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Does “Feeling in Love” Come from Real or False Love?

Mini-Love-Lesson #179
FREE – Over 200 Mini-Love-Lessons
Touching the Lives of Thousands  In over 190 Countries-Worldwide!

Synopsis: This mini-love-lesson presents ‘feeling in love’ and the lost wisdom about it; the harm that comes of relying on it; the questions of if it doesn’t come from real love where does it come from; what to do with “feeling in love”; does it always fade; what the brain does about “feeling in love” and “ being in love”; another big danger; then ends with the good news about feeling in love. (Who do you know that might benefit from mentioning mini-love-lesson?  You might mention it to them.)

Lost Wisdom about Feeling in Love

Not so long ago it was widely recognized that because you felt wonderfully “in love” it did not mean for certain you were in a state of real love.  Many instead knew it could be infatuation, or a crush or maybe just lust.  Others thought it could be that you were temporarily bewitched or merely enamored, enraptured, besotted, hart struck or, my favorite, twitterpatted.  In any case it was common wisdom that these words meant that what you were feeling might not last and, not for sure, were real love.

This was rather helpful because it assisted people in being patient and waiting long enough to see if ‘feeling in love’ would last and was real.  Two world wars seem to be what changed all that.  ‘falling’ in love quickly replaced long engagements and got much more popular.  So did quickly having sex and quickly getting married before the war or one of its horrid ancillaries killed one of you.  That seems to be the way it often works in desperate times.  The trouble with that is it set the new norm of believing that ‘feeling in love’ was all it took to mean it was the real thing.  The wisdom of “wait-and-see” was lost.

The Harm Done by Relying Only On ‘Feeling in Love’

Listen to Dolores, “I knew I loved my husband but was no longer ‘in love’ with him.  Then I met and fell head over heels in love with Chuck, had an affair with him, divorced my husband, devastated my kids, had arguments with my family and friends and generally messed up everything.  But at the time I didn’t care because I knew I was totally and passionately ‘in love’ and that was all that really mattered.  Two years later Chuck and I were done.  My ‘feeling in love’ just turned off.  So did Chuck’s and he quickly found another woman.

“With professional help, I now know what I felt for Chuck was a false form of love called “Limerence”.  I tried to go back to my husband where I now know real love existed but it was too late.  He had a new lady in his life who was busy making him and my kids happier than I had.  If only someone had taught me that ‘feeling in love’ could not be relied on.  Somewhere I had learned just the opposite that ‘feeling in love’ meant it was the real thing, but it wasn’t.”

Dolores’s story sadly is the story of countless others.  Real love lost, traumatized children, needless divorces, and much worse – these are the tragedies of relying too greatly only on ‘feeling in love’.  And this is all because so many people now believe merely ‘feeling in love’, even if intensely, means it must be the real thing (Check out the Problems and Pain section of the Subject Index.).

If It’s Not the Real Thing, What Is It?

‘Feeling in love’ can lead to the real thing but more often it does not.  ‘Feeling in love’ is frequently the result of one or another form of false love.  The false love called Limerence that Dolores identified lasts 2 to 4 years on average.  The ‘I’ phase of an IFD pattern romance seems to have a super strong ‘feeling in love’ component which also almost guarantees profound disappointment, demoralization and depression in the ‘D’ phase.  Unresolved Conflict Attraction Syndrome and Thrill and Threat Bonding frequently appear to sort of do the same thing. (For more complete descriptions and cures for these false love syndromes check out the e-book, Real Love False Love.

What to Do with ‘Feeling in Love’

When ‘feeling in love’, enjoy it fully!  Know it may lead to the real thing but no matter how good and strong the ‘feeling in love’ is, don’t rely on it as proof of real love.  It is not enough.  Learn the other signs of what is real and what is false and don’t be in a rush.  Remember, real love is patient. (See “How Love Works – 7 Basics” and “Falling Out of Love – or Was It False Love” mini-love-lessons at this site).

Does ‘Feeling in Love’ Always Fade?

So many people report that after a certain amount of time the passion, the romance, the sexuality and the intense ‘feeling in love’ experiences fades away.  They also often report those are replaced by a calmer, steadier, often deeper and more profound sense of love.  Many do not seem to know that if they purposely think and do the right set of actions they can bring back the ‘feeling in love’ experiences.  However, those feelings probably will not be constant or seemingly automatic as they once were.

In truth, you would not want them to be intensely with you all the time.  This is because there would be little room or time left for all those other wonderful feelings of ongoing, deep and profound love.  Also there is the occasional, often high sense of spiritual love that can come later in always growing, love relationships.  It sort of is like this.  You would not want a meal of your most favorite food to be your only food, day after day, after day, after day forever.  Love can be given and received in far more wonderful ways than just the passionate, romantic way.  But remember, you can bring that back too from time to time with the right love skills (See “Learning About Love – Together”, “The Three 3’s of Love” and “Is Love Ignorance the Problem?” mini-love-lessons at this site).

