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

Ready or Not for Love?

Are you really ready for love?

Explore the following ‘willingness’ issues and you are likely to help yourself be ‘more ready’.  You also may get in touch with the areas of love- readiness you might do well to understand more, need to strengthen, and the areas in which you are most love-able and love-potent.  Which willingness areas can you say “Yes” to, which ones elicit a “Maybe”, and which ones get your “No” or “Probably not yet” response?

Do You Have STRONG :
1.    Willingness to do the work of learning to love well?

2.    Willingness to do the work of practicing loving well?

3.    Willingness to do the work of unlearning unloving, negative thoughts and feeling systems and the negative behaviors that go with them?

4.    Willingness to risk (to let fear and safety NOT be primary)?

5.    Willingness to love yourself healthfully?

6.    Willingness to live love-centered (NOT money-centered, status-centered, power-centered, etc.)?

7.    Willingness to explore and experiment with new ways?

8.    Willingness to be open to both getting and giving love?

9.    Willingness to choose and use the power of love over all other forms of power?

10.    Willingness to be transformed by love (because that’s what happens) into an ever growing, better self?

11.    Willingness to work at using real love to help heal others, and to use real love to heal you of old wounds and the negative thoughts, feelings, and behavior systems those wounds empower?

12.    Willingness to let love deeply connect you with others, life, nature, spirituality, and other love forces in the universe?

Add up your “Yes” responses, your “Maybe” responses, and your “No & Probably Not Yet” responses.  If you have mostly “Yes” responses you probably are well on your way to ‘readiness’ and enriched living through love.  Mostly “Maybe” answers suggest you could use some work on your love readiness and it is advisable to proceed carefully in love matters.  Mostly “No & Probably Not” responses suggest that before you enter your next great love adventure you may want to emotionally strengthen yourself, look much further into understanding the dynamics of healthy real love and how to avoid love trauma and tragedy.

Please know this is not a definitive test just a little guide for examining your possible love readiness.  It also can be used by couples, or friends and family, and others to help each other look a bit deeper into the area of love readiness.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Behaviors That Make And Grow Friendship Love

Mini-Love-Lesson  # 204

One of over 300 FREE mini-love-lessons touching the lives of thousands in over 190 countries -worldwide!

Synopsis: Discover Core, Critical, and Cardinal types of behavior which make friendship happen at all levels from mild to profound.  Then explore the extremely important and highly useful research revealed 12 major subcategories of friendship actions.  A recommendation for usage and furthering your friendship life, plus a few resources for learning more are also given.

Without Action Nothing Happens

Friendships, like love, require actions backed by emotions and thought.  Without certain kinds of behavior occurring, friendships cannot be started, grown, maintained, re-established or repaired.  Thanks mostly to research in social psychology and what is starting to be known as loveology “Is There Really A New Field Called Loveology?”, we know a fair amount about what those behaviors are.  Interestingly, they turn out to be rather similar to the behaviors associated with the getting and giving of healthy, real love.  What follows is a summarization of the behaviors that make friendship happen stemming from some of that growing body of research.

Understanding Friendship at Three Levels

Friendship can be seen to occur at different levels.  Some researchers use the three categories scale starting with mild or light or just beginning friendship, then go to medium but significant friendship, and then on to deep and/or profound friendship love “Understanding Friendship, From Mild Geniality to Profound Love”.

It is suggested that the behaviors that bring about each level are best viewed and understood in ways that are rather different in each of the three levels.  Keeping this in mind helps to understand friendship and friendship actions more fully, accurately and more than superficially.  Like love, friendship does not turn out to be simple.  However, with a little concentrated work, clarity, usefulness and ways to make abundant friendship improvements can become easily evident.  So, to gain the valuable benefits of Friendship and Friendship Love and reap those rewards, we suggest you may want to apply yourself to what follows.

The Three Major Groups of Friendship Behavior

Friendship behaviors have been classified in three major groups. Here they are called
Group I, The Core Behaviors of Friendship
Group II, The Crucial Behaviors of Friendship
Group III, The Cardinal Behaviors of Friendship
All three groups contain four more exact and highly important subcategories. These subcategories are quite similar to a research approach used for categorizing the many behaviors that have been seen to convey and result in healthy real, love and improved love relationships.

These are the behaviors best focused on for starting friendships, maintaining mild or light friendships and for generally being friendly and available for forming new friendships.  These behaviors continue to be important in categories II and III and in the subcategories of more comprehensive and advanced friendship behaviors.

1.  Expressional Friendliness  Includes: Facial Expression (smiles, looks of interest, caring attentiveness, etc.), Voice Expression (tone, speed, upbeat, volume, positiveness, etc.), Gestural Expression (open arms, waving, thumbs up, etc.), Postural and Stance Expression (moving toward, standing beside, leaning toward, etc.).  Note that all forms of expression by motion, (face, body, etc.) have been found to manifest about 55% of the communication value in informal, personal conversations.  Voice expression carries about 35% of the communication value (words only 7%).

2.  Tactile (Touch) Friendliness  Includes tap touches (especially good in beginning friendships), pats, buddy hugs, hand holding, upper body hugs and later full body hugs, etc.).  Such touches are best begun mildly, lightly, quickly, non-invasively, non-romantically and non-sexually and have been known to frequently and rapidly accelerate the development of friendship.

3.  Verbal Friendliness  Includes using friendly, positive words like “good, fine, okay, yes”, polite words like “thank you, you’re welcome, first names”, asking friendly questions, assistive statements like “can I help, can I assist you with that”, supportive words like “I agree”, I am so glad you told me that, I see it that way too” etc.  Note: Do not be phony but do go out of your way to look for sincere reasons to say such things.  Words, by the way, have been found to be only about 7% of the communication value in typical, informal, personal interactions.

4.  Gifting Friendliness  Giving both object gifts and experience gifts can be quite helpful in friendship development so long as the gifting is not overdone, overly expensive, overly frequent or, at first, overly personal.  Giving someone a book is an object gift and taking someone to a movie they want to see is an experience gift.  Experience gifts and symbolic object gifts usually are more impactful than practical gifts.

Here you find the behaviors to focus on for having deeper and more significant friendships.  These behaviors are seen as crucial for growing a friendship from mild to significant and with lasting meaningfulness.

1.  Affirmational Friendship  Included here are honest praises, compliments, statements of personal appreciation, approval, respect and validation along with actions like sharing emotional experiences together, taking a friend’s side in a dispute, coming to a friend’s aid, just being there ready to help, celebrating a friend’s victories and special occasions, etc. and any other action which affirms the worth and importance of an individual to you personally.

2.  Self-Disclosure Friendship  Included here is revealing, by both word and action, your personal and more private idiosyncrasies, foibles, preferences, personal problems, failures, victories, peculiarities, embarrassments, enjoyments, items of pride and joy, and anything else that lets yourself be both more intimately known and vulnerable.  Also included is the willingness to empathetically and nonjudgmentally hear the same kind of disclosures from another.  It is by this process that friendship becomes intimate and usually more powerfully bonded.

3.  Tolerational Friendship  As friendships continue and grow, friends run into each other’s less than pleasant aspects.  That is where friendships encounter the challenge of toleration.  However, some things are not to be tolerated or tolerated only temporarily.  For many, anything which is demonstrably harmful or destructive to anyone’s life, health or well-being fits in this category. 

Notwithstanding that caution, issues of fairness, freedom, truth, compassion, altruism and love also are to be considered here.  Lesser issues of intolerance especially for minor irritations, aggravations and annoyances suggest the possibility of a kind of mental self torturing occurring that correlates with secret or subconscious low self love on the part of the one who feels intolerance for these things.

