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Love is Not Rude

Mini-Love-Lesson  #242

Synopsis: Our Renaissance of rudeness, secretly rude positive?; rudeness by intensity and variety; important or not, research into rudeness; rudeness against health and love; translation issues; a big Buddhist helper; and how it all effects your love life are all delved into here.

Note: This is the sixth in our series on a New Testament reply to the question What Is Love? (see “Love Is Patient”,  “Love Is Kind”,  “Love Is Not Jealous”,  “Love Is Not Boastful/Pretentious”, and  “Love Is Not Arrogant” ) Look for number seven in this series next month.

Our Renaissance of Rudeness And Your Love Life

Social analysts describe us as currently living in a spreading Renaissance of Rudeness slowly invading the personal lives of more and more people, especially those living in the urban centers of the world.  Some theorize it is a counter to previous formality, phony politeness and political correctness trends.  There is also a suspected tendency for more and more people to act emotionally hypersensitive as a way for acquiring a sense of permission to rudely guilt trip blaming others for their own bad feelings.

Other analysts point to data indicating low self-confidence and weak ego strength problems which seem to be growing at epidemic rates.  With that rudeness, also growing is an easy way to pretend to have social strength.  Others believe the Rudeness Renaissance is just a passing fad, destructive though it may be.

Whatever the reason, the research shows rudeness to be destructive to love and love relationships, detrimental to stress resistance and stress illness recovery, harmful to cooperative functioning at home and at work, to creative problem solving, and to the neurochemistry of happiness.  All this proves true for not only the participants but for onlookers and bystanders of rudeness events..  Children especially are suspected of being particularly susceptible.  It would seem the love relationships of everyone who experiences or perpetrates moderate to severe actions of rudeness suffers more than they gain, if they gain anything.

Are You Secretly Rude Positive?

Do you or some people you know secretly enjoy rudeness?  Some people find rudeness sexy, funny, they may see it as being confident, independent, unfettered, rebellious, nonconformist and socially powerful?  Others think rudeness is realness and everything else is phony.  Then there are those who are very attracted to the people who frequently exhibit especially shocking or clever rudeness.

Rude-crude sex especially is in demand in certain circles as is rough-tough love which may subconsciously project strength, intensity and even safeguarding potential to some.  Those raised in overly formal or polite, but restrictive, homes may find a sense of relaxed freedom mixing with the more rude and crude.  There are those who feel a pressure of unfamiliarity around the more polite and civil acting but are at ease with the less couth.

The problem is rudeness tends to eventually wear thin and become destructive to love relationships even where rudeness is seen as desirable.

What Is and Is Not Rude?

Rudeness can mean anything that belittles another person.  Purposeful rudeness is a form of social aggression where another person’s value is attacked and discounted or treated as being of inferior significance.  More potent rudeness can mean showing contempt, scorn, disregard, disdain and indifference.  Strong rudeness also can be demeaning, degrading, humiliating, embarrassing, shaming, discrediting, debasing, devaluing, cheapening, insulting and condescending.

Rudeness also can mean acting or speaking in ways that those who see or hear it judge it to be selfish, disgraceful, indecent, dishonorable, boorish, unkind, undemocratic, interruptive, impolite, discomforting and definitely non-loving.  Milder rudeness may be merely discourteous, ill mannered, uncivil, churlish,, harsh, gruff, blunt, tactless, ungracious, curt or course.  Done repeatedly these milder forms also can be quite destructive, especially to ongoing love relationships.

It is important to note that unintentional rudeness, accidental rudeness, mis-perceived and misinterpreted rudeness, as well as clashing cultural standards of rudeness also exists.

What is not rude, of course, is being polite, courteous, mannerly, respectful, gracious, tactful, cordial, affable, civil and amiable.  At a deeper level, any treatment of a person which conveys that they are of value and that they have importance and significance works in opposition to rudeness and is an asset to love relationships.

Is Rudeness Really All That Important?

There are those that wonder, of all the many more heinous behaviors, why would Paul single out or be inspired to select the relatively mild behavior of rudeness to comment on in his delineation of what love is and what love is not.  One answer is that in Paul’s world, rudeness may have been a really big deal, so much so that rudeness might even get you killed.  In that way and time, it may have been much like ghetto gang cultures where showing disrespect to the wrong people might also get you killed.