The Brain and Both ‘Feeling in Love’ and Being in Love

We now are beginning to have evidence about how the brain processes love.  There is evidence that suggests our brains process real love and false love differently.  This evidence also suggests that real love is very healthy for the whole body and false love usually is not or, even worse, it often is toxic.  However, we don’t have enough evidence to say these ideas are proven.  The thing we call ‘feeling in love’ by itself seems to operate like a precursor to lasting love which may or may not then follow.
Real love seems to activate certain regions of the brain, alter our brain chemistry and perhaps cause important bio-electrical changes.  Some think every cell in our body has at least a little to do with processing love and certainly is effected by love.

All these processes can go on whether you are consciously aware and feel them or not.  It is important to know that feeling something is not the thing itself.  We may sometimes feel and sometimes not feel our breathing or certain digestive processes but they are there whether we feel them or not.  Likewise, the evidence suggests real and lasting love is there all the time but we only feel it from time to time.  We, however, can develop the skill to purposefully tap into it, or become consciously aware of it whenever we wish.

Feeling in love often is quite strong and gets a lot of our attention for a while, maybe even a long while, then it changes.  It changes either into just going away or being something you temporarily can re-create from time to time in real love relationships, if people in the love relationship have the skill and know-how to do that.

Another Big Danger of ‘Feeling in Love’

‘Feeling in love’ in the brain operates in ways quite similar to certain kinds of serious drug addiction.  The evidence suggests healthy, real love doesn’t do that.  Withdrawal from ‘feeling in love’ is, in neurochemistry terms, rather similar to withdrawing from an opiate addiction.  ‘Feeling in love’ and several forms of false love sometimes trigger the brain chemistry of obsessive-compulsive disorders.  Indeed, much of the ‘feeling in love’ experiences associated with false forms of love sometimes involves destructive, obsessive-compulsive and addiction-prone behavior.  At least that is what the evidence is pointing to.

Healthy, lasting, real love, as we currently understand it, does not lead to those reactions and disorders.  This is one of the reasons that people in addiction recovery are advised to stay away from ‘falling in love’ and ‘feeling in love’ until their recovery is well established.  Otherwise relapse and its horrors become much more likely (See Recovering Love: Codependency to CoRecovery).

The Good News About ‘Feeling in Love’

Feeling in love can feel great, be part of a great life adventure, get you to do a lot of things you will be glad to have done that you never would have gotten into otherwise, can involve incredibly great sex, help you discover a lot about yourself you otherwise might never know, uninhibitedly experience another person, have incredibly intense emotions – both high and low and, best of all, just possibly might lead you into the wonders of healthy, lasting and fulfilling, real love.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question: Like a good chef, are you occasionally or even frequently learning new recipes for creating fresh, ‘feeling in love’ experiences?

Through Heartbreak Recovery to Full and Lasting Love

Mini-Love-Lesson #178 

Synopsis: Introduction to actions that work and how we know they work starts this mini-love-lesson which is then followed by a dozen specific steps you can take that are known to have helped a great many people get through heartbreak recovery and on to full and lasting love.
(Who might you recommend this mini love lesson to?)

Heartbreak Recovery Actions That Work

Agony, misery, longing, emptiness, depression, despair, deep and profound hurt – on and on go the words that describe the pain of a broken heart.  The good news is you can hurry to ‘heartbreak recovery’ and go on to healthy, real, full and lasting love!  In fact you can go on to far better love than perhaps you ever thought possible using your heartbreak to help you get there.

To do heartbreak recovery you have to take action.  New actions which are probably rather different from what you are used to will be required.  New behaviors, new thinking and even new emotions may be involved.  To achieve heartbreak recovery and going on to full and lasting love requires some time, will, energy, learning, practice and real effort.  The only thing taking more of these things is not acting to recover.  Important: ‘if you want better results you have to  DO better actions’.   The same old actions will only get you the same old results.

We will show you actions that are known to have brought heartbreak recovery too many.  They also can help you move on to healthy, real love and its wondrous joys.  You have to take the actions which begins with reading about them here.  You already have begun.

How Do We Know These Actions Actually Work?

I know these heartbreak recovery actions work because of three big things.  First, I personally have had the profound joy of seeing literally hundreds of heartbroken, suffering individuals and couples achieve heartbreak recovery and go on to healthy, real love by using the techniques you are soon to read about.  The same is true for the counselors and therapists I have trained, coached and supervised.   Second is that many of the methods suggested here are backed by some pretty good, supporting, scientific research.  (Consult Is There Really a New Field Called Loveology?). The third is that when I was going through heartbreak and desperately in need of heartbreak recovery I used a number of these techniques and they made a world of positive difference.  They also helped me go on to my now 40 + years of grand and abiding love with my wondrous lover, Kathleen.