4.  Receptional Friendship  It is a gift of friendship, and possibly of love, to receive well the actions of friendship and love which come from others.  It is receptionally loving to sincerely focus on those actions and who they come from, to purposefully appreciate them and then, more than perfunctorily, show that appreciation.  It is important to spend time truly appreciating the friendly and positive treatment you get from others, and not fake it.  When you fake it or pass it off too quickly, you do not really receive it or let it do you good.  That, in turn, reduces real friendship connecting.

For growing deep, profound and lasting friendship love, the following subcategories are best focused on because they are seen to be of Cardinal Importance in this more profound process.  They encompass and are supported by the two groups and eight subcategories of behavior already described, plus they go deeper, broader and higher in their focus.  Thus, they yield a substantially deeper, broader and higher experience, more comprehension and sensing of friendship and the actions involved in creating profound friendship.

1.  Nurturing Friendship  Included here are all the behaviors that help people grow and become more than they were.  Nurturing friendship actions are supportive, encouraging, challenging, comforting, difficult truth telling, rewarding, understanding, valuing, sharing, honoring, appreciating, affirming and everything else which helps a person become more of the good things they can become.  Also included are the actions which help someone find and develop their own potentials, better meet their own challenges and better fulfill their own aspirations.

Nurturing means to assist in ways that strengthen, assists in making more effective, more complete, more accurately self honoring and more healthfully self loving.  It also means to do nurturing in ways that are in accord with another’s nature and ways of being their own unique self.  Some examples might be helping someone fulfill a lifelong dream, discover and actualize a hidden talent, improve general life skills and coping abilities, win at love or find ways to enjoy life more fully.

2.  Protectional Friendship  Real friends and true comrades are protective of each other’s safety and well-being and that protection often extends to their friends, family and important others.  Such friends stand together in facing adversity, are allies against enemies and in overcoming destructive occurrences.  They are often on the alert to warn of approaching damage, hurt and harm and are sensitive to and on guard about not being overprotective.  The phrase “I’ve got your back” typifies this aspect of friendship and the behaviors it brings forth.

3.  Healing Friendship  The research shows that friendships are very helpful in healing many maladies and injuries.  If someone you are close to in friendship is injured or ill you tend to act in whatever ways you can to help them get better.  In doing that, your assistive healing influence is practical and obvious.  But just being there with them or even close by, has been discovered to often have a surprising and mysterious healing and healthful effect.

This is true among the physically sick, injured and debilitated and even those undergoing various normal medical procedures like pregnancy and birth.  This is even more true among those psychologically in need of healing.  Just going through a difficulty knowing someone who cares is there for you has a more than is completely understood, healthful effect on many.  In the area of relationship healing, such friendship has been known to save lives, children’s mental health and whole family’s existence.

4.  Metaphysical Friendship  Praying for a friend is the most common metaphysical behavior of friendship but around the world there are many others done in various cultures and societies.  Lighting a candle at an altar, flying a prayer flag, creating a blessing-type sand painting, doing liturgical dancing for spiritually honoring of a loved one or deep friend, the reverential reading of sacred texts, spiritual chanting, singing spirituals, envisioning white and gold light exercises, ritual washing and baptizing and a host of greatly varying religious and spiritual rituals, all constitute metaphysical behaviors that are sometimes done by friends on behalf of friends.

It is hard to prove scientifically but there are well conducted studies showing surprisingly positive and supporting results for doing all of these kinds of metaphysical behaviors.  For certain, they often are beneficial to those who do the behaviors and for the target people who are aware of the behaviors being done on their behalf.  But what about those in deep unconscious states, those unaware that such actions are being conducted and aimed at them, those geographically far away and especially what about the loved dogs, horses, cows and other animals for which such metaphysical actions seem to benefit.  One of the things we do know is that metaphysical, or spiritual if you will, behaviors are enacted often with intense emotional energy, great sincerity and profound love by and for friends.  They, therefore, constitute this separate category of Cardinal Friendship behavior.

Recommendation: To improve your life’s friendship situation, give special attention to the 12 subcategories above and choose which ones you want to make improvements in.  Then set to work on doing so, as you also work to do so from deep inside your heart self.

For further friendship understanding link to mini-love-lessons Friendship and Its Extraordinary Importance, Friendship ‘Like’ to Friendship ‘Love’”, and Understanding Friendship, From Mild Geniality to Profound Love.

Some books you might want to read: Love and Friendship by Allan Bloom, Friends As Family by Karen Lindsey, Friendship: How to Give It, How to Get It by Dr. Joel D. Block, The Friendship Factor by Alan Loy McGinnis, Friendship by Martin E. Marty, The Meaning of Friendship by Dr. & Sufi Master Nurbakhsh and How to Make Friends As an Introvert by Nate Nicholson.

As always – Go and Grow with love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

PS: Help spread love knowledge.  Tell somebody about this site – okay?

Love Success Question: Are you going to evaluate your own friendship actions using the 12 kinds of behavior described above? (By the way, with just a few adaptations you also can use the same 12 behaviors for evaluating your love behaviors in each type of love relationship – parent, mate, self, etc.).

Re-Sparking Your Love

Synopsis: ‘Sparking’ is first explained, then ascending, leveling off and sinking love relationships; and those in need of re-sparking are discussed; and finally 10 not so usual how-to’s for re-sparking a love relationship 


In years gone by couples talked about sparking, or sparking up their romantic or love-mated relationships.

Sparking could be anything from suggestive flirting to writing and reading love poems, to passionate kissing and erotic fondling. Sparking up could be returning to dating actions, dancing, being seductive and engaging in more than usual sexual action. All this was aimed at causing “sparky” or enlivened, desirable feelings together. Today in our busy world lots of couples could use some sparking or re-sparking.

Ascending, Leveling off or Sinking?

What do you think of the idea that says ‘if you’re love life isn’t growing’ its dying’? A great many couples don’t consciously know it but they have been subconsciously programmed to think that in the early stages of a love relationship it’s all exciting and automatically growing, but then it levels off, and if all goes well it just stays leveled off and ongoing. Sort of like a mesa (a flat top mountain), there’s the climbing up, and you reach the flat place, and you walk on the flat place from then on, until the end and you fall off or have to climb down. Others think that at least some romantic relationships are more like a another type of mountain, one you can keep going higher and higher on.

Then of course there are those who think of romantic relationships more like a swamp, but we will not deal with that right now. In your love relationships, not only with a romantic love partner, but with children and family, with friends, etc. do you think you are going about it in a way that is ascending, i.e. getting better and better, or leveling off, or slowly perhaps, sinking?

Some think there is no such thing as leveling off, there is only very slow deterioration or declining slope. That is the ‘you are growing, or you are dying’ point of view. It is true that lots of spouse-type love relationships do level off and become dull, emotionally flat or bland, and that can lead to stagnation and deterioration without people noticing it soon enough. That is when ‘re-sparking’ your love relationship is likely to help in more ways than you might imagine.

Re-Sparking How to’s and Science

Here are some suggestions, backed up by some scientific evidence as to what they might accomplish:
1. Kiss more, longer and with more variety. Studies at Arizona State University found that couples instructed to kiss more often, reduce their stress hormones and cholesterol levels, along with increasing their happiness.

2. Touch more, especially more lovingly and intimately. Don’t just have perfunctory sex, or if sex has become difficult, do much more caressing, intimate cuddling, and tender erotic and affectionate stroking.

3. Look with love. While mentally focusing on how you love each other, look lengthily into each other’s eyes when talking, don’t just glance, really look with appreciation. The University of California researchers discovered that couples who have good eye contact, and especially with affectionate touching, were a lot happier and felt a lot more appreciated than others.

4. Talk nice. Remember your voice tones can send very different messages than the words you say. Also remember ‘The 5to1 Ratio’. Replicated research at several institutions has shown that couples who average ‘five positive, affirming comments’ to ‘every negative remark’ do the best in happiness and successful, lasting love relating. So praise, compliment and voice thanks frequently. Couples who get ‘5 negatives’ to ‘every positive’ end, or go on in misery endlessly.

