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Showing posts with label kinds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kinds. Show all posts

Exes And Love

Synopsis: This mini-love-lesson explores exes who continue to love each other after a breakup or divorce; sibling type exes’ love; new loves and ex loves; what to do about your love mate’s love of an ex; divorcing marriage but not each other; enemies of exes love; and ends with a discussion of a basic law of love which may apply to exes.

Exes Who Continue Loving Each Other

What do you think about exes (ex-spouse, ex-mate, etc.) who actively love one another after they have divorced or broken up?  Here are a few quotes to consider.  “My ex and her new guy are going on a double date with me and my new wife”.  Can that double date go well?  “I’m inviting both of my former husbands to my family Christmas dinner.  It just wouldn’t seem right not to.”   What might be the best and worst of that dinner, as you see it?  Now, think about this one, “my ex-wife and I still date each other but also date others.  We have sex, we also go on short trips together, sometimes with the kids.  We love each other a lot but we know we cannot be married to one another.  We tried that twice. This works far better.”  The people who said these things live in the belief that post-divorce love can be quite real, successful and ongoing.  So, what do you suppose it takes to accomplish that?  Here are some things to look at.

Sibling Exes’ Love

Some who married discover they have grown to have a love for each other more like close siblings or cousins, instead of like spouses.  When this happens they may compatibly end the legal marriage, and revamp their relationship into looking a lot like adult brothers and sisters who go through life lovingly, being a part of each other’s life.  They usually see and treat their exes as part of their ongoing established family.  This, of course, is especially good if children are involved.  This is not such an unusual outcome for couples who have conjoint, well counseled divorces.  If their ex gets married they usually gladly attend the marriage and get to know their exe’s new spouse, just like a sibling might.

New Loves and Ex Loves ?

What’s the best thing for you to do with a new love and an ex?  New love partners, of course, may feel very threatened by an ex.  That can be especially true if a new love partner has low, healthy self-love, or if they have a habit of seeing others as their enemy or rival.  In that case giving lots of reassurance can be very helpful.  If there is really bad jealousy, resentfulness, etc., going to good couples counseling together can help fix the problem.  There is a general rule to consider.  Usually it’s a good idea for two people in a new love relationship to try to love, or at least like, each other’s loved and liked family and friends.  That can include exes. Certainly, that is especially useful when there are children involved.

What About Your Wife/Husband/Love Mate’s Love Of An Ex?

Hear Larry’s lament.  “My wife told me she still loves her ex, though she loves me more and in a very different way than she loves him.  What am I to do with that?  Should I insist she never see or talk to him again?  Should I threaten to break up with my wife and destroy our family?  Should I hate him and try to drive him off; or tell him to never have anything to do with her?  Or should I accept him and try to make friends with him?  If I do that I’ll probably need a lot of reassurance from my wife that she will not go back to him?  And we will need to work to make sure my wife and I have such a strong, good love that there’s no chance of there being any real threat?  Or should I just ignore the whole thing?”

All these reactions are what some people do when faced with this kind of issue.  Generally the more loving and inclusive the response, the better the results.  It is true that some exes do indeed try to get a former love mate back.  Openly talking about that with your love mate, and jointly deciding on how to handle it can be very important.  With a joint couples approach to what is perceived as a threat by one, usually gets the best results for all.

Divorcing Marriage, But Not Each Other

There are a surprising number of people who discover they have an incompatibility with marriage itself.  Joni and Johnny put it this way, “We lived together for three years doing great, and then we got legally married and everything went off the cliff and we crashed.  It’s like both of us stepped on a landmine together the day we got married and it blew us apart.” On examination, both discovered that because of the way they saw their parents do marriage with anger, frustration, depression, constant conflict, agony and much suffering, getting legally married triggered subconscious programs in both their heads causing them to do marriage just like their parents did.  Legal divorce cured that, and made successfully living together possible again.