Actions to take for Heartbreak Recovery

We only have room to briefly describe the actions we are suggesting you take.  It is OK if you are dubious about some of them and whether or not they will work for you.  The suggested actions for heartbreak recovery and going on to full of lasting love are not things you have to believe in, though that might help some.  They just are things you have to actually do experimentally but not halfheartedly.   Trying them on for size, so to speak, will be just fine.  Also you do not have to do all of them.  We suggest you pick out some of the ones that seem to appeal to you and start with those.  Then, keep going on to others and keep repeating the ones that seem to work best until you are where you want to be.

A Dozen Actions to Take for Heartbreak Recovery

1. Vow to recover!  With power and vigor, decide and declare your decision to recover, to heal and to go on to greater love.   Do this out loud and with muscular, physical motions.  ‘Motion changes emotion’ so as you make your declaration (without self hurt) pound your fist , stomp, march or do whatever helps you feel powerful.  By doing it this way you reach much deeper into your mind/brain where simple reason and non-energized speech seldom reaches.  With determination ‘promise’ yourself you will do what it takes!

2. Start being better to your body.  Accept the fact that emotional heartbreak is biologically bad for your body and especially bad for your brain.  Heartbreak sometimes precipitates physical heart attacks, immunity problems, depression, anxiety episodes, stress reactions, stomach problems, and a lot more problems you do not want.  So, if it is healthy for you, take vitamins, eat healthy, exercise at least 20 minutes a day and consider being guided by the health professionals of your choice.

3. Hide in your safety cave, but not too long.  When wounded, most animals including us humans want to crawl in a hole and stay there.  That is a natural way to stay safe and start the healing process.  Doing this will help you survive but will not help you thrive.  So, before you feel fully ready, start venturing out a little bit at a time and then more and more.

4. Use the pain!  Hurt has purpose.  It exists to help us avoid harm.  It comes with ‘guidance messages’ and for those who learn how to hear what it is trying to say and trying to teach us, recovery comes sooner and better.  Often when we learn and start to follow the guidance from emotional pain the pain surprisingly reduces.  Denying the hurt, running away from it, ‘toughing it out’, over medicating, drowning it in alcohol and drugs, etc., in the long run, may prolong the pain, make it worse and help you experience heartbreak again because probably you didn’t learn enough from it (See Title Index ‘Dealing with Love Hurts:’alphabetically, first 4 lessons).

5. Actively release anger – nondestructively.  On at least three separate occasions scream, cuss, pound your fist, stomp around, kick pillows, chop wood, tear up stuff you were going to throw way, throw ice cubes at brick walls, cry freely and generally thrash about for no more than 20 minutes (less if physically need be, or if the anger feels diminished earlier).  Then force yourself to do something else that feels good.  Cathartic release has real value but there is a danger.

If you do it too much you may be training yourself to have more pain, anger, etc..  Be sure you do all this in ways that do not hurt or harm anyone, including yourself or damages anything of importance.  Vengeance fantasies are fine but vengeance actions lead us away from future love success, not toward it.  “Vengeance is mine saith the Lord” probably because humans can not handle it.

6. Fake it till you make it.  When you fake being okay, happy, doing well, etc. you actually trigger mechanisms in your brain that helps it become more true.  So, not just when you are around others but also when you are by yourself, smile, sing, whistle, say happy upbeat stuff to yourself about yourself, and act like your heartbreak recovery has been fully achieved.

7. Use the ‘five titles technique’.  If you are pining away, can not stop trying to restart the relationship even though you know it won’t work, torturing yourself with longing, etc., this technique is for you.  Purposely think of the five worst things that happened in that relationship.  Give each of those five things a book or movie title.  For example, “She was brought home by police, and was so drunk she was almost arrested for lewd, disorderly conduct – titled Days of Wine and Roses” or “He knocked me down and broke my wrist – titled The Abuser”  Write each title on a card you carry with you.

When you get to longing, etc., take out the card and read the first title while asking yourself “Do I really want to risk suffering through another version of that again?”  Do the same with title 2, and so forth.  Then go do something distracting possibly with a friend.

8. Emotionally diminish and detox contact with your ex.  Contact with an ex can work like an addict having another dose of heroin as they try to withdraw.  Each contact can start the addiction dynamics all over again.  If you work together or have to do parenting together, etc. it is extra hard but there is a way.  With each contact, act as emotionally blah, boring, dull and businesslike as you can.  Any show of emotion, be it positive or negative, may start the addiction-like process all over again.  No matter what your ex does, the more you do not show emotions the less negatively emotionally effected you are likely to be.

This likely also will help your ex to contact you less often and in less negative way’s.  Continue this demeanor until your breakup recovery is well established.  Later a ‘kill’em’ with kindness” approach may help.  Having zero contact can be rough and it can work like going ‘cold turkey’ but it is likely to be the quickest route to full heartbreak recovery.  Weaning yourself with less and less, and shorter and shorter contacts also can work but may take longer.  If your ex is trying to hurt or harass you, this approach often can help get your ex confused, disinterested and disengaged.

