Personal Love Does Not Even Mean that You Have to Think of Yourself as a Person
The beloved could be the absolute Beloved, or it could be one of the manifestations, such as another person. It is true that when I am loving you personally, I am loving the ultimate Beloved—but I am seeing and loving the particular beauty that is manifesting here and now in you, in this moment. And remember, the seeing and the loving go together, because the heart has its own eyes. You have seen that Rumi uses the language of the lover and the Beloved. Rumi's way is not the way of universal love; his way is personal love. He loves his Beloved and his Beloved loves him back, and they have a relationship until it is completely annihilated as love intensifies and moves into nonduality. So personal love does not even mean that you have to think of yourself as a person. As essential presence, even as a boundless infinite presence, you can love somebody. You could be the absolute nature—infinite, boundless, undefinable—loving the individual soul that is you or loving somebody or something else.
Love Unveiled, pg. 118
Personal Love That is Not Yet Object Love
Personal love that is not yet object love is not strong enough to be with the whole truth of who the other person is. This means that the relationship is not real, because it is based on a projection; the person was never that perfection that you loved. You were loving an image in your mind. It’s like you can have only the love or only the negativity; the moment you have negative feelings about the person, your love disappears. There is a splitting between a positive object relation and a negative object relation. You can see the person as only all-wonderful—in which case you love them—or else the difficulties remove all the love or diminish it to the extent that you don't see the point of being with them in a relationship.
Love Unveiled, pg. 120
The First Development of Personal Love is Usually called “Object Love”
The capacity for personalness arrives gradually and goes through many levels of development, beginning at the ego level. The baby starts to recognize himself as an individual and realizes that there are other individuals, that it is not all one tapestry; specific manifestations begin to arise out of the tapestry of universal love. He discovers that it has a design and that he can focus on particular parts of that design. And of course, one of the first designs that emerges out of the tapestry is mother—her face or her gestalt. This first development of personal love is what is usually called in psychological language “object love.” Object love is a development of personal love understood as being important for having an intimate relationship with another human being. To have an intimate love relationship, one needs to have developed personal love at least to the extent of object love.
Love Unveiled, pg. 119
When Personal Love Becomes Universal
Some people can love everybody they know; their personal love extends and develops to the maximum, and they love anybody they see in the street. Then the personal love has become universal, but not in a general sense of just loving everybody. You don't love people in the abstract, you love everybody for being themselves. When you are in the grocery store, for example, you can't help but love the cashier. It doesn't mean that when you are at home, you love them—no, they are gone; you love them when you are with them. That definitely is a very advanced state of personal love. In our Work, we don't believe it is necessary for personal love to develop to that extent in order to have a relationship.