Another answer is that Paul’s Greek word “aschemonei” which gets translated as rude, meant a whole lot more than what we usually mean by the word rude today.  More fitting for current interpretations might be things like love is not abusive, vile, nasty, foul, vicious or wicked.  A third answer is that Paul may have understood that rudeness is much more insidiously destructive and antithetical to love than is generally recognized today.  (Note that some biblical translators do not interpret that Paul meant to mean rude, as we understand it today but rather something more like “love does not act disgracefully, indecently dishonorably, abusively”, etc.)

This more significant understanding of rudeness is backed up by modern research.  Did you know that some research shows you have a 94% likelihood of experiencing a counter getting even aggression response after treating someone rudely, if they feel they can retaliate safely?  Did you also know that if you are generally perceived as being a rude person, you have an 88% chance of being treated with exclusionary, distancing and sabotaging behaviors in interaction networks, including families and work settings?  Children and spouses tend to grow more emotionally distant and more likely tend to break off relationships with those more commonly rude than with those viewed as more polite.  However, rudeness is often forgiven when a person is perceived as experiencing a cascade of losses, disappointments, frustrations and/or defeats.

How Love Against Rudeness Can Work

Buddhists and Hindus call it “ Muditi” and learn it as being one of the four major mindsets of real love.  Muditi has to do with giving others love by presenting them with yourself as a happy, positive person to be with.  This can mean being your genuine best self by having authentic joy, a positive countenance, pleasant thoughtfulness and, of course, not being at all rude.  If something more serious is occurring, being kind and compassionate takes over but otherwise presenting your Muditi love is your everyday love-gift to others.  This Muditi way can be obtained by purposeful practice but never by being phony.

Research shows this is a very good, healthy self-love way to go about much of life, as well as being quite healthy for those around you.  Having a general loving, positive, happy, appreciative, enjoyable countenance reduces stress hormone development, improves immunity mechanism functioning, improves relational cooperation and harmony and contributes to a whole lot of other healthy habit-making behaviors.  Muditi is much more than politeness or civility.  It is a way to actually love others as you love yourself in ordinary day-to-day living.  As such, Muditi is a greater opposite to being rude, as well as to being indifferent and just functioning robotically.  By the way, some of my theolog friends comment that the Muditi approach is quite compatible with Christianity.

Functioning from a Muditi mindset when encountering rudeness also can be quite disarming and game changing in otherwise difficult situations.  For more about Muditi, and there is a lot more to it, you might want to look up Buddha’s Four Minds of Love and read Teachings on Love by Thich Nhat Hahn.

One More Little Thing

Who might you enjoy talking with about this mini-love-lessons on rudeness and love? If you do that, it would be a polite kindness to us if you mentioned this site and all that it offers.

As always Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question: How aware do you think you are of times and of actions that others, especially loved ones, might think you are being rude and what might you want to do about that?

Blame Attacks Love

Synopsis: This mini-love-lesson starts with some important questions, goes on to 10 things to ponder about blame and then follows up with ways to reduce blame destructiveness in love relationships.

Important Questions

Do you get blamed a lot by people you love?  Are you a ‘blamer’ of those you love?  If blamed do you ‘counter-blame’?   Do you do a lot of self-blaming?  Were you brought up in a blaming environment?  What do you think blaming does to love relationships?  How do you feel when someone blames you – guilty, defensive, inadequate, angry, compliant, submissive, hopeless, indifferent, or what?  How often does blame lead to constructive action in your life?  Have you been in a situation where blame helped a love relationship get better?

10 Things to Ponder about Blame

Do you agree or disagree with the following:
•    Much blame involves an attempt to feel better by making someone else feel worse.
•    Much blame involves an attempt to impose your value system on another.
•    Much blame is based in persecuting another by playing victim.
•    Much blame is a dodge and avoidance of taking responsibility for handling something poorly.
•    Much blame is an attempt to not feel inadequate, at fault, guilty, wrong, etc.
•    Much blame is an attempt to be blind to one’s own self.
•    Much blame as an attempt to feel superior.
•    Much blame as an attempt to get control of someone else and manipulate them to one’s own advantage.
•    Much blame is an attempt to feel righteous, right, virtuous, sinless, guilt free, etc. without having to do anything curative or constructive.
•    Much blame is an attempt to give oneself permission to be destructively judgmental.
In a love relationship whenever any of the above statements are true they probably are destructive to the love relationships involved!

How do you talk about something being wrong without blame?