9. Learn about and practice healthy self-love a lot.  Especially is it important to make your self-talk accurately positive.  If your self-talk is too negative and critical, heartbreak recovery will probably take a lot longer.  So, start making your list of ‘one hundred good things about yourself’ – small, medium and large things.  Pick a few each day to compliment and praise yourself about.  Do this with gusto and physical motions expressive of strength.

This will help reach the limbic system of your brain and not just stay in the more shallow, unmotivating, thinking cortex; by doing that it can help a lot.  Do yourself favors, buy yourself presents, do things that help you laugh and put yourself with upbeat people.  Listen to happy music.  Do upbeat meditation and/or prayer.  Re-affirm your loveability and your ability to love as you learn more and more about love (See “Self-love and Its Five Healthy Functions”).

10. Don’t stagnate, meditate then activate.  You may need some ‘down time’, quiet time, etc.  Use it well meditating, celebrating the good that was in the last relationship and how it will be a prerequisite for what comes next.  Journal what you have yet to learn and to strengthen in yourself.  Then push yourself into new action.  Go new places and meet new, up beat and going people, avoid the old and the sad connected to your ex, envision the future you want and go after it knowing you can grow more love-skilled to get it, renounce remorse, guilt, blame and focus on being response-‘able’.  Engage in joyful and meaningful spiritual practices.  Start creating new positive memories, new positive habits and new positive goals.

11. Start flirting and then dating ‘lite’ and not just one.  You may not be ready to do this until you after you have done it.  Very important is not to center in on the first romantic love possibility and exclude others.  Go out with 2 or more, even five, but maybe after that it gets too complicated.  Don’t get serious maybe for at least a year.  The best potential romantic interest is likely to slowly rise above the others.  Don’t get in a rush or let yourself be rushed.  Remember, real love is patient and most things that grow slower grow stronger and last longer.

12. Study love and its workings, and practice what you learn.  This is the most important one of all.  You may have to break free from the old, destructive myth that teaches us to rely on magic and fate for our success at love.  It subtly teaches there is nothing to learn or work at.  Love, like everything else important done without learning and work, is extremely failure prone.  Notice that in the ancient legends the masters of magic, wizards and sorcerers spent most of their time studying and practicing.  If you are to experience the magical wonders of love, you probably will have to do the same – study and practice a lot (Read “To Win at Love Study Love”).

More and more scientific researchers are delving into the dynamics of love and what they are finding is marvelous, beautiful, fantastic and most of all is useful.  These findings show love to be even more amazing and far more important for life’s well-being than we ever thought.

In Russia, Loveology  (read “Is There Really a New Field Called Loveology” has been made an official field of study.  You already are at work studying love by reading this mini-love-lesson.  Next, I recommend you read the mini-love-lesson titled “To Win at Love Study Love”. It tells ways to study love and gives recommendations for reading that have helped millions.  Then read a few more mini-love-lessons from the index section called Definitions, Theories and Understandings. Also be sure to check out “Heartbreak Mending and the Deep, Multi-love Remedy”, “Why Love Problems Hurt So Bad” and “Loneliness and Love” in the Problems and Pain section.

But remember, you can’t just read about love, you have to do things, new and different things because love is a participation endeavor.  It is kind of like swimming, just reading and thinking about it won’t be enough.  Consequently, frequently it is the study and practice of love knowledge that can get you through heartbreak, to recovery and on to full and lasting love much faster and much more thoroughly.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Questions: Which of the above 12 steps for heartbreak recovery are you going to start experimenting with first, and exactly how soon are you going to start?

And could this mini-love-lesson be of help to someone you know who is suffer from heartbreak?  If so, please tell them about it.

Metaphysical Love

Mini-Love-Lesson # 289

Synopsis: Here we work to understand and make practical sense of metaphysical/spiritual love and how it may work along with how it can productively be used.  What science is discovering, modern and ancient religious suppositions, philosophical offerings and what people all over the world are doing with metaphysical/spiritual love actions are included in clear, straight forward language.

Is love itself metaphysical?  Is love the greatest of all things, as spiritual masters have proclaimed down through the ages?  Does spiritual love rely on the existence of a mind-spirit connection?  Scientific evidence supports that love heals, love connects, love protects, love nurtures, love reinforces and rewards us.  And how does it do all those things – energy forces, bio-electrically, psychically, deity intercession, … ?  It has been suspected that the collective unconscious, group intelligence, spontaneous mood emergence, superorganism cooperation and metaphysical mass influences might have something to do with metaphysical love.  The mysteries abound.    

Do We All Love - Metaphysically?

When it comes to love, almost everyone, sooner or later, behaves metaphysically.  If a loved one is critically ill and we call on a mystical source to heal them, we are behaving from love - metaphysically.  If we pray for spiritual guidance when we are in the throes of despair - we are acting metaphysically.  If we go to the grave of a loved one and talk to the loved one’s spirit - we are love-relating metaphysically.  If we send our children off to school and imagine protective love energy surrounding them - we are acting metaphysically to safeguard them.  If we fantasize sending our love energy to a distant loved one - we are projecting metaphysical love.  If we are alone and feel a love-filled presence - we may be experiencing a metaphysical love event.  It seems there are many ways metaphysical love may manifest itself and be experienced.