5. Sleep close. In Britain researchers discovered that couples who touch as they go to sleep, while they sleep, and when they wake up, and couples who snuggle a lot, and are usually within an inch or less of each other at night are happiest. It seems ‘the further apart physically, the further apart emotionally’. If there are medical reasons not to sleep together, cuddle more before and after sleep.

6. Do new things together. Go new places, take a class together, volunteer, work together for a cause you both are for, learn a new kind of dancing and meet new people. If you want to add new sparks to your heart-life, do new things together that require some learning together. That comes from studies done at the Marital Studies Lab, University of North Carolina.

7. Play with sex toys together. Research done at Indiana University revealed that both males and females who play with sex toys together, and especially vibrators are sexually more satisfied, and interestingly enough they more frequently get regular medical checkups and do better self exams physically.

8. Use visual reminders. Couples who put up pictures from their previous years together, and have mementos around, and have other visual reminders of vacations and other good times together, help to reconnect and inspire them, or in other words ‘re-spark’ their relationship better and more often, plus they plan more good events to put in their life together. That comes from the Couples Lab at the University of Wisconsin.

9. Co-write your love story. According to the University of Pennsylvania, Center for Couples and Adult Families, it will do you and yours a lot of good to write the narrative history of your love relationship. That can start you talking about future hopes and dreams, and help you feel more bonded together and generally ‘re-sparked’.

10. Study Love and It’s How to’s. Clinical evidence points to the couples who really, consciously work to learn more about how to show, receive, grow and make healthy their expressions of healthy, real love do far better than those who do not, and they do better than those who only do this kind of study in a more minor way.

Thanks to AARP for research guidance on these studies.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question: Are there signs that your major love relationship(s) could use some re-sparking?

Couples Love and Relationship Education Succeeds

Synopsis: Joining the trend?; who’s helped by love and relationship education; what is helped; the many ways to learn about succeeding at couple’s love; the growing popularity of love and relationship education; what to do and not do in choosing love education programs.

Are you part of the growing trend of people getting into love education?  Are you and a beloved working together to learn all the incredibly useful things being discovered that can make couple’s relationships grow and become awesome?  Are you learning with another to practice the practical ‘how to’s’ of successful couplehood?

Who is Helped

Love education works!  Couples succeed more with relationship education!  Couple’s relationship, education research shows it works for all sorts of different kinds of couples who are in all sorts of different kinds of life situations and who come from all sorts of very different backgrounds.  Everyone from affluent Kuwaiti couples in a one hour workshop learning about love and communication to a 42 hour class for low income, Oklahoma couples being taught relationship success techniques  — the research shows couples do better with relationship education.

Well designed and well executed studies of both distressed and not distressed married couples, not married co-habiting couples, couples of multiple socio-economic status levels, couples of different races, ethnicities, religions, nationalities, etc., couples in which one has cancer, couples who have lost a child, couples about to have a child and couples who just had a child, military couples, same-sex couples, couples dealing with addictions, pre-release prisoners and spouses, court ordered parents — they all show improvement when they are involved in love and relationship education programs.

A great variety of different kinds of improvement have been discovered to occur with these couples, and the degree of benefit varies depending on the exact nature of the program the couples are engaged in, and not everyone shows improvement.  However, the data demonstrates that all-in-all improvements occur for all kinds of couples, in all kinds of situations and with all kinds of different life factors when couples engage in love and relationship education programs.  These improvements are well beyond anything occurring in comparison and control group couples who are not involved in these types of programs.

What is Helped

Love, giving love, receiving love, feeling love, feeling loved, growing love, empowering with love, love strengthening, love healing, lasting love, sexual loving and every other aspect of healthy, real love can be expected to improve in a good couple’s love education program.  But that’s not all.  The research shows a tremendous variety of different benefits accrue to those involved in couple’s relationship education.  Such couples significantly increase their chances of having healthy, happy and stable, lasting, bonded relationships.

These fantastic results are put forth in a survey of ‘30 recent research studies’ conducted by various universities, by various state and federal agencies in several countries, and by the U.S. Army and Air Force.

The aforementioned research endeavors showed couples achieving improvements significantly over control groups in factor areas like these: general relationship quality, relationship length, conflict control, relationship knowledge, relational happiness, lowered divorce rates, communication, decreased postpartum depression, decreased relational dissatisfaction, increased positive interaction, decreased negative interaction, decreased incidence of fighting and arguing and related conflict, better parenting, better relating in front of children, increased relationship commitment, relational satisfaction, resolution of differences in conflict, self-regulation, relational adjustments, co-parenting teamwork, parent/child functionality, the elimination of loneliness, greater spousal sense of friendship, dedication, relational confidence, empathetic interaction, intimacy, motivation to improve, acceptance, reduction of distress, coping with stress, mindfulness, relaxation, optimism, autonomy, decreased physical assault, aggression, anxiety, depression, psychological dysfunction and much improved sexuality.

Some follow-up studies of improvements show them still to be in existence as much as two years later.  There also were improvements in physical health.  Blood pressure improvements, decreased medical symptomatology in cancer patients, enhanced salivary oxytocin (a love bonding, neurochemical processor), reduced alpha amylase (a measure of negative physical reaction to stressors and a digestion aid), increased immunity functioning and general healthfulness all improved over that of the control groups studied. WOW, WOW, WOW!

Lots of Ways to Learn Love

Love and couple’s relationship programs come in many forms and many of them only are beginning to be well researched.  There are programs on the Internet, manuals and workbook usage approaches, classroom lectures, group discussion approaches, programs using home visits, dream sharing, guided meditation and mindfulness training, programs using follow-up booster sessions, and more.  Retreat, workshop and seminar formats are common.  The research referred to studied a fair number of those various approaches and found all types of programs produced improvements and could be useful. 

The population sizes in those research efforts also varied greatly.  The smallest was 14 couples in which one spouse of each couple had breast cancer.  The largest study had 5102 new parent couples in eight locations across the US.  The research also has shown that improvements can occur irrespective of race, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, nationality and many other sometimes differentiating characteristics.

Growing Popularity

‘Love relationship education programs’ are becoming so popular that the New York Times recently featured a review of a book on this subject.  No Cheating, No Dying chronicles a couple’s journey into the world of relationship improvement education.  They describe themselves as having a good marriage when they decide to improve it further by sampling different couple’s love improvement approaches.  First, they try a published manual’s five-step, at-home program for re-romanticizing their marriage.  However, they quit after step two.  Then they get into a psychoanalytic, couples therapist’s program who wants them only to focus on disagreements, difficulties, what’s wrong, sick, etc.

This makes things much worse in this couple’s previously well functioning marriage.  Undaunted they quit that and get into a positive psychology focus by taking a course on “Mastering the Mysteries of Love”.  That, actually, brings lots of improvements especially in helping them with empathy and sharing.  Later they add a sexuality improvement effort and their erotic life excels.  This book makes it clear that not all couple’s relationship education efforts are going to get good results and a certain amount of carefulness is needed in selecting what is right for you.

What to Do and Not Do

If you want to take your couple’s love relationship to new heights, strengthen and grow your love, and discover the best of love relating I suggest you start getting deeply into learning the ‘how to’s’ of healthy, real, couple’s love.   Also if you want to add to or enhance the mending and healing of a damaged, wounded, or less than fully functional love relationship, do the same thing.  Perhaps you’re already doing that since you’re reading this.  Therefore, keep doing what your doing, maybe even more.  Then you might search for and review various programs available through churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, etc. along with college non-credit education classes and online programs.