Look at these different sample statements.  “That’s all your fault!” versus “I think we have to make an improvement.”  They both can be addressing the same issue but one tends to trigger defensiveness and the other may trigger corrective action.  Look at these two statements.  “You stupid idiot, how could you have done such an asinine thing!” versus “I think we have a problem that it would be good to do something about.  What do you think?”  Actually, just about everything can be said in a non-blaming way.  Blaming tends to distance people, or help them want to resist or escape from you.  If the blame is accepted the person accepting it usually is more de-powered than empowered.

Whenever one person in a love relationship is de-powered the love relationship (team) is de-powered.
In a love relationship if someone is de-powered the chances are emotional distancing from each other will escalate.  Also blame can trigger fighting which can harm the love relationship.  Wouldn’t it be better to work at teaching yourself how to talk more lovingly and cooperatively, without blame corrupting your love relationship interactions?   There are times when blame may have usefulness, but in your love relationships isn’t it usually much more destructive than constructive?

What about Self Blame?

Self-blame tends to attack your confidence and bring you down.  Healthy self-love tends to do the opposite.  You can admit a mistake or see that you might make an improvement without a lot of self blame.

What To Do When You Are Blamed

One thing you might try is to say something like, “I hear blame” or better yet,  “Honey, I think I hear I’m being blamed, is that right?”  Not always do people talk more constructively and lovingly after hearing that question, but often they do.  Notice, talking this way avoids blaming someone for blaming you.  Sometimes two people in a love relationship make a contract with one another to work on taking ‘destructive blame’ out of their interactions.  Often that helps a lot.

What To Do When You Think You Just Have To Blame a Loved One?

You might try saying something like, “A part of me feels I just have to blame you for …  .  So, please, hear me out, and work with me on this so we both can get past it.”  Or you might say something like, “Let me bitch, and complain and blame you for a while so I get it out of my system.  Then love me anyway, if you can, and I’ll show you love too”.  This style shows you know you are blaming, and you take responsibility for it and want to move on to a more loving interaction.

What To Do When You Think You Are Blamed, and Maybe You Are Not

Some people heard so much blame growing up they hear it all the time now, even though that is not what is coming at them.  When you think you are blamed you might want to ask yourself, “Am I really being blamed, or is that just a complaint or is it identifying an issue and it’s not meant for me personally”.  Then after you’ve asked yourself, ask the same question of the person you think is blaming you.

Remember, how we treat others, lovingly or unlovingly, often says more about us than them.  Also, loving teamwork, done in constructive ways, usually can solve problems big and small.

As always, Go and Grow in Love

Dr. J Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question Are you really willing to examine your own blaming tendencies, and do it lovingly as well as accurately?

Love Is Not Arrogant

Mini-Love-Lesson #241

Synopsis:  This mini-love-lesson starts with a brief review of how arrogance and love work against each other; a look at the nature of arrogance; true and false arrogance; its destructive effects on love relationships; an appreciative note on Paul’s unusual inclusion of arrogance in his list of what love is and is not.

How Arrogance Works Against Love                                     

Arrogance acts as a put down to others as it attempts to put up the person who is demonstrating the arrogance.  Love works to help put up, or boost, everyone with no put downs involved.

When a person speaks or acts with arrogance, they may not know it but they are sending a message conveying that they are more okay, important and of significance than the person to whom they are sending the message.  Furthermore, the message conveys that the person they are messaging is of a lesser worth, status and power than merits much notice, attention or interacting with.  That message also may be received and interpreted by those who are very wounded and vulnerable as indicating they are being seen as too unimportant, deficient and flawed to be loved or to even to exist.

Healthy, real love motivates sending a very opposite message.  It works to indicate you certainly are an okay person worthy of attending to, dealing with, noticing, appreciating, caring about and you certainly are of equal, democratic value and importance along with the rest of us. In short you are a person to love and your existence is valued (see “Communicating Better with Love: Mini Lessons”).

What Is Arrogance?

Arrogance has been described as unpleasant, unattractive and undeserved pridefulness.  Arrogance simply can be defined as a pretentiousness of superiority over others.  It often is manifested by behaving insolent, overbearing, contemptuous, pompous, vain, demeaning, smug, imperious, haughty, intolerant, conceited, lordly, entitled, disdainful, bored, dismissive, excessively critical and with exaggerated bragging.

