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Receptional Love

Mini-Love-Lesson # 285

Synopsis: The often overlooked way of giving love via receiving love well is presented along with 7 ways to carry it out; plus how to internalize, enjoy and benefit more from the love that comes your way.

Receiving love well is an act of giving love well!  Receptional love behaviors are those which, by act or word, demonstrate a positive reception of any of the other major ways of directly communicating love.

Integrating Receptional Love into the seven, major ways of giving love is the key to cycling love.  Without reception, love behaviors do not do the good that they might.  What a waste!  

Suppose a simple, sincere statement like “I love you” comes your way.  What is your Expressional Love receiving-response?  Does your face light up in a great big smile or a cute little grin?  Are your tones of voice upbeat and appreciative.  Does your body language communicate elation and pleasure?  What is your Touch Love receiving-response?  Do you tenderly hold their hand or give them a big bear hug, or a sweet kiss on the forehead, or two-handed handshake?  How about a Verbal Love receiving-response?  Do you say something like, “That touches my heart”, or do you proclaim, “Yes, you do and I’m super glad you do” or do you whisper “I feel a little thrill of joy hearing that”?  What about a Gifting Love receiving-response?  “Saying you love me just the way you did, makes me want to give you a massage”.  What might be your Affirmational Love receiving-response?  “I hear a lot of feeling in the way you said that and reaches me deeply”, or simply, “You’re wonderful”.  Consider a Tolerational Love receiving-response.  When hearing a perfunctory “I love you”, you might say, “Could I hear that again with a little more oomph?”  Think about a Self-Disclosure Love receiving-response.  “Secretly, I’ve been longing to hear you say that”.  

If we become proficient with our receiving-responses to the seven, major, behavioral ways we directly show love, our love cycling will be strengthened and enhanced.

Using our personal knowledge of a loved one, combined with The Seven Love Behaviors, can lead to custom tailored, love receiving-responses.  For example, Delilah was a dolphin aficionado so, in appreciation for each of the special things she did, Raul would get her a card featuring dolphins or a dolphin figurine or a dolphin book, or such.  Delilah called it her “I’m Swimming in Love” collection.  Personalizing receptional love responses makes them extra special.

To receive a dose of love well, first you have to notice it.  Then sharply focus on what just happened.  Give it some concentrated attention.  When you do that, it naturally flows into the third phase of good reception – soaking it up.  If you experience feelings like “I feel loved”, “this hug feels so good”, “an unexpected gift – what a delight” you are reaping the enrichment of love reception .  To feel these feelings more intently, it may help to say to yourself “I’m being loved and I’m going to let myself really feel it”, “this is special and I’m going to cherish it” or “I’m not going to let this moment pass, I’m going to experience it deeply”.  Lingering and savoring love coming your way can help your sense of appreciation grow.  Appreciation is another part of good love reception.  Sometimes all this may happen almost instantaneously and sometimes it can be more lengthy.  It is our job to really get what is sent, to fully experience it internally.

Externally, our job is to let the sender know we have received their act of love, we like it and we are better because of it.  A thank you is a simple, polite response but even better may be showing or telling them about the effect their love message has had on us.  Even before making an automatic “I love you too” statement or a quick gratitude response, we might say something more personal and laudatory.  This is a splendid way to vitalize love cycling.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question:  Do you know that belated thank you’s can be made into better actions of Receptional Love than immediate ones – if you put enough into them?  So, who might you surprise with a totally unexpected , special, appreciation message today or tomorrow?

Loneliness and Love

Synopsis: First this mini-love-lesson covers the surprising ways loneliness harms us; then the issues of ignore, fight, escape, just get used to loneliness, or what?; doing what loneliness wants you to do; a cautionary note; Ricardo’s example and Ricardo’s results, (can they be yours?).

Surprising Ways Loneliness Harms Us

Recent research shows loneliness is especially bad for your brain.  What is bad for your brain can be bad for many of your body’s health processes and systems because the brain influences and regulates them.  Loneliness also is bad for your psychological health and that can influence everything else in your life.  One study of over 8000 men and women showed the lonely have up to a 20% faster rate of decline in mental abilities.