Beware of programs that are more focused on what I call “pulling your weeds” and not focused enough on “growing your flowers”.  Some efforts seem only to want to talk about what can go wrong, or does go wrong, or what is wrong with you, or in other words “the weeds”.  Programs that offer ‘skills training and development’ demonstrating how to make advancements in the positive aspects of love relationships tend to be better than those that only are focused on problem solving.

Frequently problem solving is better handled in couples counseling while advancement and achievement often is better done through courses, workshops, seminars, online programs, etc..  Also be aware that some couple’s education programs are too simplistic, some are too mild and saccharin, some just wrong or stupid, and some flat-out crazy.  Most, however, have something really good to offer, so just be a little careful in your selection.

As I see it, the best ones are the ones that focus on how to give and get love as a couple, really communicating and relating with love, growing your ability to relate with love actions, solving difficulties with love approaches, and generally just doing love well.  If love is not a major element of a couple’s relationship education effort you might want to avoid it.  If love is mentioned but treated in an overly romanticized, vague or impractical manner, or confused with sex you might want to avoid it.  If, however, love is well emphasized, behaviorally related, more clearly defined, and treated as a natural, healthful phenomenon you may have found a good thing.

If you have a loved one who is resistant to, critical of, or disinterested in ‘love education’ you might want to share this entry and the benefits herein – of course, it is best to approach them in a love-filled way.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question
Can you identify and tell a beloved person in your life at least three specific things you want both of you to learn about giving and receiving love?

It Might Be Healthy, Real Love ...

1.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner is kind to you in small, medium and large ways.

2.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner praises and compliments you frequently and honestly.

3.    It might be healthy, real love it your love partner doesn’t put you down or make demeaning, degrading or devaluing statements about you to you or to others.

4.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner is protective of you but not overprotective.

5.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner strongly supports your growth, development and advancement, and does not act to hold you back, suppress or repress you.

6.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner is understanding and tolerant of your mistakes, foibles and unsuccessful efforts.

7.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner supports your efforts to love the people you love.

8.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner enjoys seeing you enjoy life.

9.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner actively helps you with your interests and nurtures your cherished involvements.

10.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner lovingly touches you back when you give a loving touch.

11.    It might be healthy, real love if what is important to you is important to your love partner just because it’s important to you.

12.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner shares their emotions with you and wants the same from you.

13.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner treats you democratically and as an equal.

14.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner treats you with honesty even when it might lead to difficulty.

15.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner frequently is joyous about loving you and being loved by you.

16.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner keeps desiring to know all about you – your current thoughts, feelings, actions, hopes, plans, dreams, preferences and all that’s special about you.

17.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner enjoys having ‘emotional intercourse’ as well as sexual intercourse with you.

18.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner wants to help you achieve your wants as much as they want to achieve theirs.

19.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner is not sexually selfish.

20.    It might be healthy, real love if your love partner is seldom indifferent to you.

21.    It be healthy, real love if when ‘making love’ mutual pleasuring is more important than performance.

22.    It might be healthy, real love if you and your love partner clearly and easily ask each ask each other for what is wanted, instead of relying on hints, ‘mind reading’, or the false idea that love gives magic, automatic knowledge.

As Always, Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question
Which of these statements grab your attention the most; and what do you suppose that is telling you?

Do You Love with Laughter?

Do you know you can love someone by helping them laugh?  You also can love them by laughing with them (not at them).  Laughing together helps the love connecting process grow stronger.  Smiling, saying something funny, witty, humorous, etc. is a real plus for all sorts of love relationships.

This especially applies to friendship love, parent/child love, mate love, and comrade love, plus it is very likely to be constructive in a good many other types of love relationships.

Loving with laughter sometimes is especially good for helping people under stress ‘lighten their load’, panicked people ‘get a grip’, and angry people not take things so seriously.  Loving with laughter can give needed relief by assisting people be, at least temporarily, distracted from physical and emotional pain, fear, anxiety, other bad feelings, and also from life’s problems and difficult situations.  A good loving ‘laughter break’ often helps people approach a difficulty from a new and better angle seeing solutions they were blinded to previously.

Not only does loving with laughter help your loved one but it helps you too.  Besides creating a positive, happy environment for both of you, hearty laughter releases healthy, feel good, beneficial chemicals in your body.  The bio-sciences have produced many reports indicating laughter can reduce stress, promote relaxation and strengthen our immune system.  So, do yourself a favor and laugh with your loved ones often.

Loving with laughter is especially helpful in romantic and mate type love development.  It helps lovers reduce tension, feel more at ease, feel more connected, sometimes be more self disclosing and want to be around each other more.  It is no wonder that the most common thing women say that attracted them to a lover was “He made me laugh”.  A human love relationship without laughter can be too heavy, too serious and too draining.

There are a couple of things to be careful about.  One is ‘put down’ humor.  Putdown humor occurs when the humor depends on someone being demeaned, criticized, the butt of a joke, etc..  It may work in some friendships but it is seldom a plus in mate or romantic type love.  Put down humor can grow especially toxic when the putdowns are being aimed at the one you love.  Frequently the person being put down comes to feel degraded and disrespected instead of enjoyed.  The trick is to not ‘make fun of’ but rather have fun with those you love.  Whenever you help a loved one feel like they are being made fun of, secret or subconscious resentments tend to grow, a fight or even a breakup may ensue.

No matter how funny you may think demeaning humor, clever putdowns, critical joking, and discounting satire are they all can be quite detrimental to a love relationship. This can be true no matter who or what the target of the negative humor is.  Humor that depends on any form of prejudice also may be quite destructive to a love relationship.  Another thing to watch out for is too much laughing at yourself.  Self-effacing humor, even though it causes laughter, may subtly teach another person to think more poorly of you.

Cruelty-based or dependent laughter of any kind promotes cruelty which may eventually be turned on everyone and anyone in a relationship network.  Also to be avoided in doing healthy real love is falsely laughing at someone else’s jokes, witticism, satire, etc..  Falsely laughing practices and promotes being deceptive, giving false information about what you like or find funny, and it reinforces the increase of a behavior you don’t want to see more of.

The best love laughter probably occurs with positive surprises.  An unexpected compliment, the unusual rewarding event, and the unforeseen affirming action are examples.  Consider a surprise birthday party, an affirmation-filled singing message, the discovered upbeat love note, flowers for no special occasion or a puppy gift.  All are likely to produce smiles and laughter in a way that also can convey and promote healthy real love.  Strange and odd ways of seeing things, saying things and doing things can provide not only laughter but an intimate sharing of one’s unique special self.  That is almost always good for growing a close, endearing love relationship.

Also important is being silly together.  Lighthearted, shared, silly actions, words, looks, gestures, etc. all can be super constructive in many kinds of love relating.  This can be doubly important in sexual love.  Silly sex is one of the best types of sex according to many couples.  The fun-filled, naked pillow fight, the giggle-filled secret sex in a public place, and the laughter inducing wearing of absurdly sexy attire are examples.  Lovingly laughing together at sexually involved awkward moments, clumsy maneuvers, botched attempts, and fizzled finesse, along with larger sexual misadventures is often crucial.

Shared loving laughter can help you not to get stuck, stopped or in a rut concerning sex.  Laughing together can make even upsetting sex-related misdeeds, indiscretions and disasters into  precious, funny, shared love memories such as “Remember the time we set the pillow on fire”, “the minister arrived at our house unexpectedly and we had to scramble for our clothes”, and “how Auntie Matilda responded to the elephant’s erection”.

Loving smiles and laughter also can come from using precious, funny, little nicknames: Diddlesitlittle, Poofuddle , Sugams, and Dimpleduster to name a few I’ve heard.  Using special oddball terms for the ordinary like “At their house lovers eat dinnuch at 4:30 P.M.” helps with laughter and closeness.  Giving loved ones a loving wink, nudge, thumbs-up gesture, V for victory salute, etc. all done with little laughs and smiles are also precious.