For most couples with this kind of problem it is not nearly as dramatic and clear-cut as it was for Joni and Johnny.  A lot of couples slowly drift into a destructive pattern, triggered by getting married or living married.  Some, with the help of good couples counselors, manage to re-program their way of reacting to marriage itself and do much better.  For others divorce seems to be necessary.

Then there are those people who just do not do well living a married lifestyle, but they don’t want to lose the person they have strong, spouse-type love for.  Some of these couples have been known to remarry each other several times trying to make standard marriage work. Others arrive at a ‘custom tailored, alternate lifestyle’ allowing them to keep relating to one another in an ongoing, love-filled way but it doesn’t look like standard marriage.  This often involves a divorce and at least a portion of their life being lived more like a single person.

Enemies of Exes Love

In a healthy divorce workshop I once led, I asked the participants who they thought were the biggest enemies of healthy post-divorce relating between exes.  The overwhelming response was, “lawyers”, or more exactly “divorce lawyers”.  In our adversarial-oriented justice system, the focus is often on ‘win’ and ‘defeat the other side’, no matter what.  If that is the mindset, it can mean lifelong psychological and relational damage to all concerned, except of course for the lawyers.  Divorce lawyers don’t have to live with the after effects of embattled divorce.  There are a growing number of family practice attorneys who work for cooperative, mutually healthy outcomes.  They often assist  mediation and collaborative processes in order to avoid the all-too-common destructiveness which can occur in the best of adversarial divorce processes.

For a long time our culture has seemed to teach that divorce means you have to become enemies, or at least strangers to someone you may still have love for.  A common advice given to the divorcing goes something like this: “When you divorce you have to divorce your spouse’s family, and then divide your friends, and cut off contact with all those more connected to your ex spouse.”  However, there are a great many people who rebel against that teaching.  More and more of them are succeeding in keeping alive their love relationship with all family and friends, as well as their ex-spouse.

Do you think this idea might be true?  There are those that say it is mostly the people who don’t have real love for each other who have bad divorces.  It does seem to be true that if you want good post-divorce relating with your ex, try to start with a compatible divorce.  However, if you have a terrible divorce that does not mean you can’t work to ‘mend bridges’ and heal wounds after the divorce.  Post-divorce counseling, especially when children are involved, and co-parent guidance counseling can be especially helpful.

Be wary of friends and family, acquaintances too, who want to see divorced people at war with each other.  Some people are very against exes getting along, perhaps because they don’t get along well with their own ex, or they fear people succeeding at divorced living, so they  subtly play a sort of ‘divide and conquer’ game.

A Basic Law of Love?

Do you think that when you have strong, real love for someone, you can shut it off because there is a breakup or divorce?  Do you think that because of the conflicts and agony that lead up to a breakup or divorce, you can really come to hate, or act to harm the ex you were so sure you really loved?  Or can you become truly indifferent about a person you had real love for?  Can the love that you have for someone which motivated you to aid, nurture and protect them change, motivating you to want to harm, deprive and destroy them?  Can healthy, real love work that way?  Some think it can, but most of those who study love deeply disagree. What do you think?

Sometimes we have to become inactive or separate to a person we have love for.  However, that does not mean that ‘way down to the depths of our heart’ we don’t still have love for them.   If it becomes dangerous, destructive or otherwise unworkable to actively relate with an ex, your love may best become dormant but still present in your heart. You may occasionally meditatively tap into that love but not let it lead to any overt action.  Inwardly, you may hope and pray for their well-being but that’s about all.

The Scriptures of several religions which proclaim and promote love, teach that real love is forever.  They put forward the concept that once you truly love someone you will have love for them throughout your life, and perhaps beyond.  That ‘love never ceases’ is a law of love according to many great, spiritual teachers.  What do you think?

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question
If you felt seriously rejected or betrayed by someone you love, could you (with healthy self-love) protect yourself from further destructive hurt, but still have love for that person?

A Best Gift of Love?

Mini-Love-Lesson  #266

Synopsis:  A wonderfully powerful and useful way to go about enacting healthy, real love via learning and practicing a venerable, Eastern mindset which can be of great benefit to love relationships of all kinds is presented and discussed here, with clear how-to’s given.

