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Showing posts with label behavior. Show all posts
Showing posts with label behavior. Show all posts

Starting Friendships That Turn Into Love: The Surprising Big Factor

Synopsis: How to begin on the path toward real friendship love; sometimes go on to real and lasting mate or spouse type love; and the surprising and often determining factor that most people do not know makes the biggest difference in getting started on that path is revealed and well reviewed here.


From Strangers to Best Friends to Lovers

So often the best, strongest and healthiest love relationships once were just budding friendships.  It all started when strangers became new acquaintances.  From there they moved on to deepening friendships and then to true and lasting loves – or not.  What made the difference between those who stayed at the acquaintance level and those who got to a friendship that later turned into an ardent, romantic, real, love relationship?  Some, of course, continued on in deepening friendship love while others traveled the love-mate route.  Either way healthy, real, long-lasting and super enriching love was at the heart of those relationships.  Many of the happiest spouses were once best friends, close friends, dearest friends, great friends or long-term friends.  Those were the people who did not do the fall in love thing but rather did the grow in love thing.

With a little knowledge about love relationships and how they begin, you may be able to start on the path toward great friendship love and/or great spouse type love.

First Comes Getting from Acquaintanceship to Friendship

When you meet someone new, they go from being a stranger to being a new acquaintance.  It is that first impressions important time.  But the most important, early impression’s factor may surprise you.  It could, in fact, be one you might never have thought about because it turns out few people have.  First, it will be good to have a little background knowledge.

Do you know that in the first 30 seconds of meeting someone new, a very important non-conscious process begins to happen deep in your brain.  It is one that may determine whether, or not, you and this new person get to move on to real friendship or stay at the acquaintance only level.  Once you learn about it, your conscious mind can work with that subconscious process to get really good and better results.  By doing that, conscious plus subconscious synthesis, forming a real friendship that could become a mate love union becomes much more possible.

The Surprising, Biggest Factor That Can Start the Friendship Process to Begin

It is not so much what you say nor is it all about the qualities and intonations of your voice.  Neither does it have much to do with how you dress or your general appearance.  The big surprise is that the most important factor in starting a face-to-face, personal interaction that then can move toward friendship probably is your physical movements, or lack thereof.  Yes, that's right, apparently how you move makes the most substantial difference in the beginning of befriending a new acquaintance.

That is because the deep subconscious mind, where mostly we think friendship choices largely are made, evaluates people for friendship by the way they move their hands, arms, legs, body, head and most importantly their facial muscles.  Each of these gives clues to who a person is psychologically.  The subconscious reads and interprets all those movement clue and starts to render positive, negative or neutral valuations.

Some years ago, a UCLA psychologist reviewed the relevant research and concluded that in face-to-face, personal interactions about 55% of your general, emotional impact on another person has to do with your facial expressions.  No other factor got that high a percentage.  Since then, other research has added to and elaborated that researcher’s findings.  Those research efforts have given us a much more complete picture of positive, personal interaction formation, i.e. friendship beginning.

More recent research has discovered such things as the fact that within 30 seconds of meeting someone new, deep in your brain (in the amygdala and posterior cingulate cortex -- for the medically minded) yay or nay friendship choosing unconsciously already has started to occur.

If the choosing is more yay, another part of your brain (the ventral tegmental section) will help motivate you toward increased, assertive, friendly interactions with a new person.  It also may motivate you to start moving various muscle groups in ways more likely to be interpreted by the person you are talking with, as emotionally positive and friendly.  Consciously, you probably are not likely to notice any of that happening.  However, adding conscious awareness and thinking about this non-conscious process can make it all work far better.

How to Use This Friendship and Love Knowledge

If you greet someone new by first boldly striding toward them, head up, shoulders back a little, arms swinging open a bit and with a big smile on your face, for many you probably are off to a pretty good start before you have said a single word.  If you do the opposite of those things, walk up to them with timid steps, hunched over, stoop and shrug, look down and away, keep your arms close to your body and immobile without any hand gestures, frown, scowl or look stone-faced – very probably it will not get off to a good start.

The trick is to be a bit mindful of your movable parts.  The subconscious of whoever you are talking to is likely reading your movements and is psycho-emotionally moving minutely toward or away from friendship with you because of these movement factors.

You do not have to fake anything.  Genuineness counts and phoniness sometimes can be perceived quite well.  You just have to ask yourself, are your movements genuinely representing you and who you want to be at the moment.  If you are not feeling so great, you might have to re-center your focus and mobilize your energy toward genuinely desiring to get off to a good start with this new person in your life.

When Your Movements Are Most Important

Here's another surprise from research.  Changing your facial expressions, your stance, posture, hand gestures, head turning and other movements all become increasingly important while you are verbally silently listening to your new, potential friend talking.  A nod when you feel a compatibility with what that person is saying, a look of interest with a bit of leaning forward when you are seated, looking attentive and making other small, appropriate, facial, expression changes for whatever emotions are being indicated, all help to move your joint interactions to go toward friendship beginning.

It is important to realize that your movements, in essence, are talking while you are verbally not speaking as well as when you are talking.  If your body language is talking in a harmonizing way with the new person you are interacting with, things are likely to go well.  If your motions convey your feelings are positive about that person, real friendship bonding becomes much more likely.  However, if you are not making pretty good eye contact, doing movements that convey you are disinterested, distracted, or bored or even worse uncaring, interaction harmony probably will not occur and you will be stuck at the acquaintance level, at best.

Let me suggest spending some time pondering what your movements are usually saying and what you want them to convey.  May I also recommend researching and studying some of what is known about nonverbal communication (sometimes called expressional communication) and, maybe then, its effect on friendship development.  After that try practicing micro-movements in the mirror followed by more practice of the same with friends, family and finally with strangers.

One stone-faced fellow I suggested this to reported practicing flashing smiles at strangers in a department store.  The very first day he attempted that, a rather strong personal connection occurred which quickly led him to becoming a no longer, lonely single.  So, be careful with all this because you never know what it may lead to.

If you would like to go deeper into this subject, I recommend checking out “Amity, The Journal of Friendship Studies” from the University of Leeds, UK and Stanford University's ongoing, friendship research projects, publications and courses to take.  Also, check out these other mini-love-lessons:  “Friendship Love and Its Extraordinary Importance”, “Behaviors That Make and Grow Friendship Love”, “Understanding Friendship: from Mild Geniality to Profound Love”.

Of course, there is so much more to learn and practice concerning starting friendships and the love they might lead to.  Hopefully, this mini-love-lesson will help you to get off to a really good start, if that's what you want to do.

One more thing

It might help to start or deepen a friendship by talking about the things in this mini-love-lesson with someone else, perhaps an acquaintance.  If you do that, please mention our site and its many mini-love-lessons, thereby, helping to spread love knowledge.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Quotable Love Question:  To have a truly loving friend, do you have to know how to be one?

Is Doing Love More Important Than Feeling Love?

 Mini-Love-Lesson #285


Synopsis: Two questions: what happens if we are programed subconsciously to mostly focus on love feelings more than doing love?  And what happens if we choose to focus mostly on the LOVE DOING approach?  Reportedly the Love Doing approach has many positive, life-changing aspects.  Accompanying is a brief introduction to Doing Love at Three Levels and the 12 Major Action Groups of Love Behaviors by which love is done according to our research.


A More Important Question Than You Might Think!

Do you know about LOVE DOES?  Love Does is the name of at least three things.  One is an international organization working to save children and other victims of sex crimes and abuse worldwide.  Another is a straightforward easy-to-read book about doing love and its importance.  It is by Bob Goff, an international law professor activist for human rights.  The third is a socio-philosophical position in the new natural science of Loveology which holds that feeling love is important but doing love is more important!

For quite a long time feeling love seems to have received the bulk of attention.  Do you love me?  Do I really love so-and-so?  Is this real love?  Do we love each other enough?  Those, and many other similar questions, are all love feeling-focused queries that loom large in many people’s lives from time to time.  They join with social edicts like “you will know it’s true love when you feel it!”  And “let your love feelings guide you”.  Plus, “true love is that overwhelming emotion that makes you do what love insists you do, no matter what”.