Those who have prolonged loneliness are seen to have more stress illnesses and a greater likelihood of having brain inflammation problems.  Loneliness can be seen as a component of love malnutrition or love starvation, which is understood to have a very negative impact on our immunity mechanisms, cancer resistance, blood pressure and a host of other physical problems.

Ignore, Fight, Escape, Just Get Used To It – or ???

Many people try to escape their loneliness by diving into their work, business or various other involvements.  Some try to escape into substance abuse or various behavioral addictions.  Others get some temporary help from antidepressants and other medications.  Another group of people try to fight loneliness seeing it as some kind of weakness or enemy.  Still others see it as just one more human emotion to be ignored.  Learning to live with it can dull the pain but the damage being done by prolonged loneliness  still can happen.  Usually none of these approaches prove to best serve our health or well-being. At best, they may provide some assistance in the short run but they can turn out to be quite bad for us in the long run, or at most, useless.

So what are we to do?  Wallow in our loneliness and just let it do all the harm it can?  Of course not, that won’t help but there is a way that will.

Doing What Loneliness Wants You to Do!

Like all emotions, loneliness was created in us to do us some good, even though it feels bad, sometimes extremely bad.  It may in fact get worse for not doing what the feeling of loneliness wants us to do.  When we follow the guidance message in loneliness, the bad feelings tend to subside.  Sometimes they begin to subside as soon as we get loneliness’s message, even before we have begun to follow that message with action.  So what is the healthful, constructive, guidance message in the feeling we call loneliness?

Basically loneliness can be seen as an emotional message telling us to go in search of love in any of its many forms.  If you can’t find love quickly, go in search of “like” or at least tolerable company first because that might be on the way to healthy, real love.

It also is important to know that it is not just about romantic love, as our culture and/or family training may have subconsciously programmed us to think.  We are a gregarious species, meant to connect with each other and especially to connect in love relationships with one another.  So, hear the guidance message of loneliness telling you to go in search of new or renewed love.

You may be de-energized from your loneliness, think searching for love is too much work, you don’t have what it takes, love is all a matter of luck anyway and your luck in love is bad, and 100 other self sabotaging negatives with which to block yourself from taking productive action.  Remember, your loneliness may just get worse if you do that.  And none of those blocking mechanisms get you to a new and better place though they might help you rest up a bit first.

A Cautionary Note

As I have emphasized before, all our emotions, even the most painful ones, were created in us to do us constructive, healthy good though they may overdo it, under do it, or mis-do it like all human systems.  If you get any kind of interpretation of an emotion’s guidance message that is destructive to yourself or to anyone, it may have cathartic value but that is all.  Acting destructively is almost always destructive to yourself and not the real guidance message of any emotion.  Unless your interpretation of an emotion’s guidance message goes toward health and well-being, probably for all concerned, it is likely not to be your best or most accurate interpretation.

Following Ricardo’s Example to Love

Ricardo was laying awake night after night, hurting badly with loneliness.  He tried various prescription medications, then alcohol and other substances but nothing seemed to help all that much.  Some people at work, including his boss, pressured and nagged him into going to a counselor, and he went along with that just to get them off his back.  He expected to have to dredge up a lot of his past which would just use up a lot of time and money, but he thought he could probably cut it short being able to say okay, he tried that and it didn’t work either.  He was surprised that his counselor didn’t want to talk much about his past but wanted him to do some immediate things that might be helpful.

After resisting and just a few sessions later, Ricardo got himself a pet dog and everything started changing for the better.  He learned that a good pet dog is perhaps the world’s quickest and surest way to get some good, healthy love.  Brain studies of canines show evidence that, in brain functioning, dogs really do love pretty much just like we do and it is not just because we feed and pet them.

In counseling Ricardo did have to do some work on his blocks and fears that had some causation from his past, but mostly it was about understanding and following the guidance messages in his emotions.  It wasn’t long before Ricardo tentatively went in search of new involvements and new acquaintances.  He went online and discovered some groups with similar interests to his own, and with reluctance got himself to some meetings.  The new acquaintances showed him that new friendships might develop and were even likely.  He then looked up some relatives that he had lost contact with and a renewed family love possibility came out of that.