Could This Be Your Very Best Gift of Love?

Here is a gift of love that can make every day better than it otherwise would have been.  It is a gift everyone can afford yet it is far too rarely given.  This is a gift the giver often benefits from giving as much, or more than the receiver.  Furthermore, it is one of those few gifts that tends to grow bigger and better every time you give it.  This is a gift which is inclined to brighten dull days, spark up the mundane and make the ordinary just a bit extraordinary.  It is good on happy days, bad days, extraordinary days but especially is it good for blah and boring days.

This gift of love does take some work, some regular and repeated practice, occasional tolerance when there is poor reception, honing and perfecting skills and some perseverance.  There are far more spectacular gifts but very few that can do as much good for making love relationships of all kinds stronger, happier and healthier.  If this gift is not the very best gift you can give, it definitely is in the top five.

What is this gift?  It is the amazing gift of what is known in the East as “Mudita” love! (Spellings vary)

Mudita Love – A Best Practice of Love

Mudita love here means to choose to be happy, joyous and positive on purpose and then give or share that happiness with those you love and care about every day you can, day after day after day.  On days of difficulty you may switch to “Metta” love which essentially refers to loving kindness and/or to “Karuna” love which basically means compassionate love, and on days of conflict to “Upeksha” love according to the Buddhist and Hindu teachings about these forms of love.  The four together are known as the Bramavihara, or four immeasurables of love (other similar titles exist as do ancient Sanskrit and Pali translations).

On most ordinary days, regular days, usual days and so-so days, Mudita love would have you choose to be genuinely happy with a countenance of upbeat joy which you repeatedly present to your loved ones and others of your choice.  This can include everyone you meet and, of course, you also can give this gift to yourself thereby making every day at least a bit better than it might have been.  Thus, this becomes a great way to love others as you love yourself.

A Mudita Love Prerequisite

Mudita love also means doing one other thing that is quite hard for a lot of people to do.  It is an extremely good thing to do but it goes against a very common, Western world, cultural training.  Mudita love requires that you disavow and reject the thinking that we need an outside something or someone to make or cause us to be happy.  That is so difficult for many people because the teaching that happiness is dependent on something or someone outside ourselves has to come along to make or cause our happiness is so prevalent.

Mudita love teaches us we can often be happy just because we choose to be happy.  In fact, we can come to habitually and authentically have a happy, loving positivity as our most regular daily countenance.  At the same time, we still can be happy about good things that come along and special people too.  Likewise, we can be unhappy or upset when appropriate and functionally useful.

How to Learn to Do Mudita Love

There are many ways to learn and do Mudita love.  Here is one.

Start by choosing to act happy whether you feel that way or not.  Remember, often motions lead emotions.  So, smile, say something in happy tones, sing, whistle or hum a happy tune, stride not just walk, and make open arm gestures while standing tall or dancing energetically.  Don't let any nay-saying in your head stop you.  Next, put your focus on things to be happy about.  You are alive, you are breathing, you probably are able to see color, hear music and smell nice scents, read interesting stuff, and so forth.  Yes, all those are quite ordinary and ordinary is to be quite happy about.  Bear in mind, there are lots of people in the world who would be glad to trade what they have for your ordinary.  As you focus on the good stuff more, it also is good to focus on the bad stuff, worrisome stuff, etc. a bit less.  Where you put your focus the most has a lot to do with your healthy happiness.  We need to focus on some of the bad stuff a certain amount so as to understand it and be motivated to do something about it.  However, many over-do that and under-do the positive focusing.

There is evidence that as you do regular and repeated, positive focusing you are causing your brain to regularly and repeatedly make more happiness producing and processing neurochemicals.  In time, that can become your brain’s habitual level of healthful production.  This, in turn, is thought probably to contribute to a sort of habitual tendency toward happiness in many people.  If you are not already, how about becoming one of them?