We need not believe in metaphysical love to do it, or at least to attempt it.  We only need to have real love in our hearts and a willingness to experiment with metaphysical love behaviors.  Exploring these manifestations of metaphysical love may lead to surprising experiences and astonishing outcomes.  

When there is nothing more we are able to do in a difficult situation, we might attempt a metaphysical love behavior.  Behaving with and from metaphysical love often can be considerably beneficial to us and to those we love.  Metaphysical love can lead to a sense of spiritual serenity and heart-filled awe.  It also might guide us to appreciate the many apparent cosmic miracles that surround and fill our existence.  Psycho-physiologically, metaphysical love participation in rituals and ceremonies can bring stress reduction, metabolic balance and feelings of energized empowerment.

Research into the healing effectiveness of metaphysical love behaviors, shows intriguing results.  When metaphysical-related actions were taken on patients’ behalf, they tended to get better more often and faster even if they were not consciously aware of the action or even if they did not believe in it.  The experimental, matched, control groups did not get metaphysical treatment and did not show similar improvement.  Some of the experiments included praying for the patient, lighting candles, doing ceremonial actions and repeating ritual words.  It was found that the mindset and emotion demeanor (serene, loving, focused) of the person carrying out a metaphysical treatment influenced the results to some degree.  It also was found that benefit accrued to the doer as well as the receiver of metaphysical actions.

Interestingly, other patients also showed significant improvements even though they were not aware of volunteers, at a considerable distance, spiritually and metaphysically acting on their behalf,.  Unrevealed, distance healing is hard to explain in other than metaphysical ways.  

Some may not want to call what we are talking about metaphysical, but rather call it by some other term like spiritual or transcendental. That’s fine! The point we want to make is that whatever it is termed, this is a class or type of love behavior which is very common worldwide. Furthermore, archaeological and anthropological evidence shows this kind of behavior presumably has been going on since very early in the development of our human species.

Right now, this very moment, out of love, millions of people are doing metaphysical, or if you prefer, spiritual practices designed to have a positive influence on the well-being of those they love. Such actions are demonstrations of real, compassionate and caring love and they deserve respect and honoring for being so.  Respect also is due for those who rigorously and methodically are searching into the many complexities and conundrums of metaphysics within the realm of love.

What Is Metaphysical Love?

Metaphysical love may seems magical, mystical, mysterious, perhaps mythical and often quite hard to fathom. This kind of love is what many people turn to in times of love troubles. Metaphysical love also is known as the love that is spiritual, transcendental, supernatural, ethereal, celestial and preternatural.

We put metaphysical and spiritual together for several reasons. One is that, behaviorally, metaphysical and spiritual love are accomplished by similar actions. Another is that both seem to operate in much the same way and obtain rather similar results. There are those who study metaphysical and spiritual phenomena and suspect they are two views of the same thing. There also are those who vehemently oppose that concept. 

We operationally define metaphysical love as a love which people attempt to access, express and communicate through the behaviors associated with the metaphysical. To love metaphysically, means to have and feel a love that seems beyond this world’s reality. It also means to transcendentally or spiritually feel a connection with who and what we love.  For example, when long-distance lovers plan to gaze at the moon on the same night at the same hour; just by knowing they are sharing the same experience, they can feel metaphysically connected.  To metaphysically love means to try to transmit our love in a way that connects with another and beneficially effects them. Metaphysical love sometimes is explained as a special form of energy that exists in and travels through the ether of the universe.  

Doing metaphysical/spiritual love is enormously popular, common and esteemed all over the world. It does have its skeptics, disbelievers and naysayers, and conversely its ardent practitioners, promoters and believers   Metaphysical and spiritual love are the focus of a great deal of research, much of which supports that it is a useful and rewarding way to do love.

Framed in this world’s reality, metaphysical love sometimes is thought of as a bioelectrical or neuro-electrical phenomenon.  It is suspected to exist in and be transmitted from the brain’s limbic system components which are associated with love. Sometimes that love transmission is conveyed through touch and sometimes may be broadcast across space much like a radio wave transmission. Some research data has been analyzed as supporting this understanding.  A great deal more investigating is required to enlighten our understanding of these suppositions.

An ecumenical, somewhat theologically grounded and spiritually focused explanation exists and roughly goes like this. There is a deity force in the universe.  This metaphysical energy is pure love. This love energy can be accessed through spiritual and religious practices and, thereby, brought to bear on the living creatures and conditions of this world. Thus, metaphysical love is the spiritual love of the deity force which can be tapped into and channeled through us to our loved ones. Probably, clerics of every religion would want to alter this explanation, one way or another. In no way is it to be considered doctrinaire.

Philosophically, metaphysical love might be said to be the love that comes through “Meta-Ta-Physika”, Greek for the reality beyond the reach of objective study but able to be, at least partially, comprehended with the help of ontology, cosmology and epistemology. Did we say metaphysical love is complicated and hard to fathom?