Ricardo volunteered to help in a cause he believed was good, and surprise surprise, out of that came a new romantic interest.  He took a class in something he was intrigued by and that yielded some more very interesting new people in his life.  He got involved in a religious connected singles group and out of that came a sense of spiritual love that he had not known before, plus some other new friends.  In counseling Ricardo learned about healthy, self-love and that there is a lot of good that comes from that.

Ricardo’s Results

Today Ricardo has a small group of deep, close friends he feels very bonded with, a renewed family love connection, a wide network of medium and milder friends, a fine and growing romantic love relationship and a much improved, healthy self-love.  Ricardo is not lonely anymore.

Whether loneliness comes from months or years of aloneness, or the death of a mate, or from shyness or any other reason, the prescription is the same: overcome reluctance and connect with others, and grow a loving support network for your health and well being.

Can you follow Ricardo’s example if you are struggling with loneliness?  I suspect you can, and hopefully you will if you need to.  It would be a healthy act of self-love and self-care, if loneliness is pushing at you, to do something rather similar to what Ricardo did.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question

Are you willing to be a good friend so as to do your share of having a good, friendship love relationship?

What is a Love Hearing and Why Hold One?

Synopsis: This mini-love-lesson tells of a couple’s relationship saved by holding love hearings; explains what love hearings are; describes putting ‘the love part’ in; gives the job of the listeners; and ends with a suggestion.

A Couple Saved

With tears of joy in her eyes, Jessica declared, “Holding love hearings saved us!

 “Before we learned how to do the love hearing thing, Jeff and I just ended up having fight after horrible fight.  We would get so mad we both would be yelling trying to get the other one to listen to us, we’d be talking over each other, shouting and screaming, and filled with desperate frustration because the other one wouldn’t ever really hear what either of us was trying to get across.  Neither of us were listening, we were just spewing and trying to get heard.  It wasn’t any wonder that our kids started doing the same thing with each other and then with us too!  Thank goodness we learned about holding love hearings before it was too late for us.”

Jeff then emphatically added, “It took us quite a while to get the hang of doing love hearings well but right from the start it helped a little, and then more and more as we practiced it.  I was very skeptical that anything could help at first but anxious to try anything that might conceivably get us out of our downward spiral.  Love hearings are probably not for everyone but for us learning about love hearings tipped the balance in our relationship back to the positive.  Love hearings don’t cover all the bases but the ones it does cover are major or at least that was true for us.”

What is a Love Hearing Exactly?

The idea for holding a love hearing comes from the field of political science and especially the study of democracy.  Whenever there is an issue, problem, concern or idea for an improvement, and before proposals for solutions or fixes, and definitely before any actions are decided on, “hearings” are held.  Hearings are supposed to be just that – a hearing of what anyone concerned wants to say on a topic and related issues.

Questions for clarification and requests for additional information can be asked, especially at the end of a hearing.  No disagreement, debate, explanation or attempts to fix things are allowed. In the ‘love hearing’ way of doing things.  Brief statements of emotional support to the person speaking can be made but that is about all.  Even if someone feels that they are being accused of something and have an impulse to defend themselves, that is not to be done in this sort of “hearing” situation.

Literally hundreds, maybe thousands of times in my couples and family counseling practice I have heard people say, “I just want to be heard”.  So often that was followed by another person in the session immediately talking over the one who had just made that plea.  Then of course dysfunction ensued until therapeutic intervention managed a difference.  Love hearings are a sort of semi-formalized way of avoiding that sort of dysfunction and allowing everyone concerned to be heard, hopefully with love.

The Love Part

A Love hearing usually is started by someone who says they want not just a hearing but a “love” hearing.  Couples, families, close friendship groups and others in love relationships can use the love hearing system to avoid conflict.  Frequently at first it is good if everyone be reminded that everything can be said with love and everything can be heard with love, and it is best for all involved to aim for that.