Love, Not a Feeling, Not an Emotion, Instead a…

The preponderance of recent, scientific evidence points to love not being an emotion or feeling but rather a natural, inborn, vital system that triggers or produces many diverse emotions.  This evidence gives confirmation to love being a systemic process occurring naturally in the brains of higher order lifeforms, and maybe others, which is then manifested in love behavior or love doing.

Sometimes we feel love and sometimes we don’t because we are busy feeling other things.  However, once a love connection is well-established we usually can consciously tap into it and feel its presence.  Think of loving your child, grandmother or anyone really dear to you and you are likely to know and briefly feel your love for that person.  Remember, emotions actually are mostly felt short-term and then replaced by other emotions.  Established Love is long-term, even lifelong, whether at the moment you are feeling it or not.

Don’t Make this Great Mistake!

There is a very mistaken and destructive teaching about feeling love.  It is that all we need to do love is feel it.  Like, somehow our feeling love will guide us to do the right love relating actions and the magic of love will take care of everything else.  Maybe there will be a few emotional bumps and scratches leading to then living happily-ever-after, or so goes the myth.  Although our conscious, reasoning mind can doubt this, another part of us so dearly wants to believe this is a truth of love, that we often do believe it.  Sadly, acting as if this is true can ruin a budding or false love relationship that might grow into the real thing.

If this myth were true, the divorce rate would be far lower, parental child abuse much more uncommon, spousal murder unheard of and every lover’s anniversary would get remembered, romantically planned and well celebrated.  The truth is love feelings come and go naturally and are only erratically related to love relating.  Love relating is learned and is best skillfully developed and practiced to be successful.  Love feelings turn out to be only so-so guides to love actions.  Consistent, quality love or best-love behaviors mostly are a matter of skill acquisition and development, just like all other high quality actions.

How We Learn Doing Love

If we grow up in a loving home, we subconsciously may have absorbed love’s best practice knowledge and do it sort of automatically.  Otherwise, high-quality love actions can be purposefully learned and continuously improved, just like any art or skilled craft .

Sometimes people put enough thought into the how to’s of doing love in romance, into child raising or some new deep friendship and then, once the love relationship is established, for various reasons the love behaviors begin to fade or they quit doing the actions that convey love.  If that happens, the love relationship suffers and may even die.  At best, it will become only mediocre compared to what it might have been.

Good love consistently enacted takes good habit formation and updating with renewed new learning.  As Ovid, the great love poet of Rome taught in the year one, lasting love takes skill!  Skills are learned best by repeated practice with skill improvements being deeply enjoyed.  Becoming skillfully love actionable, loving and lovable usually does an amazing amount of good and brings on an astonishing array of good feelings for all concerned.

The Do Love Approach

Doing actions of love can be accomplished whether we feel love or not.  They can happen out of a commitment to be loving, a belief love behaviors are of high value and importance, out of religious faith or philosophy, and out of a sense of gambling on doing caring love actions as a best practice when we don’t know what else to do. “When in doubt do love” can be a guiding best practice when we know what the love action options really are.

To help become aware of those options we briefly introduce Love Actions at Three Levels and their component 12 Action Groups of Love Behaviors.

THE THREE BEHAVIOR LEVELS OF LOVE AND THERE 12 ACTION GROUPS OF LOVE

Level I ,   Core Love Actions                                                                      

(Basic concrete, more specific love actions which form the building blocks of higher-level love doing behaviors)                                    

Core Action Groups of Love

1. Touch love behaviors

2. Expression love behaviors (facial expression, tonal expression, gestural expression, postural expression, etc.)

3. Verbal love behaviors

4. Gifting love behaviors (object gifts, experience gifts and service gifts) 

Level II ,   Crucial Love Actions

(Behaviors essential to ongoing, quality, lasting love relating)

Crucial Action Groups of Love

5. Affirmation love behaviors

6. Self-Disclosure love behaviors (being emotionally transparent, open, intimately self sharing, going psychologically naked, etc.)

7. Tolerance love behaviors

8. Reception love behaviors (actions obviously indicating positive reception of love showing it has been received)

Level III ,   Cardinal Love Actions

(Higher order, broader range love behaviors, often with larger and longer impact and effects)

Cardinal Action Groups of Love

9. Nurturing love behaviors

10. Protective love behaviors

11. Well-Being love behaviors (includes differentiated love actions of healing, altruism, humanistic, humanitarian and benevolent love behaviors)

12. Metaphysical/Spiritual Love Behaviors

There is much more to learn about each of the above groups of behavior that express, demonstrate, send, transmit, create, cycle, channel and generate love.  Research exists on each showing they are statistically differentiated, separate yet interconnected, independent categories of how love gets done.  Furthermore, some indications exist that each of the 12 action groups of love may have somewhat different physical health, psychological health and relational health benefits.  More information about each can be found at this site and others.

We hope to provide a “how to” book more fully delineating each of the 12 action groups of love in the not too distant future.  We are pleased and boastful to say information about the 12 action groups of love given through workshops, in various presentations along with use in counseling has been quite helpful to many people already.

From Doing Love to Feeling Love

Feeling love can lead to doing love but it can also work the other way around.  A great many people find that once they are doing more of the actions of love, they start to feel it more and especially is that true of love’s many joyous and great to feel emotions.  Also occurring while or after doing love actions are love’s emotions of being deeply touched, profoundly moved, greatly empowered, awesomely affected, passionately inspired and heart-warmingly infused.  Even when those great emotions are not felt, love action gets an lot of good done and that is a huge positive to be proud of and pleased about.

One More Thing

With whom might you enjoy talking over this Mini-Love-Lesson?  Who else might you mention it to?  Who do you know who might benefit from it?  Help spread the word that love relating knowledge can make love relating better by telling them about the several hundred of mini-love-lessons available at this site – Thank you!

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

♥ Love Success Question: After reading this Mini-love-lesson are you probably going to be a more doing love oriented person?

Picture Thinking for Making Love Work Better and Better

Synopsis:  Thinking in pictures may be uniquely advantageous for making lasting advances in love and love relationships.  How and why that may be a brain truth.  Thinking creatively and constructively about love and love relationships with mental pictures; using other’s pictures for your own deeper love wisdom; and a thinking in pictures training exercise introduces this rather novel approach to creating love improvements in your life.

Picture Thinkers Proclaim

"It wasn't until I got into thinking in pictures that I found my way to a love that works and just keeps getting better and better."  So said Jake after his second divorce and several serious love affairs had crashed and burned.  A fair amount of regular talk therapy kept him going but did little for helping him get the love he so longed for.

Lacey’s experience was different.  She said, "It was like I couldn't get past the first line in a song.  Every time I got going with a new love interest, which was hard enough, it just didn't work out one way or another.  Then an art therapist got me into thinking with pictures.  Wow!  I saw what I could never have explained or understood with words alone.  That almost totally changed my way of going about love, romance, dealing with my family and dealing with myself.  Now, thinking pictorially guides my way with my marriage and my two lovely step-children as well.  It's probably not for everyone but it sure works for me."

What is it exactly that Jake and Lacey did that made their love relationships start working and then work better and better?  To really understand that, a little background information is needed.

Thinking in Pictures

The majority of people think primarily in words and some may not be able to think in pictures at all.  However, most can, and with some work, they can get good at it.  Some seem to be naturally good at it like many visual artists, architects, design engineers, etc.  People good at visual imagery and symbolic cognition often can reason pictorially, gain insights and have more global understandings which might be very hard to accomplish by words alone.  By doing so, they sometimes can arrive at fresh, creative and improved approaches and solutions to any of life's challenges.  This can include those challenges and problems having to do with love.  In fact, for many solving love problems and making advancements in love by way of thinking with pictures actually may prove to work better than trying to do so with words.  The reason for that has to do with the way your brain works.

