Synopsis: Here we first are helped to realize the extent of how love needs are increasingly going unmet, and the dangers that brings to us due to worldwide safety needs and resulting isolation caused by the pandemic. Then we are showed the different, counterbalancing and creative ways we can diminish the dangers and do our love anyway.
Isolated Alone or TogetherIn this time of pandemic dangers, our ways of doing our love often are being severely challenged. This especially is so for the millions of people living isolated, sheltering in place and living physically disconnected for safety’s sake. Not only that, but around the world hundreds of thousands of people are losing those who have been both major sources and recipients of their love. That has greatly adding to the problems of isolation.
Millions are quarantined from having direct contact with those most dear to them. Furthermore, they also are isolated from the others with which they share friendships and other caring relationships . Worldwide our safety needs are blocking us from our love needs being met and from fully meeting the love needs of others. Children are going without being lovingly kissed, hugged and tucked in at night by their parents who serve on the front lines of the fight against this deadly disease. Grandparents are not being blessed with the joys of grandchildren, the spouses of healthcare workers are living largely disconnected and apart from their most beloved, and dearest friends are not receiving comforting and reassuring hugs from one another. Some who have violated the stay apart guidelines are now alone, grieving and guilty for having possibly infected a loved one who is now gone due to the virus.
For all those cut off from love sources, the danger is growing. Having less love interaction can mean becoming increasingly stressed, depressed and susceptible to depression and eventually even suicidal episodes, substance abuse and/or relapse, hypertension, heart attacks and strokes. In so many places, love is being enacted less and needed more. So, what are we to do? Can we change to new ways of showing our love enough, in time and with sufficient potency? Yes, I think we can! (See “Could You Be a LAT Lover and Succeed at It?”).
How To Love Well in the Time of Pandemic IsolationTo meet the love challenges of our time, here are some suggestions. First of all, please follow the scientific and medical people as your best guides for safety and not risking the spreading of this highly infectious and deadly disease.
Next, admit to yourself that you have psychological needs including love needs which may need your attention along with some changed and new behaviors. Any uncomfortable or bad feelings you are having may be trying to tell you that. If you are living more isolated from those you love and those you have been befriended by, you are or will be negatively effected. How much and how well you respond is up to you. Do know that when love is reduced or absent from a person’s life it affects brain and body health negatively. For those you love and for healthy self-love, you can search out and practice more taking care of your own love needs along with doing what you can about other’s love needs in this time of isolation. Here are some “how to’s”.
Increase your in-person phone contacts, even if you are more comfortable with texting. You see, it is not just the words spoken, it is the tones of voice and other vocal variables that get love nurturing, love care and love connecting done. In fact, in personal communication research the data shows the words can be as little as 7% of the meaning communicated. In personal auditory communication, vocal variables carried the majority of the message impact received.
Use video connecting a lot. Skype, Zoom and other e-video services make it possible to see and hear your loved ones in real-time. Video interaction can increase the personal/emotional meaningfulness of a personal communication event by over 50% according to some communication researchers.
Make contact efforts with everybody you care about, even a little. You even can include almost everyone you ever cared about in the past. If you are worried about what to say before you phone or video contact someone, try this. Think of three or so questions to ask and three or so bits of information about your own life to share. Remember, it is not important to say important things, it is important just to personally connect. Saying just about anything, sounding friendly and/or caring, along with listening well is what makes valuable connecting happen (see “Communicating Better with Love: Mini-Lessons” and “Listening With Love”).
Surprise connecting calls are great. “I thought about you and just decided I would call to connect and see how you are” is all you need to say as a reason for calling. Reconnecting with those you haven’t talked to in ages usually works for old friends and old acquaintances who might become current friends. Remember to ask about their feelings concerning the pandemic and how they are handling it, as well as relating some of your own feelings.
Connect with strangers. You sometimes can make new friends by talking to strangers in Internet chat rooms, call-in shows, and on podcasts and other network services. If you are depressed or otherwise distressed help lines are available and often do wonders. It is an act of healthy self-love to make contact, and people to do that with are available, welcoming and usually interesting as well as interested. Know that by making the effort to contact them, you may do them as much, or more, good as they do you. Enjoy that!
You also could make contact the old-fashioned way by writing letters. Handwritten letters especially are becoming rather rare but increasingly precious and cherished. Texting is good too but usually lacks having deeper emotional impact which is, of course, why some people prefer it.
The Importance of Healthy, Self-Love ActionsYou can be your own source of love if you learn the “how-to’s of healthy self-love and practice them. In our current isolation and safe distancing life situations, healthy real self-love actions may be more important than ever. That also is true for people you may be isolated with (see “Loving Others “As” You Love Yourself???” and “Self-Love – What Is It?”).
Take charge of keeping your mind active and interested. You can do this by learning new things, relearning old ones, exploring strange topics, engaging in hobbies further than you have before, getting involved or more involved with simple arts and crafts, doing new and different things with food and delving into all sorts of subjects you don’t know much about.