It also is good for people to focus on ‘centering themselves’ in their love for whoever is going to be the speaker before the hearing starts.  A start time and end time (very important) are agreed upon, and a place to hold the love hearing, preferably fairly comfortable and not likely to be interrupted during the time allotted are also chosen. This may help to slow down the dissension in an argument that may have just started and also may help interrupt escalating negative emotions.

The person who wants to be heard starts by saying whatever it is they want to say, usually with expressions of emotion included.  Usually the speaker is the only one who can allow an interruption.  It is best if everyone present (even if it is only one person, or a small family, or a larger extended family or a friendship group) does not try to interrupt, no matter what they are thinking or feeling. In a love ‘hearing’ everyone does their best to listen to the speaker and hear the words and feelings being conveyed.

Expressions of care and concern for hurt feelings can be made if they are brief and are empathetic.  That is where the love comes in.  It usually is important that the listener keeps good eye contact with the speaker and, from time to time, has very caring looks on their face and hopefully very caring feelings in their heart.  The concepts of ‘active listening’ and the idea of really listening to the person and not just to the meaning of their words is encouraged.  For more on that, see the entries in the mini-love-lesson’s Subject Index under Communication.

The Job of the Listeners

The job of the listener is to really hear the heart and gut messages of the person speaking as well as their thought process to, in effect, look through the speakers eye’s, feel their feelings emotionally as well as mentally, understand where they are coming from and what they are going through.  Then give them expressions of love and care, possibly at the end. No advice giving, alternate fact presentation, instruction and especially no defensiveness or argument is a part of this love hearing process when it is done well (Note: this may be difficult with the thoughts and emotions the listener is having but know it is possible.  Remember, the listener also gets to be the speaker in a love hearing later if they want).

In this loving process the listener, in effect, is allowed to visit in the mind, heart and gut of another and see how things are there, but it is not a time to try to change anything but rather just to understand and care.  If something is to be decided, a second meeting for that discussion or debate is to be set.  If another listener feels they have a lot to say in response to what they have just heard, they too can ask for a love hearing at a different time (if emotions have calmed, that time may even closely follow the first love hearing but remember to set the time and place again so as to change gears for an alternate love hearing).

Patience is to be shown, plus pauses and time outs (especially when children are the speakers) if they are having a hard time finding words to express their thoughts and feelings.  Children, by the way, as well as adults do well with praise and thanks for self disclosing their views and feelings.  Various couples, families, etc. add other guidelines.  Some people formalize the process with more exact rules but many do this process more informally or semi formally following the guidelines given here.

If you are having trouble and arguments like Jessica and Jeff or anything similar, why not try holding a love hearing?  It may be a little awkward at first but those who work at it seem to get good results.  Children especially often like this process and adults find it much much better than fighting.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question
What do you think about the statement which says “really good listeners can repeat-back whatever has just been said to them, pretty much verbatim, and also can tell you the emotions of the one who did the speaking”?  Does that description fit you?

Why Love Problems Hurt So Bad

Synopsis: This mini-love-lesson starts with a discussion of before, during and after love problem hurt; tells how love problem hurt works; what all the hurt is for; what to do about the hurt; and how not to misinterpret hurt’s very important guidance messages.

Before, During and After Love Problem Pain

Breakups, divorce, rejection, betrayal, abandonment, indifference, repulsion, omission, demeaning, repudiation, intolerance, banishment, disavowal, dis-affirmation, spurning, loathing, and a host of lesser, negative treatments coming from someone you hope loves you can all really badly hurt.

In fact they can hurt so badly and for so long that the hurt can sometimes drive people into a deep depression and then to suicide just to escape the pain.  But why?  Before whatever it was that brought on the pain, we were probably doing okay, maybe even good.  Unless there was physical abuse, we are not bleeding or even bruised.  We are still the same person who is just as physically okay as we were before the breakup or whatever it was – aren’t we?  Why should this hurt so much?  Why can’t we just shake it off and go on as we were before?