Next, start practicing giving or sharing your countenance of happiness with those you love and anybody else you choose.  Go do happiness at and around those you love and like.  Later you can try strangers and even enemies.  Keep doing that especially to those who act with indifference or some form of negativity while you practice not letting their lack of positive response steal your happiness from you.

Finally, start leaving out the focus on things that can help you be happy and, instead, just start relying on your choice to be happy.  Keep choosing happiness because it will help you increasingly own that ability.  Remember to keep taking your happiness to your loved ones and others, and doing happiness toward and around them.

Being Happy At !!!

Happiness done toward and around those you love can help them to feel glad, elated, more energized, positive about life, good about themselves and more love-bonded with you.  Likely, it also will help them want you around more, be more positively disposed to your ways and wants, and be more upbeat-cooperative with you.

Being happy toward someone you love or like is very healthy for you and them.  For both of you, Mudita type love likely will reduce destructive hormone production as it lowers stress and stress reaction while also improving immunity functioning and contribute to general well-being and longevity.  Mudita love definitely is a high quality gift of love to give those you love again and again, day after day, plus it is really great for love relationships of every type.  It also is often a fine way to simultaneously love others as you love yourself.

Are There Drawbacks?

There is some evidence that in adulthood many people make themselves about as happy and unhappy as they were programmed to do in childhood, irrespective of what is going on in their adult life.  If that is true, it means you might have a subconscious program for habitual unhappiness that you will have to unlearn as you learn the ways of Mudita love.  Your anti-happiness program may come on stronger as you work to change to the ways of Mudita love.

Sometimes the way others see you starts to change as you grow with happy, Mudita love.  Usually that is good but not always.  Some may envy you and not handle their envy very well.  Worse, others may be jealous of you and try to sabotage your countenance of happiness.  Keep in mind, the envious only want something like what you have but the jealous do not want you to have it at all.  You can show the envious how to get their own Mudita love and, hopefully, spot and dodge the jealous who might try to take it from you.

The Four Immeasurable Ways of Love

Mudita love has a lot of other aspects and facets to learn about, as do the other Buddhist and Hindu "Immeasurable Ways of Love".  What you have here in this mini-love-lesson is just a small starter lesson on the marvelous wealth of useful information about love found in Eastern teachings.  To learn more you might want to do some reading in Buddhist psychology or at the online site of the Brahma Vihara Foundation, perhaps followed by the Teachings of Love, a book by the world acclaimed Buddhist teacher, Thich Nhat Hahn. (Spellings very)

One More Thing

Mudita love is a great thing to tell somebody about and see what they think.  If you do that, please mention this site and its many mini-love-lessons and, hopefully thereby, spread some needed love knowledge around.  As Thich has said, "To love without knowing how to love wounds those we love." (Translations vary a bit)

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Quotable question: Can what you do not know about love be harming your love relationships?

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?

Is Depression Love Starvation?

More and more evidence is stacking up suggesting that much of what we call depression might just be, or be caused by, love malnutrition or love starvation.

Healthy real love, especially of the nurturing supportive type, can be said it to work like a vital energizing food and also like a very healing medicine.  People who receive the major behaviors of well demonstrated love seem to not experience much serious depression.

If they do experience depression they seem to get over it better and faster than others.  We know that severe love loss can result in severe depression for a great many people.  Loss of a major source of love often can lead to marked neurochemical imbalances and other biological problems, sometimes even resulting in death.

Abandoned infants who are physically well taken care of by others but do not receive the actions that demonstrate love suffer from failure to thrive, failure to grow and infantile depression illnesses.  We also know that several mammal species that experiencing loss of a parent, mate or offspring tend to exhibit the same biological and behavioral symptoms as humans do.  This includes observable symptoms of depression like pronounced lassitude, unresponsiveness to pleasure stimuli, sleep disturbance, eating disturbance, etc.

Being ‘loved on’ and veterinarian antidepressants are the preferred treatments for these animals.  In most cases similar treatment works well for humans also. Consequently with this evidence, and many more documented examples, we might conclude that a deficiency of healthy, real, nurturing love may result in one or more types of severe depression.  Receiving the behaviors demonstrating love from people who have the attitudes and feeling states of love seems to offer the cure in many cases of depression.