Laughing while talking with sexy innuendos for example “Do you want some”, “Last night did you get some”, “Are you going to give him (or her), or both some tonight”, “Give me some right now and I’ll make sure you get some right along with mine” ad infinitum.  This shared  sexiness with a little fun helps many love relationships to be intimate and special.  Best of all can be simple laughter itself, for no other reason than just being happy in love.

So, I want you to ask yourself, “How are you doing at loving with laughter?”

As always –grow in love! And laugh often.

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Image credits: “heart faces background” by Flickr user jelene (Jelene Morris).

Want New and Better Love in the Next Year?

Mini-Love-Lesson  #262

Synopsis: Love can be felt and love can be done. This mini-love-lesson focuses on the getting it done part, and doing love ever better in spite of some dangers.  There is a simple, quick love rating scale to help you evaluate where you are in your love relating world; followed by how to analyze its results and use them for growing ever better love in the coming year, no matter how good or bad love was for you last year.

Ever Better Love

Love is one of those things that always can be done even better than it was before, no matter how good it was – or wasn’t.  Love feelings come naturally but doing love takes active participation in the doing part. That, of course, takes figuring out and learning what to do.  This means, if you want your next year of love relating to go better than the last, you probably will have to  do some learning and thinking about doing love.  This mini-love-lesson is aimed at helping you do just that.  It begins with a simple evaluation exercise to help you see where you might want to focus your improvement efforts.

Caution – Danger – Don’t Do’s

Let’s look at something you may be non-consciously programmed to do which many of us relationship researchers, coaches, counselors and therapists tend to see as common and, more often than not, destructive and frequently even disastrous.  It has to do with trying to do love with only part of yourself instead of with your whole self.  We tend to succeed at love better when all our major parts get involved.  One part many are subconsciously programmed to leave out is our conscious thinking self.  This kind of program may read something like this.

“For doing love you can only rely on your intuition and your love luck.  After all, love is done by unknowable magic, or maybe done by how your parents treated you when you were an infant and, in any case, you can’t do anything about either, so don’t try.  In fact, trying gets in the way.  You only can hope and maybe pray.  Otherwise, how you do love and love relating only can be carried out by your intuitive impulses, governed by your luck at love.”

Your personal program may read rather differently or similarly to that.  However, if it is in any way like that, know that it is antithetical to the knowledge and teachings of a great many of our time-honored sages, wisdom masters and spiritual leaders of old, plus it is in opposition to a lot of recent research, all of whom have a lot to say about how to do love and do it well.

Quick Rate Your Love Relationships

First, look over the following list of a dozen forms of love relationship and pick out the ones you want to give a rating to then give them a check mark.  Next using a scale of 0 to 10 (zero meaning the worst and 10 meaning the best) quickly rate how well you estimate you are doing at love relating in each those relationships you have checked.  Don’t over think any of them.  You can do that later if you wish.  Just use a quick first impression approach.

Forms of Love Relating to Rate. (Using 0 – 10 or NA for not applicable)
1. Pet love ____, 2. Friendship love ____, 3. Family love ____, 4. Love of children ____,
5. Love of Parent Figures ____, 6. Love of special heartmate (spouse etc.) ____,
7. Healthy Real Level of Self ____, 8. Spiritual Love ____, 9. Love of Life ____,
10. Love of others, people, etc. _____, 11. Love of nature _____,
12. love of a special cause, endeavor, involvement, group or population ____.

Evaluation and Analysis

Now, examine your highest ratings and ask yourself how might you do even better in those higher rated, important areas?  Maybe make some notes or start a file.  Then, examine your low scores asking yourself if you really want to make any improvements in those lower scored relationships?  If so, you might circle them.  Now, look closely at the middle-range-ratings asking yourself if those relationship areas might merit further focus and exploration?  Finally, look at the forms of love relating you did not rate asking yourself what you might want to do so that you could easily and quickly have a rate to give in those areas?

Now you can choose to go back and give longer, more full thought to any of the forms of love relating you might want to examine more deeply how you think and feel about them – or not.  Again, maybe making some notes?  I recommend you also give yourself an overall, not too critical or praising, tentative, general analysis statement about what this is telling you about you and your world of love relationships.  Put that into exact words, as best you can, and keep it wherever you might want to.  Then take it out tomorrow and review it again adding or subtracting from it, and do it again in a week.

Improvement Usage

Now, I suggest you start toward making your plans for love improvements in the next year.  This is sort of like making New Year’s Resolutions.  To make them work, you probably have to check up on doing them in some regular way, like once a week, once a month, every six weeks, etc. using a calendar and/or reminder system.

Making a doing love better plan is usually best done with specifics like who or what is exactly the target of your efforts, what exact behaviors will you do (give a particular compliment, kiss, hug, favor, dozen smiles, an hour of undivided attention, take to a movie they want to see, etc., etc. etc.).  Also specifics  on what day and time will this action be taken, when and how you will record and evaluate afterwards and plan a next action.  You can include generalities like I will be kinder, happier toward them, attentive, affirmative, etc. but unless you add more behaviorally specific actions, it is not likely much actually will happen often enough.

If your love improvement plan also includes things you want not to do like stop getting mad so easily, talk over others when they are talking, immediately bringing up problems and negative issues when first encountering loved ones, etc. that is half a success-oriented plan.  It also is important to add what you will do instead of the action you wish to stop or limit.  Without the instead action, old action habits tend to prevail.

Now for New Learning

To do new and better thinking about anything, usually requires new and hopefully enjoyable learning.  Here is my suggestion for that.  At this site, go to the two indexes of the mini-love-lessons.  In the Title Index, scan down the titles once a week, on the same day of the week, preferably for the next 52 weeks.  Every time you do this, pick a title that gets your attention for whatever reason and read it, think about it, make a note or two about it and see if there is a way to use it for doing love better love in your next week.  After you have some notes written, review some of them each time you write new notes  When you miss a week, do two the next week.


Using the Subject Index, find a Large Topic Area that for whatever reason seems to interest you a bit more than the others.  Then scan the mini-love-lesson titles listed in that topic area and once a week read one of them, following the same instructions as above.  Do this until you want to change to another Large Topic Area.  Then do so.  Keep doing this until you have read, thought about and made some notes, plus reviewed some of your past notes hopefully for 52 weeks.  Each time you do this, record or draw a :-) on your calendar or on your way of keeping your record of love actions taken.

By doing this, you very likely will teach yourself how to make your ways of love relating and doing love better, and better, plus making it a habit to do love actions more regularly.

One More Thing

Discussing what you have just read with others tends to help you more diversely expand and develop your thinking about what you have read, plus it often leads to other stimulating topics.  That is thought to be because discussing ideas uses different and additional parts of your brain than does thinking silently by yourself – which does have its own advantages.  If you do discuss this mini-love-lesson with others, please mention this site and its many love lessons aimed at helping all people to love more and better.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question: If knowledge is power as they say, won’t new love knowledge empower you to do love more and better love as long as you keep acquiring new love knowledge?

How Receiving Love Well Gives Love Better

Synopsis: A note on ongoing love; then getting a grasp of what is good and bad love reception starts our mini-love-lesson; leading to how to really receive love – part one having to do love mindfulness and really getting it, which is followed by part two on how to give love back by showing you truly got it.

Ongoing Love Is a Game of Pitch, Catch and Throw Back

First you have to notice love is coming your way, then you have to react to really catch it well and not let it go by or drop it, then you have to accomplish a good return pitch.