The truth is, we are not the same physically.  After we have experienced an intense love problem related hurt, parts of our brain become micro-damaged messing up our brain chemistry and our neural-electric functioning.  This can happen whenever we have love relationship problems.  Love loss problems can cause serious neurological dysfunction which we feel as emotional pain. This in turn negatively affects our thinking and then our behavior.  Any problem involving love disconnection or reduction of nurturing and nourishing love experiences can set off several kinds of brain malfunctions.  Whatever affects our emotions is affecting our brain, our thinking and how we subsequently behave.

This means our brains are physically not operating the same as they did before the hurt.  For many people the hurt caused by these love/brain problems are much greater than any physical pain they have ever experienced.

The good news is as we heal emotionally we also heal physically.  The return of love coming our way from the person or people related to the problem can do worlds of good in the healing process.  New love pouring in from old or new sources, and healthy self-love also can do wonders.  ‘Time’ by itself doesn’t really heal much. It is very slow but time in which you do healthy self-love can be very curative.  Spiritual love involvement also can be outstandingly helpful.  Interestingly, pouring your own love into others who need love or help of some kind, such as a worthy cause, a creative endeavor, important productive projects or a major new love interest also works to be very therapeutic for healing from love problems of all sorts.

How It Works

When we experience love problems, especially those that affect or threaten our important psychosexual connections (i.e. love relationships) our neural circuits misfire the same way they do when they are processing physical pain.  The parts of the brain called the Insula and the Anterior Cingulate Cortex, along with the Somatosensory Cortex, try to process the love-related pain just as they do with physically caused pain. For love problem pain, though, there is evidence that it is sometimes harder and takes longer for these parts of our brain to do this processing.

We sense this processing problem as increased emotional pain.  This frequently is called “heartbreak”.  Strong hurt emotions connected to a love problem result in us having a “ broken heart”.  There is evidence that actual physical heart damage may be possible in some people when this happens.  This actually may occur in everyone to some small degree at least.  Then if the love problem and it’s hurt continues, our biological body starts to have other malfunctions which can result in the cascade effect of crashing our immune mechanisms and bringing on stress induced illnesses, including strokes and, yes, even heart attacks.

Our Cerebral Cortex can get affected and then we don’t think as efficiently or effectively.  Before long our metabolism may malfunction and our energy reserves may become severely drained. That is only some of what can go wrong when there is too much love problem hurt for too long.

Since the Neural Pain Matrix of our brain handles both physical and psychological pain in pretty much in the same way, both psychological and physical health problems can develop.  Therefore, both physical and mental health issues need to be addressed, along with love relationship problems themselves whenever there is severe or long lasting love relationship pain.

What Is All The Hurt For ?

Basically, our hurt is a natural system attempting to protect us from harm.  Our pain gives us guidance messages, telling us to change something so that we can avoid being harmed.  The trouble is our pain system can overdo it, as well as under do it, and mis-do it.  It is just like all our other natural systems in that respect.  Our love problem hurt may be interpreted as telling us go make up, patch up and reunite with whoever is involved in the love problem.  Then again it can be, in the case of severe and repeated pain, telling us to escape whoever is involved in the love problem.  Love problem hurt can also be interpreted as telling us to change the way we go about a love relationship.

We can learn to do love in some new way that is much better and much more healthful.  Another interpretation is to go search for someone with whom we can develop a better love relationship.  Another worthy interpretation for many people has to do with reconnecting with other love sources like friends and family members we have been out of touch with.  A frequent, more broadly useful interpretation may be to learn to love ourselves a lot better, and not get into another false love, high agony relationship again; and instead learn to identify and search for healthy, real love.

All those can be a part of the healthful messages coming from our love problem miseries.  The trick is to learn to listen to what the guidance message is, and then do something in accordance with the guidance.  There are other mini-love-lessons at this site which focus on understanding love problem pain (“Dealing with Love Hurt: Diagnosing Love Hurt Accurately”, “Dealing with Love Hurts: Pain’s Crucial Guidance”).