Your Brain and Thinking in Pictures

When you think with pictures, your brain uses more and different parts than it does when you think in words alone.  Using those parts that deal with pictures frequently gets different and often better results than when you think only in words.  My experience with thousands of clients dealing with love issues tells me these picture or visual image ways of cognition can do just about everyone a great service with each and every type of love relating.  Using picture techniques often has been of considerable healing value in conducting individual, couple, family, sex and divorce adjustment therapy.

When we are doing picture thinking or visual cognition, brain scans and other brain activity diagnostic procedures shows a lot more going on in the deeper regions of the brain where it so happens that love largely is processed (see “What Your Brain Does With Love – Put Simply” and “Limbic Love & Why You Will Do Well To Know About It”).  Certain forms of therapy like Gestalt, Psychosynthesis and art therapy have developed ingenious techniques that appear to make great use of these brain phenomena involving picture thinking.  If you want to know more about this you may want to read Visual Thinking by Dr. Rudolf Arnheim and Upside Down Brilliance by Dr. Linda Kreger Silverman.

Three Kinds of Picture Thinking

Let me recommend you consider learning to use at least one of these three kinds of thinking about love with pictures so as to improve the types, quality and quantity of love going on in your life.

1. The Insight and Wisdom Gathering Approach
First, an example.  In a semi-hypnotic state, I asked Alex to visualize in some detail his three exes standing in front of him.  Then I asked him to see them slowly merging into one being.  Finally, I requested he tell me what he saw.  Alex immediately said, "My grandmother, but as a young woman.  She was the only woman who ever really loved me and I now know what to do next!  I have to stop trying to find a copy of her and I have to stop trying to make-over other women into her.  I have to love them for who they are and not compare them to her which I didn't know I was doing until right now.

Alex's sudden insight was fairly rare so let's look at another example.

Shelley drew an ugly sketch of her wounded heart which looked deformed and had a bleeding gash in it.  Then she was asked to draw a sketch of her heart healing.  This to her seemed impossible at first.  A week later she came back with a healthier looking heart sketch that was stitched up and there were mountains in the background and musical notes floating in the air around it.  In much better spirits, Shelley related her heart was indeed healing and she had been greatly helped by drawing this picture several times and listening to beautiful music and then going to the botanical gardens twice in the last week, as it seemed to her the drawing had pushed her to do.  Shelley titled the picture "I'm going to be okay after all".  She later described her drawings as being done by her wise and loving, internal, core self that she had mentally met by doing a drawing of an elderly, Cheyenne, medicine woman.  Shelley also described now being more comfortable with herself than perhaps she ever had been.

2. Diagrammatic Comprehension
In my practice, I met with a number of engineers in the aircraft and related industries along with their families in couples and/or family therapy.  Quite a few, at first, thought things psychological and emotional were impossible to deal with and were fuzzy, amorphous, intangible things.  Early on, I discovered that if I showed an engineer a diagram of his issues, or situation, or his own inner workings, the therapeutic process started working and then sped up.  Diagrams also were quickly useful in helping engineers talk to their family members about their feelings which otherwise often were quite difficult for them.  Sometimes later I would help them create their own diagrammatic understandings and subsequent solutions.  Implementing these solutions took more work but without the diagrammatic picture they might never have been arrived at.

I remember an architect who visualized all the rooms in his psychological heart-house and, by doing so, figured out what he needed to do in each room – to become more romantic in the bedroom and the dining room, to be nurturing in more different ways in the kitchen, to have more time to himself in his den, etc.  I also remember a metallurgist who in thinking in stress analysis diagrams, figured out how his destructive, quick temper could be dealt with better.  That helped his family situation tremendously.  Then there were the families who created family interaction diagrams together and, in the process, worked out more loving ways to relate to each other.

Working things out diagrammatically did not always work but it helped more often than not.  It also showed me understandings of what to do with individuals, couples and families I don't think I would otherwise have been able to arrive at.

3. Planning and Practicing Love Advances
This is a technique used a lot in sports and in the performing arts, especially dance.  It is one in which you visually create a mental movie of exactly how you plan to move, speak, touch and otherwise behave, so as to enact your love.  In doing that, you both create a plan and practice or rehearse the plan so as to do it better than you otherwise might have accomplished it.  Here is an example to use right now.

Mentally picture someone you love or want to have a love relationship with.  Spend time really seeing them in your mind's eye.  Picture their facial expression, posture, gestures if any, clothing or lack thereof, and everything else your mind’s eye can see.  Then mentally, in slow-motion, see yourself going to that person and watch how you lovingly look at them, touch them, speak to them, listen to them and interact with them.  Now, visualizing the mental movie again, improve it. 
Visualize and mentally experiment with different ways of touching, standing a bit closer, further away or sitting, varying your facial expressions, making your voice more loving, etc.  Once you have it just right, practice it in your mind several times.  Then go do it.

Of course, it is not likely to occur or turn out just the way you pictured it.  Every football player knows that no matter how many times in practice you run the play, in the actual game it will work differently but it will work better than without the practice.

Now, you may have been taught that all of love is supposed to be spontaneous and so planning and rehearsing seems phony or not genuine.  Let me contest that with the questions, “Isn't love important enough to do skillfully, and isn't the best of love often planned, practiced and, therefore, often better executed?

Using Other People's Pictures

Another way of thinking with pictures is to look at other people's pictures and discover what pops up in your own mind for the interpretation.  The idea here is not to try to figure out what the artist meant or was trying to convey, but rather let your own subconscious mind project into the picture its own meaning.  Then have your conscious mind become aware of your subconscious conceptualization and its understanding or message.

For practice, look at the illustration accompanying this mini-love-lesson.  Start with the three hearts with question marks at the bottom of the illustration.  Ask yourself to let these three parts represent three questions in your mind concerning you, and love, and your own love relationships.  Imagine, guess, or just make up the three questions.  Let the colors also have different meanings.  For instance, green might have something to do with growth.

Now, go up to the, framed pictures and imagine they represent a symbolic reply to the three questions.  Your job is to guess or pretend you know the meaning and give it to yourself.  For instance, if the green were to represent the question “how do you grow more self-love?” and the picture of a sailing ship appeared to mean you have to sail away from your current life, and land on a different lifestyle shore to grow more self-love, you would have an answer to ponder, integrate with other self-awareness, or struggle with it if you just could not just accept it.

Next, look at the flowing, multicolored arrow pointing to the single heart with the ! in it.  Might it symbolize a synthesis of the three questions arriving at a single answer or conclusion?  If so, for you and your questions what might that synthesis be?  Can you let your subconscious tell you right now, or perhaps tonight in a dream, or in an abstract sketch you might draw tomorrow?

You also might ask yourself what is your projected meanings for how the pictures are framed, colored, positioned, and what about the parts that are covered up.  Perhaps they all can be meaningful to you personally if you let them.  This works because whatever you think comes from you, and represents you and probably your deeper, inner processes which may be much wiser than you know
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Now, here is another thing you can do.  Most of the mini-love-lesson comes with an illustration.  Can you find a hidden meaning or message in every one you examine?  Some of them have blank spots or empty places.  What meaning or message will you find there?  Don't forget to think about the colors and what they might mean to you.  With a little work, every illustration can be used to tell you about you, and love in your life, because that is what they are all about and because your deeper, non-conscious mind can project into them messages for your conscious mind, if you work at it (see “Love Your Brain – Why & How”, "Listening With Love and In & Out Brain Functions”).

One More Little Thing

Might you do well to share this mini-love-lesson with somebody else and see what they think?  If you do please tell him about this site and all the totally free love lessons.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question:  If your psychological heart were a house, what would it look like and what would be going on in its basement, in its attic, as well as in the other rooms?  (You might try to sketch or draw your reply)

Cheating and Love, in Love Relationships

Mini-Love Lesson   #221


Synopsis:  A rather fresh view of cheating and its problems; surprising origins; dynamics; multiple causes; possible outcomes and what to do about it lovingly is quickly, yet broadly and very helpfully, covered here.