Good and Bad Love Reception

When love comes your way, do you do a good job of receiving it?  Some people are so bad at receiving love they unknowingly get themselves love-starved.  They also unknowingly may be turning off people from trying to love them.  That can ruin a love relationship.  Those who are really good at love reception are better nourished and more energized by the love they receive.  In the act of good love reception, someone good at love reception sends love back to the previous love sender.  This greatly helps to form and maintain a love-generating, love-bonding, and love-cycling love relationship.

Poor receivers dishearten and disappoint the people they love, and even may cause them to feel rejected and futile in their attempts to give love.  Poor receivers also model and, therefore,  program or unintentionally may teach their children to become poor receivers.  Good receivers do exactly the opposite.  Those who are good at love reception generally are much more liked, befriended, included and assisted than are those who are poor at love reception.

It turns out that receiving love well is an excellent way to actually send love to someone.  It is one of the eight major types of behavior by which a person can directly help another person thrive on love.  (See “A Behavioral (Operational) Definition of Love” mini-love-lessons at this site).  It is for that reason that it can be called Receptional Love and can be listed along with the other seven major types of behavior that convey love discovered by the massive research efforts in social psychology to understand love started by the eminent Dr. Clifford Swensen.

How to Receive Love Well: Part One

If someone sends you a statement of love, a gift of love, a loving touch, a loving look or any of the other ways that show and convey love, what do you do with it?  First, of course, you have to notice it.  Sadly many people are very poor at noticing the love that is coming their way.  They have been programmed, even self-trained to be so focused on a great many other things that they totally miss the love that actually is there for them.  Next, they have to count it.  Once a love action is noticed it is important to value it.

Here is an example.  A child, in an act of love toward a parent, goes to the trouble of making a picture.  Maybe they go to a lot of trouble making the picture, really taking time with it.  Then they present it to their parent as a gift of love.  If the parent is busy with something else, like talking to someone, and the parent takes the picture but does not look at it and instead places it aside on a pile of other papers, where soon it will be buried by other papers; this parent has sent a message which says to the child, your gift of love is of no value.

If that or similar things happen at crucial times, and far too often, the child may learn not to behave with love.  This child also may learn to feel unworthy, insignificant and even unlovable since loving behavior did not came back.  Someday the parent may be asking, why don’t my children want to visit me, contact me, or show any signs that they love me?  The parent also may wonder why their children have so much trouble with their own love relationships.

All was not lost.  If the parent later were to come back to the child holding the picture, and with warm tones of voice and a smile say they have been looking at the picture, and soaking up what a fine gift of love the picture is, and how they will cherish it, and give it a place of honor in a scrapbook, they may have amended sufficiently their former poor love reception, and turned it into an act of good receptional love.

Love Mindfulness

It is the same with adults, only with complications.  First notice, then take time to value or ‘count’ the demonstrations of love coming your way.  Maybe you say to yourself, “He (or she) is holding my hand and that’s showing me some love, so I will let myself fully notice it and value it”.  The next step is to let yourself more fully feel it.  Don’t let your mind go off somewhere else.  Stick with the fact that your hand is being held and that means some love can come in.  Maybe you tell yourself, with a bit of a deeper breath, “I feel it; I’m being loved and I feel it,  I am letting myself fully feel that this person holding my hand is loving me right now; I digest it; I absorb it and I let it nourish me”.

I have heard people who are learning this mindfulness technique say, “I don’t have time for all that”.  Sometimes I reply, “You don’t have maybe 15 seconds, even the 20 or 30 seconds it will take to do that?  You don’t have time to feel loved?  What will that do to you in the long run”?  Usually they then begin to try what I’m suggesting they do, to absorb and digest the love that comes their way.  You can do the same.  Bear in mind, it does take practice and repetition to do it well.

Lots of love comes to us through statements.  Those statements of love often are accompanied by loving looks and loving tones of voice.  There may be a loving gesture or posture change (known as expressional love) like opening arms to us or leaning forward toward us.  It is important we become mindful of all that, along with the words.  In this way you get the whole behavioral love gift and not just part of it.  If your beloved says “I love you” and all you do is snap back with “I love you too”, that is nice but usually it is not deep or nearly all you could be experiencing.  If you take a couple of seconds to look into your beloved’s face and say to yourself something like “I’m being told ‘you’ ‘love’ ‘me’, and that’s important.  I am taking it in, and I am absorbing it,.  I am letting myself fully feel it and know it”.  It is when we learn to do things like that, that we can much more fully receive love in a deep way and really be nourished by it.

Sometimes love comes to us through much bigger actions which take longer than a simple statement or an act like holding your hand.  It is appropriate to take a lot longer to focus on, strongly value, and more deeply absorb those demonstrations of love.  To feel precious and cherished by ongoing actions of love, to let ourselves feel honored by the day-to-day ways we are loved, to let ourselves feel highly valued by loving thoughtfulness, kindness, assistance, support and the many other ways we are loved also is highly important. By doing so, we help our loved ones succeed at loving us.  Healthy, real love partly comes our way from those who truly love us, so that love accomplishes its goal of benefiting us, because this is what love does.  Letting love do exactly that by absorbing it well, lets those who love us achieve one of love’s great goals.  Anything that depletes good, full reception, helps inhibit love.

Training your mind not to let anything interfere with taking some time to really feel and absorb the love coming of your way helps.  You can train yourself to do a good job of part one of receptional love.  At first it may take more practice that you might think but like anything if you keep practicing you get better at it, and you begin to notice the good feelings and many other benefits that result.  It may feel odd, strange, or unusual if you have not been doing this sort of thing.  With repeated work, you can join the happy people who know how to receive love well and let it nourish them.

How to Receive Love Well: Part Two

Now, as you work on really noticing, valuing, absorbing, and therefore, letting yourself fully feel loved, there is another big, important thing to do.  This is to do a good job of showing that you are getting the love being sent your way.  If somebody hands you a ‘love gift’ and you just say “thanks”, and put it down, and you don’t do much more, that is not very good reception.  If you take it for granted, that shows you do not sincerely and honestly notice, value and absorb it which may also show that you are not giving back the gift of good receiving.

If someone says words of love to you and you act as if nothing happened, or you only return some perfunctory politeness, that probably will not do the job of good love reception either.  Being truthful also is important.  The truth best be that you have really noticed with appreciation (valued) and felt (absorbed) the love demonstration that came your way.  Even if the ‘love action’ coming your way is not really ‘your thing’, you can appreciate the loving gesture behind it and absorb the love itself that is being delivered.

Love Behaviors That Give Love Back

If you are with someone who loves you, and they say or do something loving towards you, and you absorb it, your expressional reaction immediately can give love back.  Expressional love is given by your facial expression – usually a smile, your tonal expression – usually warm and happy tones of voice, a gestural expression – maybe open arms, and a postural expression – leaning in or moving toward the person.  In some situations these may be done in minimal ways like a small nod of the head with just a tiny momentary grin, but usually it is better if the expressional behavior is bigger and more robust.

Tactile behavior such as hugs and kisses, hand and arm squeezes, pats on legs, arms, backs, etc., all can be added to the expressional reaction and all can show you really noticed, value and have absorbed with appreciation the other person’s love action.

Words of thanks and appreciation are great ways to show you got the love sent, and you are sending love back.   There are many love getting and giving situations that can be well done with words, both verbally and in written form.  But be careful not to sound like you are being only dutifully polite.
Gifting, both tangible gifts and experiential gifts, also can be terrifically good in showing someone you truly got their gift of love.  Thank you cards, flowers, and other tangible gifts are great.  Doing someone a return favor, or surprising them in some happy-making way is often the experiential gift that shows you really got and appreciated their gift of love.

Sometimes opening up to a person who has shown you love, returns the love by your self disclosure.  Various ways to show affirmation of a person’s value in your life is especially good for demonstrating receptional love.  Even tolerational love can be tied in with reception love.