Hopefully, these concepts have given our readers some sense of what metaphysical love is and may be, as well as how it might be done.

A couple other mini-love-lessons to explore at this site: “Transcendental Love: Mysteries and Wonders for Your Future” and “To Win at Love, Study Love”.   

One other thing - We think this mini-love-lesson is a practical, good one to discuss with others who like to talk ideas and use them and grow with.  See if you agree.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question: If, right now or before day’s end, you were going to do a set of metaphysical/spiritual actions on behalf of someone you love, what actual behaviors might you do?

Small Love for Lasting Love

Synopsis: Big impression romantic actions and their significance starts our mini-love-lesson; which then goes on to explore love action vacuums; love like food; and more.

Grand Love Gestures and Big Love Impressions

Joe was really good at making grand, romantic gestures and big, extravagant impressions on women.  He sent a stretch-limousine for his first date to pick up his first wife, a helicopter for his first date with his second wife, and before he went bankrupt he sent a large yacht for his first date with his third wife.    Obviously Joe was great with big, romantic, impression-making but not so good at lasting, real love: he was good at catching but not keeping.

Lover’s myths, stories, and histories abound with tales of grand gestures and outlandish actions which made huge impressions.  They were done for launching, conveying, solidifying or repairing love, or at least so we are told.  These giant gestures create astounding memories but, alas, they are not the stuff of which lasting love is mostly and best made.  No, the research shows lasting, healthy, real love comes from small love-conveying behaviors enacted day after day, after day.

A tender touch, a special smile, a tiny nod, some words of praise or thanks, a special little favor, a thoughtful remembrance, an extra embrace, a sweetness in the voice, or any other of thousands of different kinds of acts that can convey love – these are the things that make love lasting.  Those who give and receive love daily, through small acts meant to show love, create a kind of love cycling (see the “Cycling Love for Lasting Love” mini-love-lesson) that keeps a love relationship going on, and on and on.  This is what field, laboratory and clinical research reveals. (Check out the latest findings from the Gottman Institute).

The Love Action Vacuum

Clinical research of which I have been involved points to the most relationship-destroying factor: a deficiency in the demonstration of love in an ongoing way. This was hard to discover because discovering ‘something that is not there’, or is absent is a lot harder than discovering something that is there.  Probably that accounts for the fact that, until now, laboratory type research pointed to ‘the presence’ of derogatory and demeaning words and actions as being the most common relationship-destroying behavior.  Both are very important.

If there is an absence of regularly demonstrated love or an absence of good love reception, a love relationship is likely to wither and die.  Some relationships do live on with very sparsely shown love but they are not thought to thrive like they could.  If there is both the absence of daily actions showing love and the presence of demeaning words and actions, a really close, enriching love relationship is not likely to develop and most likely will die.

Love relationships which are not so close, like those of distant friends and family members, can do well with only occasional actions conveying love.  Also those who have previously done really well at showing each other love, but no longer have much contact, can sort of pick up where they left off to re-contact.  The participants know that their love relationship continues though it seems at times dormant.

Love As Food

Love is a psychological food.  In fact, it is probably the healthiest and most energizing psychological food there is.  Like with physical food, it helps to have daily meals.  So, with your closest loved ones, it is best to be sure you regularly feed them, preferably multiple times every day.  Also, don’t forget yourself.  Healthy self-love also nourishes best when it is done regularly.

A lack of small, daily showings of love leads to love malnutrition and love starvation (see the mini-love-lesson “Is Depression Love Starvation”).  So, don’t starve those you love – spouse, children, closest friends, or yourself.

Learn & Practice the Eight, Major, Direct Ways to Show Love

Massive, well conducted research in social psychology led to the discovery of the major ways that people show each other love.  There are eight groups of behavior that do this according to that research.  Each of these behavior categories has been found to result in different benefits.  You can learn and practice small, easily done behaviors in each category.  It is all covered in our books Recovering Love and Real Love False Love.  You also can start learning about them with the mini-love-lesson titled “Behaviors That Give Love – The Basic Core Four”.  There also are indirect ways that convey love but those are for another day.

Big and False, Small, Regular and Real

Sometimes the grand gesture comes from someone who is in one form or another of false love.  Maybe they just want to make really big impressions for boosting their own ego or something like that.  One of the signs of healthy, real love is the consistency of love actions.  This is done a little bit, but not too much, regularly and fairly frequently, but not too frequently.  Overdoing it can be just a symptom of insecurity.  That does not mean that the grand gesture or big production can not occasionally happen.  It just has to be mixed with the regular, more frequent and smaller love-conveying behaviors.

Even if the great big, amazing, romantic things never happen, be sure to count the little ones you do get from those who love you.  There are too many people who don’t notice or really receive the smaller love messages coming their way.  So, remember that receiving love well is a major way to give love.  Also regarding the occasional big gestures, remember, it is your job to ask for what you want if you are not getting it.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question: Who could you go show a little love to today, and what about tomorrow, and the day after that?