Cheating In Spite Of Love

"I love them both, what am I to do?  I tried to break it off with one then with the other but it never works,  I secretly always go back and start up again.  Sooner or later, one of them will leave me or maybe even both will leave me at the same time so, I guess I'll just keep lying to the both of them until then."  "I'm sure I truly do love my spouse but I just have to have others, so I lie and cheat and hate myself for it but, for now at least, I won't stop."  "I'm very conflicted.  I don't know why I cheat, I just do but I also dearly love my spouse"  These remarks, and many like them, are commonly heard in the offices of every good therapist who works with love relationships.  The good news is they all represent situations that, with some hard work, usually are healthfully and positively resolved in those offices.

Many who really do love also cheat.  A great many more seriously consider cheating.  Others fearfully suspect cheating is occurring in their own love relationship.  Cheating especially is thought to occur eventually with people tangled in false love syndromes.  Studies show over 50% of the marriages in Western world countries experience affair problems usually involving a lot of destructive deceptions inherit to cheating.

Cheating often brings on a great deal of lying, mistrust, stress, anxiety, depression, conflict, guilt, shame, general misery, profound confusion, family harm, breakups and divorces even among couples who truly love each other.  However, most committed couples who experience a cheating problem do not break up or divorce.  They find another way and stay together.  Some even use the cheating experience to strengthen their love relationship.  Love can conquer and heal the harm cheating so often does.  Of course, there are those who get away with it but they usually do not escape the draining strain and stress that usually comes with cheating.  Then there is the fact that cheating is often very dangerous.  In all too many situations, it can get you beat up, hospitalized, possibly crippled or even killed.  Then why do so many choose to cheat?

It is true some people cheat because they really do not love their spouse or love mate, but quite frequently that is not the real problem.  You can love and still cheat on the person you love for a whole host of different reasons.  Nevertheless, most cheating harms love because it involves dishonesty.  Remember, It is almost impossible to build something real and lasting out of that which is false and contrived, even when real love exists.

The Importance of Getting Clarity

Cheating, deception, lies, manipulating interactions and all that usually go with cheating often cause a cluttered, conglomerate of confusion and inner conflict.  So, getting clear about some of the issues involved is highly useful.

Some say it really is not cheating unless you and another, or even third parties involved, have a clear, mutually understood agreement about what cheating is and what not to do.  In counseling I have heard people say "What I did wasn't cheating because I didn't love who I had sex with", "It was only a one night stand so that shouldn't count", "Yes, we stimulated each other to orgasm but we didn't have intercourse, so that wasn't cheating, was it?", "Even if you loved Joe only in your mind, that still is cheating on me", "If you so much as look at any other woman, you're being unfaithful to me", "Sex with others is okay but don't you dare fall in love with anybody else but me, because that's really cheating ".

Most people seem to think that everyone has the same understanding of cheating which is just like their own, but they don't.  Phenomenology shows us no one has exactly your understanding of everything, especially not anything having strong emotional impact.  So, it all has to get talked out and clearly agreed upon, hard is that often is.  If you are going to get clarity about cheating and everything related, it probably is going to take interactive, uncomfortable, mutual, hard, communication work.  Unspoken agreements are best thought of as disagreements in waiting.

Two Base Points of Cheating

In most love relationship, cheating is oriented around one or both of two points.  One point is love and the other is sex.  It commonly is suggested that males, especially psychologically immature and insecure males, are concerned mostly about sexual cheating.  On the other hand, females, especially more psychologically mature but insecure females, are concerned largely about cheating related to love.  Bisexuals and transsexuals are thought perhaps to be more equally affected by both.

What may be more important than gender orientation is the strength of one's sex drive and/or the strength of one's drive or need for healthy, real love.  Also, very much involved is one's sense of being secure about sexual adequacy and/or one's sense of security about being lovable and love able.

Cheatings Two Biggest Causes?

Cheating is thought to be pretty much nonexistent among a fair number of the indigenous tribes of South America.  That is because they share a belief that babies are best grown out of multiple contributions of different male’s semen.  Women seek out and bed men with different qualities so that their offspring will have those male’s various qualities.  Bedding just one male makes for too few qualities in one's child.  This belief system also expands the number of men who take father responsibility for helping the child grow up.

That example, and others like it, suggest and point to a possible, real root-cause of our problems with cheating.  That root-cause is our deeply incorporated, cultural training about sex, spouse type love and monogamy.  Had we been brought up with a mores like those indigenous peoples of South America, we might have no need for romantic dishonesty and, therefore, no need for cheating.

This also suggests that those who can get more free of our standard, cultural training about spousal love and monogamy may be able to better love their way through cheating and affair problems.  Indeed, freedom from cultural control may help explain why so many couples do not end their relationship when cheating and affair issues occur.

The second major reason for cheating being so prevalent may have to do with our biology fighting our cultural training.  There is a growing amount of evidence and analysis pointing to the conclusion that a particular biological imperative rules.  That is that 1) males are built and driven to plant their seed in multiple vaginas and, 2) females are built and driven to get the seed of different men who have various desirable qualities planted in their vaginas.  Especially, might this be a natural truth for both higher quality males and females who have more survivor qualities to offer the human gene pool for our species continuence?

Apparently, this two-part, biological imperative operates somewhat independently of our natural, psycho-biological imperative to love-bond with others.  Successful, emotionally close, pair bonding (poly and throuple bonding) examples exists around the world and throughout history which have not been emphasized, where sexual monogamy has.  Our natural state in love relationships may be much closer to that of the bonobo apes.  They are seen as more family, friendship and small-tribe love bonded than pair bonded while still being very actively, multi-mingling sexually.  Interestingly, various indigenous peoples around the globe are found to have similar behavioral norms and to be without so many problems of jealousy, possessiveness, sexual insecurity, divorce or cheating.  Lots to think about, right?

Other Reasons for Cheating

"I had to cheat because I had to find out if I was still desirable".  "Actually, I cheated because the outside love and care I got gave me the fuel I needed to keep working on my marriage",  " I think I cheated mostly because that's what successful people do when they reach the status I have attained in life",  "It helped me a lot with my self-love",  "I did it out of vengeance",  "Everything else we both were doing in life was dishonest, so being dishonest in love and sex came easily",  "All my friends were doing it and it seemed like fun",  "To be truthful, I identified with being bad and cheating is so bad",  "Others I knew were getting away with it and I was so envious",  "It's what the people in my growing up family did, so why could I be any different",  "My spouse was far too goody-goody, straightlaced and normal.  I just couldn't live that way, so I started a secret life apart",  "I tried it out of boredom and got to really liking it".

These are but a small sampling of the multitudinous reasons people discover for their cheating.  Only occasionally the reason given is that a spouse is no longer loving, or attractive, or sexual.  Sometimes the reason is to escape or find somebody better than their inadequate or abusive spouse.  While the reasons are important, far more important is figuring out what to do about it.

Other Forms of Cheating

Cheating and deception can concern and does occur regarding money, substance and behavioral addictions (like gambling), family, status, personal history, religion, politics, food, health and a good many other things.  But it is the love and sex areas where cheating is the big deal that concerns us most here.

The Poly Cure for Cheating

In the history of Europe and the Americas, every so often there appears a new attempt at one approach or another for solving the problems inherent in monogamy, or if you prefer, serial monogamy.  Polygamy, communal sex, group marriage, swinging, open marriage, free love, and more recently, poly amore alternate lifestyles are but a few of the many examples available.  With each attempt, there are people who make it work quite well and those who do not.  Common to many of the attempts are emphases on open honesty and getting okay with people having both sex and love in multiperson ways.  Common also is condemnation by the more conservative and those threatened by the new and different.