More to Learn

This mini-love-lesson is aimed at getting you started toward new and better receptional love behaviors.  There is more to learn about reception love, and especially about how it is key to maintaining lasting love relationships.  To do that learning, you may wish to read other mini-love-lessons at this site having to do with the behaviors of love.  You also can read the section on Receptional Love in my book, Recovering Love, which I am proud to say has especially helped a lot of people with this and related issues.  Another good source is Dr. Harville Hendrix and Dr. Helen LaKelly Hunt’s book Receiving Love which covers quite a few, in depth factors often involved in this very important topic.

As always – Go and Grow in Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being best, how do you rate yourself on being a good receiver of love, and what are you going to do to help yourself have an even higher score?

Behaviors That Give Love - The Basic Core Four

Synopsis: This mini love lesson gets you started on how to give healthy, real love as a useful step toward also being able to get it; then goes into the four most basic, core types of behavior discovered by research which convey healthy, real love.

How to Give Healthy, Real Love and Then Get It

To get love, learn to give it.  How do you do that, you ask.  A wonderful answer has been given to us by massive, expansive, long-range, wonderfully well done research conducted in social psychology.

That research has discovered 383 distinctive behaviors likely for stimulating feeling loved by the recipients of those behaviors.  Luckily, advanced, astonishing, ‘magical’, statistical analysis techniques now have boiled down all that to just eight simple groups of behavior, which you can learn .  In addition to that, clinical and field work by practitioners of relationship therapy have added all sorts of important goodies to this knowledge.

If you learn, practice and get good at the major ways of sending your love to others, all sorts of improvements in your life become likely.  A ton of research supports that contention.

Many people come to me asking how they can fall in love, become loved, find love, get love, be lovable, etc..  The first thing to do, I suggest, is concentrate and learn how to give healthy, real love.  Then practice and get really good at it.  At this site you can study what healthy, real love truly is and about the eight major categories of behavior that social psychologists and others have discovered which send, demonstrate, deliver and give healthy, real love directly to others. Plus there are four more larger, wide-ranging categories of how love is given, but first get the basics.

Presented here are the basic, core, four major ways to directly give love which lay down a groundwork for learning the rest.  Each of these can be applied to romantic love, spouse love, love of a child, friendship love, and many other types of love, including healthy self-love.

Introducing The Basic, Core Four

1.  Touch Love
Touch, or tactile love, is defined as physical contact which demonstrates loving affection, support, caring, comforting and also sensual and sexual loving, plus the special category of healing touch.  Touching with love perhaps is the most basic and oldest form of demonstrating love.  It probably is the first form of love people experience, usually beginning in the womb and very soon after birth.  Babies who do not receive loving touch die of ‘failure to thrive’ illnesses like marasmus even though they are otherwise well taken care of.

Before loving, holding, cuddling and stroking became part of the care program given to infant orphans, 99.9% of them died before reaching the age of two in the orphanages studied in North America and Europe.  It is feared that older people in various care facilities also may die sooner without loving touch.  There also is evidence to suggest that between those two age groups those who go without loving touch are far more likely to experience all kinds of serious, psychological disorders and perhaps physical ones also.  So, learn to do loving touch – a lot!

Take a look at the following list of words expressing how many different ways loving touch may be done.

Holding, hand holding, petting, stroking, caressing, cuddling, hugging, kissing, embracing, clasping, nuzzling, foot rubbing, snuggling, fondling, squeezing, tapping, light tickling, full body pressing, lap dancing , tease pinching, cupping and at least a dozen others for the sensual and erotic, love expressive, touch actions.

Why not get good at all of them?

Another category of tactile love involves healing touch.  To be lovingly touched when ill or injured, distressed, or in any way dysfunctional is known to be surprisingly healing, including at the physical level.  Wounded areas lovingly touched by someone loving you heal faster and better according to no small number of studies.

2.  Expressional Love
Expressional love probably is the second oldest and also is a very basic, quickly delivered form of showing love.  Expressional love is accomplished by loving expressions in your tones of voice, loving facial expressions, loving gestures and love communicated by posture movements.  If someone you love comes in the room and you stand up (posture movement expression), hold open your arms in welcoming (gesture expression), smile (facial expression) and say “aahh” in a most loving tone of voice (tonal expression) you probably have done a really good job of sending several bits of expressional love.

Most people are surprised to learn that in direct, personal, face-to-face communication only 7% of the communication is carried by the words being spoken.  Tonal expression conveys about 35% of the message and facial, gesture and body motion can convey 55% of the total message.  So, get good at studying what your tones, face, gesture and whole body movements are saying and help them speak of your love to those you love.

Become good at the looks and sounds of love and then it is more likely that those will flow back to you in greater abundance.  When you do this love-bonding becomes far more likely and love relationship health is nourished.  However, don’t do it for those reasons because the mere giving of love action does wonders for you whether you get anything in return from others or not.  Remember, real love is a free gift.

3.  Verbal Love
The words that convey love can add all sorts of power, intricacy, elaboration, understanding and magnificence to the way you deliver your love to another.  Verbal love includes words spoken and words written.  Verbal love simply is defined as the behavior of using words to convey and express love.

The simple “I love you” statements are perhaps the most common form of verbal love.  Pet names, nicknames, terms of endearment like sweetheart, darling, honey, etc., words expressing the many and varied, different emotions caused by love (remember, love itself is not an emotion but a powerful natural process), special made-up words shared only by intimately connecting lovers, words of passion when love is part of the passion, poetic and artful phraseology, positive humorous terms, double meanings, and other very personally expressive and descriptive word-craft all count here in the verbal expressions of love.

4.  Gift Love
Gift love is defined as presenting to a loved one tangible objects, resources, opportunities or experiences aimed at conveying love, and having no component of expecting a return action or object being sought.  Gift love is generally thought of in two major forms: those that are more tangible gifts like things attractively wrapped in boxes but also including resources like finances; and the other form of experience gifts like surprise birthday parties or a picnic date, offering opportunities counts here too like letting someone use your place for the party they are giving.
What is important is to enjoy the giving of the gift and let that be enough.  If the recipient of you gift enjoys it, says thanks, gives you something in return, or shows off your gift or makes laudatory statements to others on your behalf that’s all extra.  ‘Giving to get something back’ is not a gift, it’s a manipulation.

Experience gifts like taking someone to an event they really want to go to, playing music they really like to hear, or providing an opportunity for them to do something adventuresome, beautiful or extraordinary can be among the best of gifts.  For conveying intimate love sometimes unexpected, small gifts like a single rose can be more important than larger gifts like a whole bouquet when presented just right.  Gift love is best considered an ‘art form’ well worth learning and practicing.
To really learn and get into all eight of the major ways of directly giving healthy, real love I, perhaps egotistically, strongly recommend you read my book, Recovering Love, available through amazon.com, iuniverse.com, and others.

As always – Go and Grow in Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question
Of the above, basic, core, four ways to give love which are you best at and how are you going to get even better at it?

What Your Brain Does with Love - Put Simply

Mini-Love-Lesson #208

Synopsis: Where your heart resides in your brain and what that has to do with the many emotions triggered by love; how feeding your brain love makes you healthy are all presented and surveyed in this mini-love-lesson; more.

The Heart in Your Brain

First, in cherished tones, you hear the words “I love you”, or perhaps you feel a tender loving touch, or maybe you see a precious sweet smile on the face of a beloved one, or it could be any of the 383 other loving behaviors (so far discovered, Swenson) which can activate your sensory systems to help you experience love.  Next, as your nerves are stimulated by a love input they send electrical messages to centers and circuits of your deeper, ancient, non-conscious brain designed for receiving and processing love.