True and False Arrogance

There is true and fake arrogance.  True arrogance is when someone consciously really believes they inherently are superior to others.  Fake arrogance is when someone acts superior but consciously knows or suspects they are engaged in a phony act.  In both cases, it is thought that subconsciously those manifesting arrogance secretly suspect and strongly fear they are actually inferior.  A lack of true, healthy self-love is suspected as being at the root of all that.  Arrogance actually may be a compensating defense mechanism trying to counterbalance the lack of self-love (see “Self-Love -- What Is It?”).

The Why of Arrogance

Arrogance probably exists because it works.  At least it works in shallow, not close, pragmatic relationships but it does not work well in real love relating.  Some people use arrogance to show they are powerful, as a way to dominate in social situations, as a support mechanism giving permission to rudely vent anger, be negatively critical and openly show disapproval, etc., to fend off would-be challengers, avoid being vulnerable and to escape more real and emotionally close, personal interactions which they secretly fear and feel inadequate about.

Arrogance may have evolved from primitive blustering behaviors which helped scare off competition and assisted in keeping underlings compliant and submissive.

The Destructive Effect of Arrogance in Love Relationships

Frequently arrogance tends to have a distancing effect in couples, families and friendships.  That especially is true if the demeaning put down component in arrogance is strong.  There are people who admire what they think is arrogance but often it really is okay pride, playful showing off or just self-confidence they are perceiving.

Healthy, real love is strongly affirmational rather than demeaning and disrespectful as is arrogance.  In some relationships, arrogance is demonstrated through disguised constructive criticism, teasing and other subtly dominating actions.  It also can show up as for your own good manipulative behavior.  All that tends to erode love and frequently results in passive aggressive counterattacks and sometimes eventual relational abandonment.  Sometimes these negative effects are hidden and suppressed but secretly they are accumulating internally.  Then eventually there is a big, destructive eruption and maybe a relational dissolution.

The participants in Love Relationships benefit from healthy self-pride, self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-love partly because none of that needs to have any put down or demeaning component as does arrogance.

Acting arrogant to a loved one tends to decrease rather than increase their respect for you and it is no help at all in growing emotionally closer and more loving with one another.  Emotional distancing that sometimes occurs with arrogance treatment has been cited as increasing the likelihood of an affair occurring.  Arrogance also is thought to help demote democratic teamwork development in couples and families, as it promotes resentment and resistance in the same arenas.  None that can be good for, or part of growing healthy, real love.

Paul’s Inspired Inclusion of Arrogance

Arrogance interweaves with Paul’s tenet of love not being boastful/pretentious but it also presents a whole array of additional components to consider as we already have seen.  Paul’s anti-Arrogance message is one of the more surprising inclusions in Paul’s list of what love is and what love is not.  Not many have addressed the arrogance and love issue but on close analysis there are those who find it insightful, inspired and an essential understanding about love.

Paul wrote love is not “ou phusioutai” which in Paul’s Greek is literally translated as “not puffed up” but then, as now, it is interpreted to mean not arrogant.  Some think it is better translated as love is “not conceited” or “puffed up with false pride” or a “with sense of superiority”.  Perhaps Paul understood that when one person in a love relationship, or a love network has an arrogant sense of superiority over one, or more, others in the relationship, that has a poisonous effect on the love relationship.  This was and still seems to be a rather under-dealt-with understanding of how love does and does not work (see “How Love Works -- Seven Basics”).

One More Thing

Who do you know that might enjoy talking about what you have just read?  Might not doing such talking be expansive and enriching?  If you do it, please mention this site and our many free mini-love-lessons as well as our free subscription service where you automatically, every month receive intriguing, recent and useful information about love, arguably the most important of all topics.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Quotable Question:  If I love you and treat you arrogantly, have I not just shown you I have deficiencies?

Healthy Real Love -or- Toxic False Love

A   20   Factor   Check   List

1.  Well being
Healthy Real Love makes us want for the well being of loved ones.

Toxic False love wants primarily for our own well being, wants and desires to be all important, and can sacrifice the supposed loved one for self.

2.  Self Love Healthy Real Love makes us balance our healthy self love with our love of others.
Toxic False love wants others to sacrifice and diminish their self love for our benefit.

3.  Strength Healthy Real Love causes us to want our loved ones to be strong & powerful in their own lives.
Toxic False love makes us act to diminish our loved ones’ strength so we can dominate and control them and, thereby, feel more false safety.