With the advent of the social sciences, what makes these different love relationship ways succeed for some and fail for others is becoming more understood.  One answer may be this.  It seems that those who learn and practice the behaviors that demonstrate love well may be able to make any form of love relationship work better, including monogamy.  Those who more poorly, or less frequently behave in the ways that convey love, more likely fail at each form of love relating, also including monogamy.  So, perhaps it is not the form but the love abilities of the people engaging in the form that makes the difference.

Cheating is hardly ever a loving action.  It is an action that risks hurting and harming another person and perhaps several others severely.  Cheating in some situations may be the healthiest alternative available as well as the least dangerous and least destructive to all concerned but those situations are rare.  There are those who attempt open honesty and who are willing to work out "I win, you win, everybody wins" type solutions.  And there are those who may be truly unable, as well as unwilling, to go for "tri-victory" outcomes.  Likewise, there are counselors and therapists who do not have what it takes to help others achieve two party, let alone three party resolutions, when cheating and affairs have been involved.  But with other nonjudgmental counselors, it can be done.

The Couple's Cure for Cheating

In my experience working with couples who have a cheating issue and supervising therapists who deal with similar issues, what helps the most is a very love-centered couple’s counseling, largely done in conjoint sessions where the couple meets together with the therapist.  Such therapists work in an unbiased way, are rather loving, practical, highly truth oriented and willing to experiment with couples outside the box toward possible solutions for improvement.  Couples’ group counseling may follow and greatly add to the strength of improvements.

The Individual’s Cure for Cheating

For individuals, I have found individual group therapy to quite often be the most advantageous and efficient treatment, though singular individual counseling may work well too.  The challenging but supportive and non-condemning ways of a good positive-focused group therapy can work wonders to help people give up a cheating way of going about relating and to risk replacing it with ways that are much more lovingly truthful.

For more help related to cheating, you may wish to consult these mini-love-lessons: “Love Affairs: Bad?, Good? and Otherwise”, “Trust Recovery and Love”, “Protecting Those You Love from Yourself”, “Forgiveness - A Much Needed Love Skill”, “Checking It Out - As a Love Skill” and link “Conclusions, Confounding and Corrupting Your Love?”.   I also heartily recommend reading Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jetha.  In my biased view, serious cheating issues are best dealt with with the help of a good love knowledgeable therapist, well-trained in relationship therapy, not just individual therapy.  You might be able to find one of those therapists via your national marriage and family therapy and/or counseling associations.

One more thing:  let us suggest you talk to some people about your thoughts and feelings concerning this mini-love-lesson on cheating and this site’s many other love lessons.  Think about quoting and using the following quotable love question to include in that talk.

As always –Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

♥ Quotable Love Question:  If we can love two parents, several siblings, four grandparents and other relatives, including stepparents and multiple friends all at the same time, why do we think we can not have real love for two or even more lovers simultaneously?

Wellness: Its Necessity, Healthy Real Love

Mini-Love-Lesson  #220


Synopsis:  How the Wellness approach includes, but takes us beyond, ordinary healthcare and reparative/maintenance medicine.  The wellness focus takes us to higher levels of filling our potential for greater health and includes how love (self, other, higher, etc. love) is crucial to the process.


The Health/Love Connection

Can you be healthy without Love?  The mounting evidence is strongly pointing to the answer being – no.  No, because it seems that without healthy, real love in our lives we begin to neurochemically and biochemically malfunction.  That sets us up for a host of serious biological, psychological and associated relational problems.  Fortunately, the opposite is also true.  With a sufficient supply of healthy, real love, our physical, psychological and relational health tends to soar.  When we are the recipient of healthy, real love behaviors our brain and body chemistry processes operate more efficiently, effectively, more powerfully and just generally better.  To know more, you can Google Love and Health and get into the plethora of supporting studies and books.  Our bodies, and especially our brains, respond to those improved chemistry changes in many wonderfully healthful ways.  In turn, that greatly assists us in achieving our personal potential for above normal health and maximum wellness.

You can learn the details of how all that functions by reading Love and Survival by Dr. Dean Ornish, a wellness-oriented physician/medical researcher.  He wrote one of the best and most interesting summary books on how love effects health.  Also, at this site, you can go to “What Your Brain Does with Love - Put Simply”.

Wellness and How It Differs from Other Healthcare?

The Wellness approach is rather different than the treating sickness and fixing injuries focus which historically is the more usual orientation of medicine.  It also is different from the prevention and safety foci of many healthcare services.  Wellness aims at helping us achieve higher than average or above normal “high health”.

Wellness practices involve a process of taking actions toward more healthful living, above and beyond just treating issues of ill health or just maintaining one’s average level of general health.  The wellness approach aims at promoting and achieving maximum health in all major areas of life.  That includes physical, psychological (cognitive and emotional), occupational, spiritual or metaphysical, environmental and relational aspects of life.  It is a lifestyle and holistically oriented, multidisciplinary effort aimed at optimal, healthful living for not only an individual’s benefit but also for communitarian and ecological healthfulness.  It's hard to live in ongoing wellness surrounded by that which is unhealthy.  Sooner or later a sick environment makes its inhabitants sick too.

Wellness approaches especially are focused on discovering and assisting the development of positive strengths, qualities and potentials for health.  It is more about advancing what is good and what can become really good than fixing what is wrong or just keeping things well enough.  Fixing what is wrong, if there is something wrong, is of course included in the wellness approach. 
The medical wellness approach to health is inclusive of augmentative and super-additional practices.  At some wellness centers this includes non-illness issues such as skin care, hair care, massage therapy, exercise and nutrition assistance. 

Helping Love Help Your Health

First, some questions.  How is your love relationship with yourself?  That is important because the more you healthfully love yourself, the more you are likely to do a good job of growing your wellness.  Conversely, a lack of healthy self-love can result in poor self-care, poor motivation to improve or to stay with a program for wellness, as well as poor self-love can lead to ignoring one's sabotaging, unhealthy, lifestyle actions.

For help with healthy self-love, at this site go to these mini-love-lessons: “Self-Love – What Is It?”,  “Self-Love, a Good Thing or a Bad Thing”, and “From Self-Love to Other Love and Back Again”.

Also, how are your love relationships with others?  Who will benefit by you growing your wellness?  That is important because the more you grow your wellness the better you are likely to be at loving those you love and those who love you.  So, who do you truly love and who are you loved by?  And/or are you going to give them a more well you?

Next, do you have and are you working at having healthy, well-functioning and empowering love relationships?  If you are, that can do absolute wonders for your wellness development.  Conversely, a lack of love, being trapped in a false love syndrome, or living in love relationships that are filled with problems can do terrible things to you and your health.  Those negative lifestyles may weaken your immunity mechanisms, bring on stress reactions, mess up digestion and metabolism functioning, increase your bad cholesterol, drain and de-energize you, cause insomnia or other sleep disturbances, lessen cancer resistance, make for blood pressure problems and greatly increase your likelihood of developing anxiety and/or depression problems, cause addiction’s relapse, increase the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes, as well as exacerbate any other health difficulties you may be dealing with.

So, how is your spouse/mate love, family love, deep friendship love, pet love, spiritual love, love of life, altruistic love, and all else you may truly love?   Are your love relationships empowering you, inspiring you, sustaining you, reducing your stress and bringing you substantial happiness?  Now, as you assess this, don't forget your love relationship with yourself.  Ample evidence shows the more you work to improve and enjoy your love relationships the more likely you are to be helping your health move toward fulfilling your personal potential for wellness.

The Flourishing of Wellness Medicine & Healthcare

Newly started wellness-focused medicine and healthcare programs are assisting people of all ages, situations and conditions to move toward fulfilling their own potential for wellness and high health.  Physicians, RNs, PAs, psychotherapists, health counselors and coaches, plus a good many others, have begun to receive specialist training in wellness medicine/healthcare and also start qualifying for recently instituted, specialized wellness credentialing.  Newly created Wellness Centers and clinics are showing up in more and more communities.  Degrees in wellness are starting to be offered at universities.  Large corporations are starting wellness programs for their workers staffed by specially trained, new, wellness practitioners.  But you may wonder, what really makes wellness medicine different or an advancement?  What does it have to offer in addition to the more familiar forms of medical care?