Self-Affirmation for Healthy Self-Love

Synopsis: The huge and often poorly dealt with problem of self ‘dis’-affirmation is first presented; followed by why affirmation from others is not enough; and then how to do healthy, strong self-affirmation complete with a 10 Point Program for helping you grow your own healthy self-love through self-affirmation exercises.

The Huge Problem of Self Dis-Affirmation

Chelsea, everybody agreed, was gorgeous but in her own evaluation Chelsea was sure she was, at best, average looking.  Everybody agreed Chelsea was quite sweet but she believed she was far too often very mean.  Chelsea made high grades in college but secretly believed she was below average in intelligence.

Worst of all, Chelsea was convinced she was so basically inferior she was unlovable and, therefore, destined for a life of loneliness.  Her self dis-affirmation caused her a lot of self defeat and as those defeats mounted she became increasingly depressed and eventually suicidal.

Then a loving friend trying hard to break through to her, forced a puppy on her.  Her parents had never allowed pets.  The unconditional love this dog seemed to have for her began to put sparks of color into her formerly gray life.  Later that same friend, along with another, cajoled her into seeing a very loving therapist.

She soon was aware of the very negative way she was brought up that programmed her to think of herself as sinful, selfish, inadequate and unworthy.  With good therapy she fought back, beginning to re-program her inner thinking about herself.  One of the tools that helped the most was learning self-affirmation for growing her own healthy self-love.

Chelsea is not alone.  There literally are millions of people who as they grew up heard and incorporated far too many negative messages and far too few positive messages about themselves.  Too many positive messages without counterbalancing with accurate critiquing of what does need improvement can be a big problem too. However, subconsciously incorporating copious negatives seems to be much more common in many parts of the world.

There also is the problem of indifference where a child hears neither negative nor positive messages about themselves.  That can be almost as bad as the problem of too many negatives and not enough accurate, realistic positives.  If the negatives are accompanied by a lack of other behaviors that convey love, serious depression and other forms of mental and emotional illness problems seem very likely to develop.  Escaping the ‘inner voices of self-criticism’ through destructive substance addiction is thought to be especially common for those with high negative message backgrounds.

Why Affirmation from Others Is Not Enough

Chelsea, and many like her, later did get praise, compliments, thanks and many other positive messages about herself but she never believed them.  Each positive statement was blocked from doing any good by her earlier training that told her things like “other people don’t really mean what they’re saying, they are just being nice”, “they are after something and trying to manipulate you, so watch out” and “if you let yourself be praised, complimented, etc. you will become egotistical and then for sure no one will want you” and “you’re in danger of being led astray by flattery and false praise.” Not to mention “Thinking well of yourself is the road to destruction and damnation”.  Thus, all positives coming into Chelsea were poisoned as they often are for so many.

Once a person has been taught to thoroughly dis-affirm themselves, other people’s positive messages about them often are nearly useless.  However, if they are lead to look at the actual evidence of what is truly good about themselves, improvement sometimes can begin.  There always are a lot of good or positives which have been hidden from their awareness.  The process of learning self-affirmation for the development of self-love can greatly hurry the achievement of healthy, accurate self opinion.
Once the natural process of growing healthy self-love gets started or re-started, it can accelerate.  When that happens the wonders of healthy self-love can be achieved and everybody benefits.

How to Self Affirm for Healthy, Self-Love Development

There are many good programs for self-affirmation.  Here is an outline that has worked well for a large number of my clients who’ve needed self-affirmation.

Usually I adapted it somewhat to fit the individual, so feel free to do the same for yourself.  You also can weave it into other self-affirmation systems.


1.    Start talking back to whatever part of you tells you not to try this program.  If in your head you hear things like “this is silly, stupid, how can this really help?, its phony, shallow, don’t ever try because you can’t do anything right and besides you’re hopeless, or put it off, you will do it someday but not now – talk back.  Tell that self-defeating part of you to shut up, and say it with vigor and determination!  You also might say to the naysayer within “what you’re doing doesn’t help even if it is meant to, so learn to do something else better, more positive.”  Internal naysayers can become yea-sayers.

2.    Decide to do the following practices wholeheartedly.  After all, the negative messages in your head probably got there with energy and emotion being expressed, so countering them will need the same – energy and emotion.  It is okay not to believe this will work but it is not so okay to believe it will certainly fail.  Be open-minded to help your experiment not be self sabotaged by your negative programming.  Doubt and skepticism are okay later after you really have done the exercises recommended here.  It is like physical exercise, you do not have to believe in it, you just have to do it.

3.    Start making a list of 100 Good Things About Yourself. Yes, you have at least 100.  Small, medium and large, they all count.  Most everything about you can be made good use of.  If you are short, you can get to the stuff down low.  If you are tall, you can get the stuff up high.  If you have been programmed to ‘not notice’ this kind of positive (and lots of other positive things) that are true about yourself, when you ‘do notice’, you then probably will devalue it automatically.  Whatever is true, or at least a bit true, counts so put them on your 100 positives list.  If you have a good heart (kind, caring, empathetic, etc.) that truly is of value.  0ur planet needs more people like you.  Got a nice smile?  That counts too.  It is okay to ask friends, family or whoever for some input on this, but remember, it is about ‘your’ positives, nothing else.