4.  Growth Healthy Real Love promotes the growth, development, education, and advancement of those we love.
Toxic False love works to block & hamper growth out of fear of being surpassed, outdone, and abandoned.

5.  Aloneness Healthy Real Love allows & promotes alone time, understanding it’s healthful benefits.
Toxic False love fears being alone and allowing a supposed loved one to be alone or off to himself or herself.

6.  Sex Healthy Real Love mixes both self love & other love into shared eroticism making it democratic, varied, open to exploration of new & different intimacy, & always guided by caring.
Toxic False love is absent of sufficient love expression &, thus, often is sexually demanding, obsessive, or dominated by sameness &/or fearfulness.

7.  Power Healthy Real Love pushes us to share power equally, work to synthesize & compromise, operate with free speech, independent action, alternating leadership, negotiation, & interpersonal democracy.
Toxic False love pushes us toward either dictatorial dominance, or an abdication of selfhood through fearful surrender.

8.  Difference Healthy Real Love promotes & delights in the loved one’s differences, ways of being unique, dissimilar viewpoints, divergent approaches, varying ways by valuing the enrichments they bring to relationships.
Toxic False love works to suppress & eliminate differences and bring about the false safety of sameness.

9.  Dependency Healthy Real Love helps work for the loved one’s self dependency, one’s own self dependency while also promoting agreed upon, chosen, mutually supportive interdependency.
Toxic False love wants the supposed loved one to be dependent on the false lover, or wants the relationship to be mutually co-dependent.

10.  Jealousy Healthy Real Love is not jealous, not even a little bit, because love does not spawn jealousy, possessiveness, or irrational suspiciousness.
Toxic False love is jealous because it is grounded in inadequate self love & the fearful insecurity that we can not hold the love of another by our own personal worthiness.

11.  Friends & Family Healthy Real Love causes us to attempt to love, like, or at least be appropriately & be consistently accepting of those the loved one loves & likes (including pets, ex-spouses,  dysfunctional relatives, etc.) but not to the point of supporting destructiveness.
Toxic False love causes us to work toward excluding, limiting contact with, & markedly avoiding the loved one’s interaction with their ‘others’.

12.  Trust Healthy Real Love makes us take the ‘gamble’ of trust in our love and the loved one’s love &, therefore, causes us to willfully become ‘vulnerable’ to them, their words, and actions.  This is done to affirm the loved one and make the relationship function in workable ways.
Toxic False love makes us mistrust, spy, be suspicious, hinder the freedom, doubt, & distrust the supposed loved one which eventually destroys the love relationship.

13.  Self Disclosure Healthy Real Love helps us accept & become self disclosing of (past, present, & future) thoughts, feelings, actions, victories & defeats, strengths & flaws, & all else.
Toxic False love works to hide our less pleasant aspects, be secretive, present false images, & fears exposure.

14.  Priorities Healthy Real Love puts love first of all values.
Toxic False love puts many things above the importance of love.

15.  Healing Healthy Real Love causes us to work for the health of our loved ones.
Toxic False love often works toward illness, or avoids the promotion of healthful living.

16.  Affirmation Healthy Real Love is affirming in word and action.  Compliments of being & doing, praise, brags, showing affirmative support, cheering for the loved one, and more demonstrations are common.  It also makes us look for, appreciate & affirm the qualities of our loved ones.
Toxic False love praises & compliments for personal advantage or gain.  It often also dis-affirms with criticism, put downs, devaluing & debasement.

17.  Tolerance Healthy Real Love causes us to tolerate the less pleasant aspects of those who are loved unless those aspects are clearly destructive.
Toxic False love tolerates little demanding its own way, or tolerates destructively to weaken the supposed loved one’s strength.

18.  Reception Healthy Real Love makes us highly receptive to our loved one’s likes, needs, wants, ways, and especially expressions of love.
Toxic False love makes us neglectful, avoidant, critical, & undervaluing of our loved one’s efforts to love us.

19.  Gifting Healthy Real Love helps us frequently and openly enjoy gifting our loved ones with what they want both with object and experience gifts.
Toxic False love helps us give gifts we want, gifts designed to manipulate, impress, result in return gifting from the loved one, or to give few or no gifts at all, and to gift with poor and negative attitudes.

 20.  Joy Healthy Real Love helps us take joy in those we love, take joy in their joy, work to enjoy what they enjoy, share what we enjoy, & create mutual joy.
Toxic False love works to disregard or discount the joy of the supposed loved ones, and try to manipulate them to only enjoy what we enjoy.