Love problem pain can drive us into withdrawal and isolation which if handled well is like going into our cave after being wounded.  This allows us time to heal and get it all figured out as we do some healthy self-love.  The issue here is not to stay too long in that isolation.  Love can also drive us toward reconnection or to new connections where fresh, healthy love can heal and nurture us.  We are a gregarious species and do best when we are love-connected with loving others.  More and more recent research shows us we humans are built to live in love-connection with one another.  Often it is the pain of love loneliness that gets us to go back to attempting love connection repeatedly.  Not many of us, if any, can do well living like loveless hermits.

Some clinicians and theoreticians think that love problem pain may get more intense or last longer as a way to get your attention if we are ignoring, dodging or denying it.  It also can be a guidance message saying that you are not getting the full message it is trying to send you.  It may keep coming to you, in essence, telling you that you have more to learn from this pain and it won’t let you alone until you have learned what you need to learn.  The unconscious or subconscious can be pretty clever in the ways it tries to help you.

It is interesting that for many people I have counseled, as soon as they get an interpretation of what their love hurt is trying to tell them, that feels right to them, their pain begins to alleviate.  Then, of course, they have to act in accord with the message or the pain returns.  However, when they act on the message that pain seems to be trying to give them, they tend to improve more rapidly and more completely.  I must admit that this works very well for me too!

What to Do!

I like to suggest that the first thing to do, when you are hurting a lot from some kind of love problem, might be to give yourself a hug and tell your inner-self that you are going to figure out what to do– that you are going to do it.  Then you have to go in search of what your inner love problem pain, guidance message is.  People use lots of different techniques to accomplish that searching.  Sentence completion exercises, meditation, self hypnosis, impulse writing, journaling, prayer and of course just talking it over with a good listener-friend often works quite well.

Good counselors and therapists usually have several different, potent techniques to help you look inside yourself and find out your own inner answers.  Remember that once you get the love problem hurt’s message you probably have to follow its guidance and act on it.  If you can’t seem to get just one message, gamble on one and go with it.  I like to suggest you start doing a lot of healthy, self-love behaviors as you begin this process.

Interpretations To Be Avoided

Love problems related pain are often destructively interpreted as telling us we just have not found the right person.  That may have some truth in it but don’t stop with that.  Also likely is the interpretation that says we have to learn more about love, and we have to improve ourselves and improve the way we are going about love relating – maybe a lot.  Another fairly common misinterpretation is to give up on love entirely, or at least give up on human love and live without it.  Many who try that become so love hungry they jump at the first relationship chance that comes along and, therefore, having not learned anything new, they make the same mistakes they made before. Those that do live without love of some type or another often suffer some serious malfunction eventually.

Some actually do quite well with multiple love relationships which can include several lovers and, of course, friends, family, pets, causes and a higher power love relationship.  Escaping the love problem pain by getting into various forms of life-ruining addictions, relapsing, etc. is also a very poor understanding of the natural, healthy message love problem hurt is trying to tell us.  Guidance messages that tell you to hold it all inside, act like you are fine, just be tough, etc. are not healthy and do not allow for healthful catharsis (i.e. crying it out, non-harmfully acting it out, blowing off steam, getting it off your chest, etc.).

Love problem pain’s worst misinterpretation is to kill yourself or your lover or somebody else.  If you hear a message in your head like “just die and you won’t hurt anymore” or “I can’t live without him or her” that is a child level or child-self interpretation which needs adult level reinterpretation.  The usual adult-self interpretation is something like this: “kill off the way you are going about a relationship” or “going about a part of life, and give birth to a new way”.

Any interpretation which is unhealthy for anyone is probably an unhealthy interpretation for you too.  Therefore, interpretations guiding you toward revenge, destructiveness, harm to self or others, retribution, ‘getting even’, attacking somebody or something, etc. are best regarded as not coming from your drives for health and well-being, or from the best in you and for you.  More likely, they may be coming from a self-sabotaging something in your subconscious.  Remember, healthy, real love is constructive, not destructive.  That is true of healthy, real self-love as well as love for others.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question
If you have unresolved pain stemming from a love relationship problem, are you going to actually work with the ideas presented above to see if you can get to a better place?

