just means we are called to continually send out acts of love. Love is not a feeling. The feeling we get when we think we’re in love – the butterflies in our stomach when that certain someone walks in the room, or the way our heart skips a beat when we book a role (and I do believe these feelings are similar) – those feelings are chemical. According to misschelly19, Love is “C8H11NO2+C10H12N2O+C43H66N12O12S2 dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin. It can be easily manufactured in a lab, but overdosing on any of them can cause schizophrenia, extreme paranoia, and insanity.”


Don’t get me wrong, I love those feelings! (The giddy feeling, not the schizophrenia, paranoia and insanity.) But those feelings aren’t magic. They aren’t love. They are science. That being said, we get out of this Universe what we put into it. If we put out acts of love, we get acts of love and the feelings from those acts in return. Make sense?


When the artist here so lovingly embraces his sculpture, his work of art demonstrates an act of love in return.


Love your craft and your craft will love you back.


Here are some simple ways to love your craft:


  • Take a class.
  • Get new headshots.
  • Work on your monologue.
  • Spend ample time working on every audition.
  • Continue to build the relationships with your fellow artists.


Now a warning . . .


(Meryl at her finest. If you haven’t seen Death Becomes Her yet, stop reading this and watch it now.)


True acts of love have no conditions (which is why we can never be fully unconditional lovers. We aren’t that perfect). And so if you love your career with the sole intention of it loving you back, you’re doomed. You’re just chasing a ghost. You’re missing the point! Actively love your career because you want to. Because you need to. Because you can’t imagine yourself loving any other career! You will succeed and you will fail, but you will succeed once again. That’s real love. If you love and enjoy loving your career throughout the process, it will love you back. You will find the seeds of joy along the way.


Keep love active. Put in all you can because there’s no other way to live.


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