As always – Grow In Love.

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Image credits: Fairy eggs fullsize image by Flickr user melanie_hughes

Love Is Not Jealous

Mini-Love-Lesson #240

Synopsis: Succinctly covered are jealousy’s effects on love relationships, jealousy’s psychology, brain research, evolution and possible de-evolution, religious interpretation controversy and compromise, insecurity based discoveries, and 9 ways love and jealousy clash and conflict.

Jealousy In Love Relationships

Jealousy is one of the most hurtful and harmful of all things effecting love relationships.  Jealousy plays a big part in a great many incidents of anti-loving mistreatment, serious fights, breakups, divorces, love-destructive acts of cruelty, deception, manipulation, revenge attempts, and breakdowns resulting in psychiatric hospitalizations.  Then there is all the time spent in relational dysfunction, agony, stress and other miseries.  Even worse, jealousy frequently is heavily involved in cases of stress illness, physical abuse, crippling violence, severe psychological abuse and even lover and spouse murders and/or suicides (see “Healthy Real Love –or- Toxic False Love”).

 On the other hand, jealousy has its proponents. There are those who tout a little bit of jealousy as a good thing for relationships, a proof of love being real, a necessary, natural component of love which warns us to protect our love relationships, and sometimes a superb lead-in to passionate sex.  Those advocates may see only overly intense and insane jealousy as destructive.  Also, they may tend to disagree with the biblical teaching that love is not jealous.

In opposition to the okayness of jealousy (even a little bit) are a host of mental health, relational and social science professionals and researchers, recently joined by some brain science researchers, who see or suspect all jealousy as being dangerous and destructive.  Then there are the religionists who read Paul’s New Testament tenant “Love is not jealous” and believe it because it is part of sacred Scripture.

What Is Jealousy?

Relational Jealousy has been defined variously as feeling and/or acting upset, unhappy, covetous, possessive, grasping, wishing to control, restrict, monopolize, owning the exclusive affection of another and being strongly aversive to other’s rivalry for that affection while also blocking any possible relationship interfering influence or connection with others.

Psychologically What Is Jealousy?

Jealousy is psychologically increasingly understood to be insecurity-based.  It can be seen as a special sort of replacement fear.  That means a fear of being replaced by someone else for attaining and maintaining the attention, status of importance and needed love of a desired other.  It often is thought to involve an underlying fear of abandonment, rejection and isolation from a primary source of love.

Even more deeply underlying jealousy often is thought to be a secret fear that one is not attractive enough, worthy enough or, most importantly, lovable enough to obtain or hold the continuing love of a major desired love source.  This is seen as representing a serious and more basic lack of essential and needed self-love.

It appears that people who lack sufficient self-love, probably because they were under-loved or mal-appropriately-loved in childhood, cannot easily trust they will continue to be loved sufficiently as they mature.  Thus, jealousy arises as their protective mechanism.  Most unfortunately, this can produce a self-fulfilling prophecy of losing at love.  The healthfully self-loving know that they are lovable and are much more confident love will keep coming their way.  This also frequently produces a happy, healthy, self-fulfilling prophecy.

It is an open question whether or not jealousy helps most people be more constructively protective in their love relationships, or is jealousy more destructively divisive to those relationships?

Jealousy and envy often mistakenly are confused with each other.  In envy you want something somebody else has or something like it, in which case it is okay for them to keep theirs.  In jealousy you don’t want somebody else to have something, or someone, you want or might want exclusively.

Fortunately with the right self-work, better lovability and love relating can be learned, developed and succeeded at.

For more about scientific research into the psychology of jealousy, I suggest you webcheck PsychCentral or for more comprehensive reports, Frontiers in Psychology.

The WHY of Jealousy, And Is It De-evolving?

Jealousy is thought to have evolved as a way brood-mates and their sires could protect and combat against rivals and replacement, thus, better ensuring the survival of their offspring and genetic line.

Jealousy just possibly could be de-evolving in humans because its reason for being may be disappearing.  At least, that is the thinking of some who study this.  Jealousy seems to be falling more and more into disfavor as increasingly it is identified with emotional illness and relational dysfunction.  There also are some beginning signs jealousy eventually could be replaced by its opposite emotion compersion (see “Compersion: A Newly Identified Emotion of Love?”).