There are two categories of personal value, ‘who you are’ and ‘what you do’, also known as your ‘intrinsic value’ and your ‘extrinsic or production value”.  Many people have been programmed to only count their production value, i.e. what they can accomplish, produce, etc..  As you grow elderly or if you become disabled, your production value may lessen.  So long as you are alive, your intrinsic value remains.  Perhaps you can get a sense of that by meditating on the statement “all babies are born important”.  “I was born important”.  “I am of value”.  Then try to ‘feel loving and to feel loved’ toward yourself, showing yourself you are of (intrinsic) worth.  Then, if you want to, ‘do’ (produce) something with those feelings, all the better.

4.    Go somewhere pleasant, private, and fairly quiet as soon as you have at least five things on your list of 100 Good Things About Yourself.  It is okay if there is pleasant but not distracting music in the background.  Then just be there for a few minutes, doing nothing but breathing.

5.    Slowly stretch, twist and pleasantly bend your body every way you can.  Then sit down and begin to breathe slowly and deeper, at least three times.  Think “I will do this exercise to the best of my ability”, with each breath.  Continue breathing slowly and deeply, (to your own comfort level) repeating that statement.  Then say to yourself  “I am doing this exercise to the best of my ability” with each repetition take more deep, slow breaths.  With firmness, you may need to command “silence” to any and all other, interfering, or negative thoughts which might creep in.  You also can add “naysayer within, I will listen to and deal with your thoughts later but not now.  Repeat as needed.

6.    Look at your list of five or more good things about yourself and pick one.  It is best if it is a short, specific statement.  “I can intensely enjoy beautiful sunsets” would be an example.  (Anything you know how to truly appreciate is a valuable attribute, so ‘own’ it as a part of yourself!).  “I enjoy puns and that is no joke, and it’s a good thing about me” would be another example.
7.    Now, from your list, say these good things about yourself, out loud, beginning with a firm “I am…  “followed by the good thing from your list.

Something to know, motions help change emotions.  Therefore, begin to move your arms in ways that express how you want to feel about what you have just said.  If you strongly said “I am smart”, putting a finger on your head with a bold gesture would be an example.  Whatever ‘negative’ got in your head, probably was expressed and received with certain tones of voice, facial expressions, body posture and perhaps hand and arm gestures.

If someone scowled at you, pointed a finger at you and in mocking tones said “you’re so stupid”, it isn’t just the words that stuck in your head.  It is the whole picture, with sound.  So it will work best, if while you’re implanting a counterbalancing positive in your head, you are doing it with vigorous, strong movement and sound.  Looking in the mirror while doing this can get to the facial expression part.  If you were scowled at, smile as you affirm yourself.

Talk simply and in the present tense.  Declare the positive about yourself. Sometimes it helps to add a short bit of evidence.  “I’m smart!  My good grades give me strong evidence that is a truth about me”, is an example.  Each out-loud statement, done with motion, may counterbalance or erase as many as seven negatives that came your way, some experts suggest.  It is okay to pound your fist, shout, get up and march around, dance, jump, or anything else that helps you intensely live your affirmation of yourself.  Remember to command the naysayer within, who may be trying to tell you this is stupid, silly, etc. to be silent.

8.    Now pick another item from your growing list of 100 Good Things About Yourself and do the procedures just described.  As your list grows to 100, keep repeating this process with new items from the list.  Doing this exercise once a day and at the very least once a week until you have done this exercise with at least 30 of the self affirmations on your list, is strongly recommended for getting good results.  Many concentrate on one a day for 100 days.  It is good to repeat the ones most important to you.  Also suggested, is drawing a little:-) on a calendar for each day you do this, and not being down on yourself if you miss a day.  Just pick one tomorrow and keep going.

9.    Each time, after you have done the out-loud and strong movement part of this exercise, sit quietly for a bit.  Then read this statement to yourself.  “I am doing these exercises as acts of healthy self-love because I am important to myself, I am worthy of my own love and, therefore, feeling good and being positive about myself, to myself, is a worthy exercise.  I am in the process of ‘owning’ all that is good and miraculous in me.  By doing these things, I am becoming thankfully happy about who I am, and how I am me.  I will strengthen and improve myself with these truths about me.”  Then close your eyes, breathe deeply and slowly again, and meditate on what you have just read for at least two or more minutes.

10.    After doing the above exercise with 10 of the items on your list of 100 Good Things About Yourself, add this statement to your meditation reading.  “I will love others better as I love myself better”.  Then close your eyes and meditate on how you will make that true.

Now, go and do some of this and start noticing how it helps you feel about yourself, as you keep doing it.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question:
Do you know and live by the truth that you have to ‘do’ different, again and again, to ‘become’ different?