Tolerational Love

Mini-Love-Lesson # 283

Tolerational love is full of benefits.  It can bring acceptance, leniency, the possibility of forgiveness, flexibility, the allowance for imperfection and the maintenance of connectedness in bonded, love relating.  Tolerational love is great for avoiding arguments and other conflicts over inconsequential and less than serious areas of dispute. Tolerational love also is responsible for keeping a great many couples, families and friendships together, for facilitating reconnecting of those disconnected and for getting past troubles which otherwise would split up relationships.  Tolerational love also clears the way for much more appreciation, enjoyment and the teamwork of constructive love relating. All the time and energy spent in stupid, little disputes, contention over minor factors, unimportant slights and all the other small stuff is freed up for happier and more constructive interaction when there is sufficient tolerational love.

Love adds a lot to tolerance.  Love motivates all the behaviors that show and demonstrate toleration.  By adding the kindness and empathy that is so representative of love itself, toleration is amplified.  When we love someone special, or some group like a family, or even when we love altruistically and for humanitarian reasons, toleration is empowered by that love. When we have healthy, real love for someone, we tolerate their less pleasant aspects -- unless that tolerance supports harmfulness, as in tolerating a physical or substance abuser.

Toleration without love, never-the-less, is a positive attribute.  Often it is more like putting up with something or enduring and just getting past a negative.  Tolerance by itself can be part of being fair and just, minus the feelings of kindness and empathy that love brings.  None the less, sympathy, empathy and pity sometimes may be present within tolerance.  Another difference between tolerance and tolerational love is tolerance, by itself, frequently is short range focused.   For example, we may tolerate loud music for a short time but not day in and day out.  Tolerational love tends to have a longer range focus.  For instance, tolerational love is exemplified by the forbearance given in the long term care of a loved one with a chronic illness.  In short, tolerance lacking love can be done without one’s heart being in it.  Tolerational love, in contrast, magnifies the quantity and quality of the benefits involved.

Intolerance is antithetical to love.  Intolerance sets the stage for disharmony and conflict, robbing us of peace and security.  Intolerance communicates rejection and exclusion.  Intolerance can be seen as narrow minded, prejudiced, biased, dictatorial and unforgiving (“Parenting Series: How To Love Your Child Better” see #6). Intolerant people often are lonely people because their actions tend to exclude and push away others, or they mostly associate with the like-minded and consequently have a narrow societal experience.  A concept to consider about intolerant people is that they may come across as egotistical and arrogant but, in fact, they may lack healthy, real self-love.  It is clinically thought that if intolerant people become healthfully loved, their ability to be more tolerant grows.

Walking in another’s shoes, seeing through another’s eyes or empathetically feeling what another is feeling all speak to understanding, both mentally and emotionally, where another person is coming from.  Having a tolerant, heart-felt approach to humankind, especially to our loved ones, is a best practice in love relating.  

If we can fend off taking things personally, wearing our heart on our sleeve or easily taking offence, we can avoid a great many interpersonal battles.  Tolerational love helps to keep the peace and grow our chances for mutual harmony.

There are some modern enemies of Tolerational Love to watch out for.  Feelings of entitlement can foster intolerance, so can any form of authoritarianism.  Cancel-culture mindsets and behaviors can be filled with intolerance.  That is where meanness and hypercritical blaming are filled with intolerance   Anything that inhibits or censors free speech may involve intolerance.  Intolerance can be seen as imposing one’s own values on another.  Tolerational love can require learning to lovingly listen to things you do not want to hear, at least for a while.  Too long can be detrimental if it is abusive.  Usually, this kind of listening gets easier with more self-love and really owning our own OKness (see “Listening With Love”).

The development of appreciation helps make toleration easier because the more things we appreciate about another the less we focus on the negative.  If we look for what to appreciate in the many ways we are different instead of looking for what to criticize or disdain, we can improve our lives and the lives of others.  An appreciative, love environment fosters everyone’s well-being and happiness.

One more thing

If you talk-over the ideas in this mini-love-lesson with another, it will help to implant them in your own head and maybe in their's which is a good thing, we think. If you do that, please mention our site as the source of a whole lot of ways love can be done and done better. Thank you.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love success question: Can you listen to intolerance long enough to try to lovingly affect it?