That deeper part of your brain primarily is where your psychological heart resides.  It is where you process love, being loved and loving.  It also is the part of that sends out electrical and chemical messages to other parts of your brain and to many parts of your body activating them to function more healthfully, and generally to beneficially guide you.  Then those messages stimulate your brain to make a variety of neurochemical compounds which in turn help to make you conscious of starting to feel the many, various, good, emotional and physical feelings of love.

All of that happens mostly quite naturally, automatically and also largely non-consciously at first.  But your subconscious knows and is responding.  When it comes to love, it seems that the conscious, aware and thinking mind, to a large extent, gets bypassed at first.  Some have postulated that perhaps nature does not really trust the conscious mind to handle anything as important as love, other than to be aware of feeling it after it is up and running.  Notice, people tend more often to say things like “I realized I love him (or her)”, or “suddenly I just knew I loved (so-and-so)” rather than saying things like “I can tell I love that person a little bit and maybe that love is growing”.  That occasionally does happen.  Perhaps also that is why you can not feel your love for someone all the time but it is there all the time where you can draw on it when it is called for.

You purposely can come to sense love when it exists in you and, thus, know you love someone, but this is just the awareness of love and not the love itself.  Because love neurologically is not an emotion but rather a natural, complicated, internal, deep brain process which you sometimes feel or sense.  It also is a process which can give you a great many different emotions, among which are feeling loving, feeling loved and feeling lovable.

Love and Its Accompanying Emotions

While love happens, you frequently do become consciously aware of the feelings of being loved, and/or loving, or just a sense of love itself.  You also may get a wide range of other, accompanying, positive feelings which the experience of love triggers or sets off in your brain.  When love is being experienced, there can be accompanying positive feelings of tenderness, intimacy, ecstasy, serenity, passion, emotional closeness and connection, compassion, ebullience, preciousness, empathetic care, oceanic awareness and a great many other fantastic feelings.

Identifying love as only an emotion is grossly inaccurate and can lead to mis-judging its emotional richness, nature, power, importance and functional dynamics.  In turn, that can lead to a great many missed opportunities, misunderstandings and relational mistakes concerning love.  Some of those can be quite tragic.  Remember, feeling love is natural but love relating is learned.

Blocked and Anti-Love Interference

The whole love process described above can be blocked, confounded and in essence sabotaged by other things that go on both in your brain and in your life.  For instance, a former love relationship that was too often or too severely painful can cause you to be extra reluctant and cautious about entering a new love involvement.  If you have been trained or subconsciously programmed to be more oriented to one, or more, of the false forms of love you may greatly misinterpret or overlook a current, real love opportunity.

Too much emphasis on sexuality, romance, marriage or strong personal insecurity also can get in the way of healthy, real love development.  Substance addictions, compulsive avarice and status desires, plus simply plain ignorance about love also provides lots of dangers.  These are but some of the many things that can block or interfere with processing love healthfully and doing love-relating successfully.

Love and Your Brain for the More Anatomically Fascinated

You could skip this section if you are not intrigued about knowing some of the brain/body details of love’s psychoneurophysiology and neurochemistry.

There is a lot we don’t know yet and what we do know is like everything else about the brain – complicated.  Nevertheless, here is a little bit of more technical brain knowledge concerning what your brain does with love.  These knowledge bits can be used to lookup much more complete information than is given here.

First of all, the preponderance of research evidence shows love not to be an emotion like it is so often misidentified.  Rather, love, at least in part, is seen as a natural, very healthy, systemic, brain process involving many emotions and a whole lot more than that.  Brain-wise the process of love is more similar to the biological process of turning food into energy or your body’s systems and for keeping you free from infections than it is to being just a simple emotional feeling.  Unlike an emotion, real love is not a temporary, or frequently fleeting feeling.  Rather, once real love is established it likely is going to be with you from then on, and some postulate even after death.  A relationship may end but if there was real love that will remain even though there might be many contravening variables about other aspects of the relationship.

Your psychological heart mostly is in your brain’s limbic system.   Love processing involves a good many of your limbic system’s component parts.  Thought to be included are your insula, anterior cingulate cortex, caudate nucleus and putamen, all of which show heightened activation when you come in contact with someone you feel love with or for.  Lower activation also occurs in the amygdala, posterior cingulate, and the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortices in the right hemisphere of your brain.  Those changes in brain activity show love to be at least a twofold process.  One, increases good or positive feelings and the other decreases your negative or bad feelings.  Among those are a lowered sense of fear and a heightened sense of safety.  Changes in the activation rate of those brain parts also mean you become less outer environmentally aware and more internally and emotionally aware as the love process happens.  Worry decreases and as love-induced endorphins and dopamine levels increase so does your all-over sense of happiness and well-being.

Also thought to be probably involved with the love process in your brain are your hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, temporal lobe, orbitofrontal cortex, septal area, corpus callosum, frontal lobe, fornex, mammillary bodies and limbic cortex.  Each of those may have to do with different aspects and factors of the love process.

When referring to a couple, some may say “they have chemistry” that certainly is true.  Love makes a host of neurochemical things happen.  Chemical changes in your brain and body frequently include changes in androgen, testosterone, pheromones, serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, vasopressin, epinephrine, norepinephrine and phenylethylamine, and that is just what researchers have discovered, it seems so far that I know about.  Each of those helps you process different aspects of loves dynamics.  For instance, oxytocin helps you with feeling love connected and bonded with another.  Please note, these are natural, good chemicals that are produced by our bodies when love occurs.  So, those who get lots of love in their lives don’t need similar kinds of pharmaceuticals or street drugs with potential toxic side effects.

From Your Brain to Your Body

The chemicals your brain makes when it is processing love go into your blood and flow through not only your brain but also through the rest of your body.  Everywhere they go they work to have a great variety of beneficial and healthful effects.  It seems that each of the three tiers and 12 major categories of loving behavior [see A Behavioral (Operational) Definition of Love] may trigger different, healthful benefits.  Some are quite invigorating, energizing and mobilizing for action.  Others are calming, soothing and make for antidepressant serenity.  Quite a few have various kinds of physical healing effects.  Others are more healing in a psychological sense.

Feeling loved from any source can sort of work like food giving you energy, sometimes a great deal of energy.  Feeling serenely loved especially is good for lowering stress and the body’s reactions to stress.  Feeling loving toward others brings on one set of physically healthful effects, while acting loving toward others adds another set of physically healthful, biophysical reactions.

Getting and giving different behaviors that convey love has a positive effect on your immune system’s functioning, can lower your bad cholesterol and can help your T cells fight cancer.  The health benefits go on and on, with research discovering more all the time.

Feeding Your Brain Love Makes You Healthy

Your psychological mind and your psychological heart are in your brain.  The brain is in your body and they are all linked together affecting each other.  Experiencing healthy, real love works like a vital health food and a rather miraculous medicine.  The more you interact with people you love, and are loved by the more your brain produces helpful responses that affect your entire body’s health.  This also seems true for those you like and those you are liked by.  More love equals more health.  That is what more and more research is showing.

The more you are absent from healthy, real love input, the more you are psycho-physically malnourished or even starved and the more likely you are to have a physical and/or psychological health malfunction.  Mixing a lot with people doing false love is like eating non-nourishing, junk food.  Even worse, is to be around and interact with negative, anti-love acting people.  That is akin to eating toxic and poisonous food.  Also bad for your health is a lack of healthy self-love, and self-hate and self negation are even worse.

If at your work, or somewhere else you spend time, involves a lot of contact with non-loving, false love or anti-loving people, you had best counterbalance that with healthy self-love and with others who love well.  Remember, it is very important to “love others as you love yourself”.  It is likely your health depends on it!

One More Thing

How about sharing and talking over this mini-love-lesson with a friend or two and, thus, spread some love knowledge into our rather love ignorant world.
As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question: How much real healthy love, shown physically and psychologically, have you been feeding your brain lately?