In the past, most of medical practice has been focused on treating illness and injury, or in disease prevention and safety maintenance.  And as stated above, the wellness focus in medicine is different in that it aims toward achieving "high health" or maximum wellness and greater fulfillment of one's potential for living healthfully.  This has led to new and different diagnostic procedures, along with new recommendations for health achieving behaviors, new and different medicinal prescriptions and protocols, as well as new and different forms of treatments and treatment regimens.

Wellness medicine is a little bit similar to the bracket of sports medicine which focuses on improving and maintaining high athletic performance.  But instead of a sport orientation, the goal is helping fulfill our potential for achieving above usual health.  You see, you are built with a potential to go beyond average and achieve above normal healthfulness.  The wellness focus in healthcare is aimed at helping you fulfill that potential.

Furthermore, a wellness approach can help you become more healthful in a wider variety of non-critical areas that often do not get attended to.  Even though some of these are not crucial, those areas when improved add to your general, all over wellness and sense of well-being.

The wellness approach is based in a growing body of medical and related research into what is different about the people who live in high health around the world.  What you do and do not put into your body, plus how and how much you exercise plays a big role.  Genetics, of course, is part of all over wellness.  But the rest of it, and perhaps the majority factor, has to do with healthful lifestyle behaviors and the thoughts and behaviors that support those lifestyle behaviors.  That is where love comes in along with everything else that impacts you emotionally, cognitively and behaviorally.

Here is a simple, arguable precept.  Those who love well and are loved well tend to live well.  They also tend to live longer, more fulfilled, happier, physically and psychologically healthier, more productive, more socially connected and satisfied, and generally live more beneficially to others.  If you doubt that, do some research.  I suggest you start with our working definition of love so that you have a more grounded and factual understanding of what we mean by love (see “The Definition of Love”).  Then read the widely acclaimed work titled Who Gets Sick by Dr. Blair Justice, a highly regarded health research psychologist.  You can Google “love and health” and dig into all the research about the many surprising ways love positively influences physical and psychological health.  I think you'll find plenty of evidence showing healthy, real love is wonderful for whatever ails you and for developing wellness.

How to Go toward Your Own Greater Wellness

Take action!  Look for wellness practitioners and Wellness Centers in your own locale.  Read some of their websites.  Call one or two of them and ask about what they offer.  Go visit a wellness center and get a feel for the place and the personnel you meet there.  Get and read some of their literature.  Be sure to get a list of the credentials of the main practitioners working there.  Check some of those out on the Internet.  Do they hold doctorates and, if so, in what?  Are they licensed health professionals?  It appears that osteopathic physicians (DOs) are providing a lot of the leadership in the wellness approach but there also are plenty of MDs, PhD's R.N.'s PAs and others.  Find out if this particular practitioner or wellness center is connected to, or associated with, a hospital, medical clinic, university or other recognized institution or health involved agency.  Then see if you can get an introductory, possibly free conference with one of the center’s practitioners so as to find out what they might do with and for you.

Wellness centers vary widely in their offerings.  Some are in places where traditional medicine is also practiced.  Others have alternative, new age and Oriental health treatments available.  Still others may offer physical therapy, hormone balancing, laser services, couples enrichment, weight control, stress management, high achievement coaching, meditation, a wide variety of different forms of massage therapy and quite a host of other services.

Some wellness practitioners and wellness centers include programs for couples and families and children and even, once in a while, pets.  Also some wellness professionals and centers have really terrific diagnostic options by which they can tell you all sorts of important health information and use to design a really fine, personalized and custom tailored, just for you, wellness program.  Group programs also may exist, and have the extra advantages of interaction dynamics, and may be cheaper too.  So, be sure to get the full rundown.  Then consider signing up for something and trying-on for size the wellness approach.  Many do and are very glad of it.

If you cannot find a wellness practitioner or wellness center close enough, you might want to check with the USA's National Wellness Institute at the University of Wisconsin.  There you may be able to find out about their programs, along with various online offerings and additional recommendations.  They also may be able to make suggestions for finding wellness practitioners, centers and organizations in your locale and internationally.

One more thing.  Who are you going to talk over wellness ideas  with, and maybe in the process tell them about this site and all its many offerings?

As always –Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question:  Who would you most like to team with going toward greater wellness?

Becoming Well Loved and More Loved – Three Main Ways

Synopsis: Here you get to learn about the counter-societal, teaching idea of getting yourself well loved; and three main, different than usual, ways to achieve that; a three level understanding of love actions you can take; and dealing with the question of who is to be in charge of the love in your life; plus some fine book and mini-love-lesson recommendations.


The Importance of Getting Yourself Well Loved

Since you are reading this you probably have an understanding of the importance of love in your life plus you are being proactive not just relying on luck, fate, etc. to take care of your loved needs.  What you may not know is just how widespread and deep the importance of love goes and some of the major things you can do to put healthy, real love into your life.

The evidence is mounting.  Research in a wide array of scientific fields points to those well loved as living healthier and longer, happier, more productive, more successful, living more balanced, having better sex, helping others more, contributing more to the general well-being of all, recovering from illnesses faster, having better friendships and having greater success in all types of love relationships.

The converse also is appearing to be true.  Being poorly loved or unloved looks to be bad for your health and well-being in just about every area studied so far.  You might read Love and Survival by Dr. Dean Ornish.

The good news is you can get yourself well loved.  The not so good news is much of what our love-ignorant world tells us to do to have love, find love, etc. doesn’t work very well.  And then there also is the myth that you should do nothing until love finds you or your love fate is determined by mystifying forces over which you have little or no influence.  One educated estimate reports that relying on that myth gives you about a 15% chance of succeeding at love.  Luckily, certain in-depth analytical works suggest your subconscious probably does not believe in that myth and naturally pushes you to actively go searching for love whether you consciously know it or not.  Now, if you add conscious learning and thinking about love, like you are doing right now, you can vastly improve your chances with some well-chosen and well informed actions.  However, those actions are not commonly understood very well.  They fall into three major categories which I will present you with right now.

I. To become well loved – become more lovable and then even more lovable!

We can know that basically you already are lovable because you grew and got enough love to survive your first two years of life.  Otherwise, you would have died of a failure to thrive illness like marasmus because that is what happens to unloved infants.

Your Lovability is something you can do a lot things about.  First, it helps to understand what being and becoming lovable means and what those things you can do about it are and are not. One thing to do, if you do not already, is to own-up to the idea that you already are in possession of at least some natural, lovable attributes.  Your job is to grow them and your all over lovableness, add to it, practice it and then show it.

Being lovable itself can be simply defined as having and exhibiting attributes, traits and characteristics which attract and draw affection and loving thoughts, feelings and actions to you.  So, what do you know about the traits and characteristics associated with being lovable?  It is important to know that lovability has both a more surface and a more deep meaning.  Both are worth consideration.

Lovability at the more surface level means exhibiting traits like being adorable, amiable, charming, cheerful, cute, complimentary, engaging, embraceable, fetching, genial, pleasing, rewarding and winsome.  There are others you may want to add.

Being lovable in a deeper meaning way includes characteristics like being kind, caring, compassionate, able to be tender, emotionally warm, accepting, supportive, trustworthy, harmonious, positive, non-judgmental, affirmative, self disclosing, tolerant, friendly, assertive rather than aggressive, and most of all easily willing and able to be sincerely loving.  Here too, there are other characteristics you might want to include.

Now, you might want to start evaluating your own having and exhibiting lovableness traits and characteristics, along with goals and actions for making improvements.  Consider journaling those.  I also heartily recommend reading Lovability by Dr. Robert Holden, a book that could really help you grow your own lovability.