Take charge of your body and making it healthier and more fit. Look for fun new ways to exercise, dance and play one person athletic games with yourself. If you are the least bit ambidextrous you can play right-hand versus left-hand games. If you are isolated with others play wrestling, arm wrestling and even thumb wrestling, compete with throw or bounce ball, play hop-scotch and many other games are some of the options open to you.
Do more love and play with dog(s) or other pets if you have a good, loving, playful dog or two. There is an old legend that says dogs were put in the world to teach us love. They probably are better at it than humans sometimes, so let us learn from our betters. Cats, parrots, horses, ferrets and lots of other animals might be available for play too.
Go outside even if it is only on a balcony or in a tiny backyard. It is better if it is a park, a woods, a field or whatever’s available (follow safety guidelines). Go there and look until you really see and perhaps even feel your love connecting with nature. The studies are conclusive. A loving, appreciative involvement with nature is nurturing and surprisingly healthful. Let nature love you and love it back, and love life at the same time.
Schedule your life. Without a schedule, lots of people just do not do what they hoped to do or planned to do. You can schedule just about everything, even your efforts at love and love connecting. It also helps to reward yourself in various ways for keeping to your schedule but it does not work if you skimp or cheat.
Projects are another way to do your love. Make something for a loved one. With and for self-love, make something for yourself. You could write a love note to everyone you love. You might put together a special recording of favored music or create a scrapbook of all those unorganized photos stored away someplace. For a loved child, you might make up a story and even illustrate it with sketched or cut out pictures. For family, you could do some family history collection and record it. For your most intimate loved one(s), creating the first half of a romantic sexy story for them to finish is a titillating yet loving possibility. Painting pictures, making collages, pottery and sculpting also are gifts of love you might now have time for.
Here is a special project for you to consider. Short messages and sayings about love rendered in artful calligraphy, modernized printing or in rustic form on special paper or canvas, or on boards and/or perhaps framed can make precious and cherished love gifts for presentation after we are all done with isolation.
Counterbalance the negatives coming your way. Paying too much attention to the world’s negatives and not enough attention to the positive can be toxic. It is important to stay current on what is bad, wrong, dangerous and depressing for lots of reasons. It also is important not to overdose on it. So for healthy living, counterbalancing the negatives by paying attention to and searching out and experiencing positives can be very important to your mental health. That also applies to the more negative people in your life. Too much experiencing of nay-sayers, constant complainers and the doom-and-gloom folks can be unhealthy. However, totally excluding them can have its drawbacks too. So, search out and often contact positive people, especially happy loving people.
Here are a few suggestions for how to start counterbalancing. Google the Good News Network and/or pick from the other positive information services under the good news entry which contains lots of today’s upbeat, positive stories, events, etc. Then for your more in-depth factual reading I suggest looking into the newer behavioral science field of positive psychology. Positive psychology has some pretty interesting, well-written books which have come out of this factual, uplifting, research science. If you would like to know and be amazed by how far we have come in human progress, let me turn your attention to Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature. It is a book well-written, rich in facts, and it includes a great deal of the “good stuff”, often left out of standard history lessons.
Learn More about LoveWhether you are quarantined all alone or with a spouse, family members or a another loved one, you can use this time of isolation for making a big, life improvement. In the process you also can reduce your growing cabin fever, listlessness, feelings of aggravation, annoyance, irritability, boredom, purposelessness or whatever other feelings you might want to reduce. You can do this by learning more about the amazing knowledge of healthy, real love newly available. As you do this, you then may get happy and excited working on how to make ever improving use that knowledge in your own life.
One way to do this you already are working on by reading this mini-love-lesson. You can continue that by studying more of our mini-love-lessons on love found at this site which, of course, we encourage. You also can send for and read books about the new findings, new thinking, old re-discovered findings and thinking, research discoveries, efforts and trends – all having to do with love and love related topics. Most of those reveal the subject of love to be more immense, amazing, incredible, learnable and healthfully usable, not to mention empirically discoverable than anyone ever guessed.
You also can look up a lot of love topics on the Internet but be careful there. There is a lot of misleading and mistaken, along with just out-and-out wrong, harmful and absurd things written as the truth about love on the Internet. Some books also are pretty poor or just not really about love though love is in the title.
Everything you learn about love can be talked about with those you connect with via phone, video or however. Isolated alone or together, you can find ways to take care of your love needs, your love relationships and your ways of doing your love.
As always – Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
Love Success Question: Who have you not yet learned much from concerning love – ancient sages, philosophers, theologians and great religious teachers of more than one major faith, psychoanalysts, cultural anthropologists, sociologists, animal experimental psychologists, social psychologists, linguistic psychologists, neuropsychologists, marriage and family researchers and counselors, psychotherapists, various brain scientists, physicians and medical researchers, other behavioral and social scientists, or ??? All these have a lot of worthwhile things to say about love you might be intrigued with and enriched by.