The Old & Resurgent, Religious Controversy Over Jealousy

Once upon a time in Christendom, it was widely taught that love was not jealous because the Bible said so.  But then romantic, or lover-love came along in the early Middle Ages and love was seen as jealous, actually very jealous.  In fact, the royalty ran Courts of Love (yes, they existed) and they ruled that, in fact, love was quite jealous and the stronger the love the greater the jealousy.
The conflict between these two teachings was resolved by what some identified as a weasel’s compromise.  It was decided that spiritual love (agape) was not jealous but since secular love was profane and contaminated by sex it was indeed jealous.

That, at least, is how it was summarized to me by a learned theolog.  To this day, in many arenas of Christendom this twofold explanation remains the answer given to those questioning the contradictory, compromise teaching that love (sacred) is not jealous but romantic (secular) love is jealous.  Writing in ancient biblical Greek, St. Paul is thought to have written love is not “ou zeloi”.  That is now understood as powerfully meaning love is “not jealous” and perhaps implying that in a continuous or ongoing way.  Of course, other scholars have interpreted it somewhat differently.

Love Is Not Jealous – Insecurity Is!

Recently relational, psychological and brain research concerning love has come up with results that back the idea that all real and healthy love does not involve or contain a jealousy component.  For one thing, love is found to be mostly processed deep in the brain’s more ancient limbic system and jealousy in the less deep (newer) frontal lobes ventrial striatum, cingulate cortex and lateral septum.  Also, the neurochemistry of both seems to be rather different.

Mounting relational and psychological research points to jealousy coming from insecurity dynamics as described above and not from any real love process (see “Does Jealousy Prove Love?”).

Using theological terms, perhaps all real love is more of an agape type love than has been previously identified.  Certainly family love, parent-child love, deep friendship love and altruistic love seem to qualify as at least largely similar to what is understood to be spiritual or agape love, so why not the love of lovers and spouses?

Love and Jealousy in Cultures and Societies

In some cultures, subcultures, societies and special societal spheres, jealousy has virtually not been found to exist or to be only minuscule.  Cross-cultural studies also show great differences exist in the prevalence and intensity of jealousy in different societies around the world.  Some data suggests more male dominant societies have more jealousy than female dominant or more egalitarian cultures, which may have the least jealousy.  Research also finds jealousy to be seen as an increasingly negative and anti-love factor in love relationships.  It also seems an increasing number of modern world people are working to reduce or eliminate jealousy from harming their love relationships and inner mental health functioning.

How Love and Jealousy Clash and Conflict

A fair amount of relational research is pointing to the ways that jealousy and love are antithetical and, in essence, enemies of one another.  Here is what are thought to be some of those ways.

1. Healthy real love seems primarily to motivate constructive actions; jealousy mostly motivates destructive and useless actions.

2. Love inspires trust; jealousy mistrust.

3. Love involves honest self-disclosure and openness; jealousy more commonly involves suspicion, secrecy, deception, spying, and phony manipulations.

4. Love can sometimes generate compersion feelings; jealousy can’t.

5. Healthy, real love tends to promote democratic, egalitarian fairness in relating; jealousy uses overt, autocratic control, or covert restriction, repression and suppression techniques.

6. Love is much more about forgiveness, second chances and let’s try again dynamics; jealousy is more about punishment, revenge and getting even.

7. Real love inherently is focused largely on the happiness and well-being of the loved; jealousy works primarily for self-protection and for self-gain.

8. Love helps us be open to fresh input from our loved ones and experimenting with their new and different ways, ideas, wants, etc.  Jealousy helps us be closed to those things, threatened by them and staying with seemingly safe sameness resulting in relational entropy and stagnation.

9. Love tends to help work with kindness and appreciation involved sexual growth, emotional and physical intimacy, fun explorations and mutual satisfaction.  In sexuality, jealousy tends to make for stress, tension, inhibition, one-sidedness and phoniness.

There are a good many more ways jealousy and love conflict as well as more things to learn about them.  It is useful to learn about all of them but that’s enough for now. Link “Passionate Love – Wondrous and Perplexing”.

One More Thing

I suggest, in this Mini-Love-Lesson, there is lots to think about and talk about, and it will be enriching to do so with others.  If you do that, please mention this site and its totally free subscription service providing regular, important and helpful love information.

As always – Go and Grow with Love
J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question:  If you get jealous, will you use it to strengthen and improve yourself and your relationship, or to harm and drive away someone you love, or what?