II. To Have Love – Become Loving and Then More and Better at Being Sincerely And Actively Loving!

This is an old teaching literally going back at least to the year one when Ovid put it forth in his teachings and writings on love and sex in his famous The Art of Love.  Modern, behavioral, science research suggests he was quite right.  Those who are good at being actively loving to themselves as well as to others are the ones most likely to get good, healthy, real and lasting love coming their way.

Becoming more loving requires learning what being loving is and how it is done.  It is a bit more involved than you might suppose.  Therefore, you may have to study it rather closely and repeatedly.  You may have to learn to think more lovingly and more about love itself (see “Thinking Love to Improve Love”).  You may have to cultivate getting yourself in touch with the many emotions of love and feeling them more fully (see “An Alphabet of Love’s Good Feelings”).  Most of all, it takes learning and practicing the behaviors that convey love and help you gain skills for getting love to happen.  For your healthy self-love, it helps to greatly enjoy doing all that.  Some of love’s sages teach that if you are excited and joyful in the process of learning to be more and better at loving, it is a good sign indicating you are doing it well.

To help you learn what the behaviors of love are, I recommend you familiarize yourself with this three level, 12 point schema.  Remember, love is complicated and this will actually make it more clear and simplify it – some.

BEHAVIORS THAT CONVEY LOVE CATEGORIES

Cardinal Behaviors of Love (those of comprehensive and inclusive preponderant importance)
Nurturing love actions (growth, developmental, actualizing)
Protecting love actions (guarding, prevention, defending)
Healing love actions (healthcare, recovery and well-being)
Metaphysical/Spiritual love actions (meditation, prayer, ritual)

Crucial Behaviors of Love (those that are acutely important and decisive in major, ongoing love relationships)
Affirmational love actions (affirming the value of the loved)
Self-Disclosure love actions (sharing oneself, transparency)
Tolerational love actions (tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness)
Receptional love actions (receiving love well gives love)

Core Behaviors of Love (those that are basic and foundational)
Tactile love (connection, affection, sexuality)
Expressional love (facial, tonal, gestural, postural)
Verbal love (words spoken and written)
Gifting love (object gifts and experience and service gifts)

To learn and have a fuller understanding of these categories, I suggest you consult the Behaviors category in this site’s labels links below and start with the mini-love-lesson titled “Behaviors That Give Love – the Basic Core Four”.  My book, Recovering Love, covers the Crucial and Core Behaviors more fully and very usefully.  The Five Love Languages, by the Rev. Dr. Gary Chapman, has helped a lot of people with the how-to’s of being loving with a different and somewhat simpler, action-oriented approach.

III. To Become Well Loved and More Loved – Become Love Active, and then Much More Love Active!

Go create your own new and better chances for love.  You can do that by going the same old places you always go, with the same old people but risk acting in more loving, new and different ways.  You also can do that by risking going to different places and with new groups of people while acting more loving in your new and different ways.

Take what you are learning about love and put it into actions again and again.  Go out and about being lovable and loving!  Make the places you inhabit your experimental love lab and your practice fields.  Have fun with honing your skills when helping people feel more loved, valued, attended to, cared about and enjoyed.  Give some thought and a little planning to quick hit-and-run loving, fast guerrilla attack love and brisk who was that mysterious stranger love actions.  Get some images in your mind of what those terms might mean and enact some of them.  Practice on just about everybody including yourself.  Do be sensitive to other’s adverse reactions and tame it down a little when necessary.  But if done with a smile and sincere good-will, you probably will get positive reactions and will be modeling good loving and lovability in the process.

It can be very important for you to pay the price of discomfort as you go explore new and different groups of people.  To do that well, it is important for you to ponder what you think of them rather more than be concerned about what they think of you.  Remember, socially it works better to be the chooser than the chosen and certainly far better than being the beggar.  Usually, the trick is to be friendly assertive (not aggressive) as you listen and ask questions more than you talk or work to impress.  It is very okay to target people you are attracted to but don’t forget attraction and love are very different things (see “Attraction or Love or What?”).  Much of what you do probably will not work very well, especially at first.  Healthy, real love usually does not usually come easily nor should it.  It works best if you count your victories as a whole lot more important than your losses.  You can learn how to succeed from both victories and losses.

Who Is Going to be In Charge of Your Love?

Doesn’t your life of love belongs to you?  Yes, you can share ownership with those you love and those who love you but isn’t it your joyful job to not only give but get yourself well loved?  That, of course, flies in the face of much cultural training which teaches going after love gets in the way of getting it, that it is egotistical and selfish and it is not the way love is supposed to work.  Could it be that those ideas were invented to keep the competition de-activated?  Could it also be that, regarding love, whoever said “the race goes to those who dare to run it” was right?  I might add that it also goes to those who learn to run well and practice a lot.

If you really get determined to get yourself more lovable, more loving and more love active and you use the three major ways (Core, Crucial and Cardinal behaviors) plus employ everything else you can learn to do about healthy, real love, it is likely but not guaranteed that your life of love will be a much bigger, better success.  Work happily to become more lovable, more loving and more love active and see what happens!

One More Little Thing

Who can you talk this over with who may enjoyably disagree or challenge these ideas or your ideas about these ideas?  While you are at it, we would like it if you tell them about this site and its many, totally free, mini-love-lessons.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question: Who and what got you to think the way you have in the past thought about love and how well has that worked?

Serene Love - A Gentle Power Flowing

Synopsis: Here you are consciously introduced to a calmly flowing form of love you probably experienced very early in life and likely would do well to experience a great deal more--Serene Love.


A Love You Know and Can Know Better

You have heard of Passionate Love, Compassionate Love and maybe even Adamant Love but what do you consciously know about Serene Love?

Healthy, real love flows into its serene dynamic when it becomes calmly happy, safely and joyfully tranquil with emotional warmth and a sense of sanctified harmony.  You might have (or hopefully have) experienced Serene Love as an infant in the protective arms of a loving parent, perhaps gently rocking you into a sense of deep, secure, love-filled, connected contentment.

Or possibly you might have felt something like Serene Love in utero in the later stages of development when your mother lovingly stroked her tummy and talked softly to you.  Those and similar experiences probably planted Serene Love deep in your subconscious.  It also helped save you from dying of the infant killer – marasmus and other failure to thrive syndromes.  Now, with conscious knowledge of Serene Love, you may be able to add many enrichments to your personal and relational health and well-being.

What Is Serene Love?

Serene Love is what its name implies, love with serenity.  And it is much more than that.  Healthy, real love takes on its serene form when it is flowing calmly, peacefully yet powerfully all-around and all through us.  Serene Love puts us into a state of feeling encompassed by very nurturing love while at the same time feeling very serene, fully content and profoundly tranquil.  It includes a sense of being safe and secure with peaceful joy.  When shared with a loved one (s), it often can come with an intense sense of being joined together and united with that loved one (s) in Serene Love .  It is sometimes described as blessedly spiritual, intimately inspiring and providing a sense of total well-being and complete contentment.

How Serene Love Comes to Us

As an adult you may have experienced Serene Love when intimately “spooning” as you went to sleep with someone you dearly loved and who loved and cherished you.  Or perhaps it was when being preciously treated and gently held or tenderly cuddled.  It may occur again when feeling deeply and very personally understood, thoroughly accepted and peacefully core connected while wrapped in heartfelt unity.  Often Serene Love immerses us in its warm, gentle, restorative flow when we accept being cared for, consoled, comforted and especially highly, intrinsically valued by someone very important to us.

Sometimes Serene Love arrives and helps us to thrive via sharing tender precious intimacies, at other times with a soft sunny lightheartedness and yet still at other times as we feel a deep awesome spirituality.  When people experience Serene Love they are apt to smile and occasionally say awesome things like the following lovers quotes: “today feels like God is in his heaven and all is right with our world”; or with a loved one “right now with you I’m completely happily saturated with what seems like a perfect moment of our togetherness” or “it feels like we are soaring together as we flow into, around, through and totally with each other as we ascend into the cosmos itself.”

Serene love can be experienced in shared, tranquil closeness with another.  It might happen walking hand-in-hand under the stars, being jointly swept along with great music, holding each other as you look at your children sleeping or just being quiet and entirely with who you love and are loved by.Mindfulness and Serene Love
You may miss out on the greatness of Serene Love experiences if you are not pausing to pay mindful attention to the possibility of their gentle, flowing arrival.  This is because Serene Love often is experienced as a sort of quiet, subtle, placid drifting forward on a stream of contentment and connectedness, easily rushed past in a busy life.  A full experience of Serene Love takes lingering in awareness of the existential now after turning off the troubling concerns of the past, the future and the outside distractions of the present.  Then it is useful to start purposefully and appreciatively focusing on love and whatever might be serenely enjoyed in that moment.  Doing that can bring you the rich, golden, healthy, halcyon happiness of Serene Love.  When it is shared with someone you love, it can come with extra fine touches of tender, intimate, personal specialness.

Mild, Moderate and Intense Serene Love

Some experiences of Serene Love are only mild and momentary.  They, nevertheless, are precious and to be cherished.  In love relationships, a look of love, a few words of appreciation or affirmation, a certain loving tone of voice, a just right hug, an act of extra kindness, an intimate personal self-disclosure and thousands of other small showings of love can produce both mild and moderate Serene Love experiences (see “A Behavioral (Operational) Definition of Love”. However, it tends to work best, for those who will notice and linger a bit, in mindful awareness of the possibility of Serene Love being present.

Serene Love also can be experienced intensely, especially by those who organize their lives to include time for this possibility.

For couples, romance can help.  Savoring togetherness and not rushing on to the next thing is essential.  It is important to make sure that romantic experiences are fully enjoyed and shared as they transpire, and are not just goal-oriented steps toward sexual satisfaction.

With children, parents, other family members or friends, having carefree, real appreciation of each other can open one to the mild, the moderate and occasionally even the more intense Serene Love experiences.

Being with yourself alone while being meditative sometimes can open you up to joining with a sense of universal love and your purely positive connection with the universe.  That, in turn, can bring on great experiences of intense, serene love even having a Nirvana-like intensity.


Your Brain and Serene Love

Via the brain study sciences, we can point to Serene Love facilitating a neurological, parasympathetic brain pattern sometimes dubbed the deep relaxation response.  That pattern sets off a group of body wide reactions generating a general state of calm contentment.  Relationally, that state then tends to be followed by a greater propensity to being cooperative, kind, appreciative and affectionate toward others.

Experimentally, those understandings were arrived at after research subjects, who were evaluated as being in healthful love relationships, meditated on those they loved while brain activity and various other neurological measurements were being made (see “What Your Brain Does with Love”).  Here, the evidence is tentatively interpreted as suggesting the experimental subjects were experiencing at least a mild state of Serene Love which induced, or triggered, the deep relaxation response in their brains.  That then resulted in increased relationally positive behavior tendencies.  Thus, we might postulate that Serene Love thoughts beget more love feelings which, in turn, beget increased love actions.  Or put more simply, love begets love just like the ancients taught.

A wide range of fields at a variety of universities and research institutions are involved in this type of brain/love research.  At those, a number of repetitions and variations of the above described type of experimental procedures are ongoing, as are further analysis and interpretation of the existing experimentally obtained data.  The works of Dr. Daniel G. Amen, Dr. Helen Fisher, Dr. Gerald Hüther, Dr. Geoffrey Miller and quite a few others may be consulted for further science-based knowledge on the subject.


The Many Wonderful Benefits of Serene Love

First of all, the evidence strongly suggests Serene Love is very good for your physical health, for your loved ones and everybody else.  Stress-related illnesses and early deaths, according to some studies, are rampant and increasing in many parts of the world.  In those places, they may account for, or be involved in, at least half the visits to physicians, more than half the prescriptions written and a majority of hospitalizations involving strokes and heart attacks.

Serene Love experiences are seen as both a very helpful preventive measure and an assistive antidote for all that.  Serene Love provides a potent path toward achieving the therapeutic serenity viewed as essential in the treatment of addictions.  Being able to experience periods of Serene Love is thought to positively influence just about every biological process going on in your body.  It has been surmised that recovery and rehabilitation from all sorts of different wounds, accidents and debilitating conditions can be assisted and enhanced by Serene Love.

Second, the evidence also strongly suggests that Serene Love is very good for your psychological health.  Depression and anxiety in particular, but virtually all other psychological maladies are thought to at least somewhat, and often to a major degree, improve when patients participate in periods of feeling Serene Love.  This probably can be done through self-love, couple love, family love, friendship love, pet love, spiritual love or any other kind of healthy, real love.  It is surmised that recovery and rehabilitation from most types of psychological and psychiatric difficulty can be therapeutically enhanced by Serene Love.

Third, Serene Love is absolutely great for all sorts of different forms of love relationships.  Experiencing Serene Love together with a love mate or spouse has been known to help cure the worst of lover and marriage type, relationship problems, get couples through the worst of relationship effecting difficulties and inspire the most positive and wonderful of love mate interactions.  Something of the same can be said to be true for families, parents and offspring and friendship networks.

Fourth, for individuals and groups, spiritual, metaphysical, cosmic connection, universality, beatific and deity focused Serene Love experiences have been reported by many from all around the globe as perhaps the most inspiring, meaningful, beautiful, healing and life transforming of all love experiences.

In short, Serene Love provides all the healthful benefits of experiencing real love coupled with and intertwined with experiencing serenity.


Cultivating Serene Love

For a lot of people, having a Serene Love experience seems to come as something of a surprise.  It also seems true that having Serene Love experiences are much sought after and hoped for but still rather unexpected when they happen.  That may be because Serene Love is not broadly, well identified and, therefore, not given much conscious thought, learned about, or understood as something which may be cultivated.

To purposefully cultivate the possibility of having a Serene Love experience, it helps to first be able to consciously identify Serene Love and then know something about how it might come to be experienced.  Then it helps to put yourself into the situations or create the conditions in which Serene Love is thought likely to occur and merge into your conscious awareness.

Here are just a few potential Serene Love possibilities.  You and a loved one comfortably cuddling together in beautiful surroundings, looking out at gorgeous scenery, being and not doing anything else or needing to.  Quietly lingering while looking in on your safe and secure, sleeping child and gratefully marveling at the miraculous wonderfulness of the love you have with that child.  Coming back to a very welcoming love-filled home after a long and arduous time away.  Lying together with your very special love mate in a sense of complete awesome connection after superbly intimate tender lovemaking.  Gratefully, appreciatively and prayerfully meditating on the beautiful, the incredible, the great, the grand and the never completely knowable marvels of existence.

Absorbing the awesome beauty of a symphonic piece or an exquisite painting and feeling deeply moved and thankful for the opportunity.  Savoring awareness and intense appreciation of the precious, the intimate and the intangibly special wonders which help Serene Love sweep over and through you.  Being un-busy in thought, feelings and/or actions also can set the stage for experiencing Serene Love.  Staying appreciatively focused and concentrating on the positive and the meaningful while not attending to distractions or the should’s and ought to’s of life can be quite assistive.  Seeking to empathetically and intrinsically know and be known by someone you intimately core connect with in love.

Critical to Serene Love are protective love actions.  These are essential elements so that the safety factor of Serene Love can be established and maintained.  Without a sense of safety and security, the dynamic flow of serenity is hard to establish and not likely to be sufficiently sustainable.

Hopefully these thoughts will at least get you started toward your own river of love flowing more often in its highly beneficial, serene dynamic.  Perhaps also, it will help you help those you love and care about to be more often tranquilly immersed in the river of Serene Love.


One More Thing

Might you find it an enrichment to talk these ideas over with another, and while you are at it, let them know about this site’s mini-love-lessons for better love relating and spreading needed love knowledge?

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly


Love Success Question:  If you are going to do something about Serene Love today, or no later than tomorrow, what might it be?