In the helping professions there is considerable evidence showing the similarity of, or connection between, love loss and depression.  A number of addiction counselors point to the most common cause of relapse in alcoholism and substance addiction as probably being one type of love problem or another.

All long, ongoing love life problems involve depression according to some relational therapists.  It seems that especially mate love, family love, deep friendship and comrade love, plus healthy self-love and spiritual love when lost, absent, or markedly reduced almost inevitably result in the same symptoms as diagnosed depression, according to certain counselors and therapists from various fields. In rehabilitative medicine good, supportive family love is known to be extremely helpful in helping amputees overcome the despondency that usually accompanies limb loss.  Love loss also can be seen as a major precursor to suicidal depression, a frequent trigger to fatal overdoses, and a strong contributing factor to fatal and near fatal accidents.  Depression along with love loss is thought to be a frequent factor in all these human tragedies.

What’s the Cure?

New or regained love often is seen to quickly alleviate depression in many people.  New and regained love are known to enliven and energize people making them more disease resistant, neurochemically more healthy, and prone to live healthier lifestyles.  Doing a good job of receiving nurturing and supportive love from any-and-all sources offering healthy real love can be a primary deterrent to depression.  This is especially true when there has been a loss, or great reduction of love, for a person who has only one major love source.  So, if you loose someone who loves you turn more to others who love you, and work at soaking up their love-filled care and concern.

If you don’t have anyone else go to a love-centered counselor who can help you get started on finding and building a loving network.  And don’t let anything get in the way of that.  Building or connecting with a network of healthfully loving people probably provides some of the best insurance against the depression that comes with love loss.  Those who are strongly participating members of a highly healthfully loving couple relationship, family situation or friendship group fair far better when it comes to handling depression than do those not having such love filled relationships.

Those who learn and practice healthy self-love behaviors are thought to be the people who are most quick to recover from depression linked to love loss.  Those who practice healthy self-love affirmations and behaviors may be the most depression resistant.   People who work together to improve their love behaviors toward each other and toward  themselves, and those who work to develop more spiritual love actions seem to recover from depression at faster rates and more thoroughly.

Cure your love life issues and you just might cure your depression.  That is the hopeful possibility presented here.  But wait, what is meant by ‘love life’?   That’s crucial to understand!  Lots of people think sex when they hear the term ‘love life’, or just hear the word love.  Ask a person how their love life is and you may get a blush, a leer, or an offended look because they think you’re asking about their sex life.  It seems a pity to me that sexuality has usurped, and perhaps somewhat blinded us to the much larger and more important meanings of a term like ‘love life’.

Here your love life has to do how well, how much and how often you give and receive the behaviors, communicate the thoughts, and experience the wide array of physical and emotional feelings which give evidence that healthy real love is occurring.  From that understanding there flows a number of questions you might want to ask yourself.   “How well do I actually do healthy real love?”  “How often do I show my love?”  “How good am I at receiving the demonstrations of love from others?”  “How well do I do at communicating my thoughts of love?  Do I have them?   How frequently?”  “Am I doing healthy self-love sufficiently?”  “Am I good at enjoying the feelings that love can bring?”  There is a lot to this meaning of ‘love life’.

If you are wondering how do we define healthy real love remember a working definition  is given, explained and discussed in this blog’s first entries, but in brief here is our more detailed working definition:
Healthy real love is a powerful, vital, natural process of highly valuing, desiring for, often acting for, and taking pleasure in the well-being of the loved.  Love is further defined by its five major functions: (1) to personally and profoundly connect us, (2) to provide competent balanced safeguarding, (3) to improve us in all healthful ways, (4) to heal us and maximize our recovery from being sick or injured, and (5) to reward our behaviors from and with love via the many joys of love.
Note that in this definition love is not an emotion, nor is it sex, nor is it everything else listed in the blog entry about what love is not.

A very important consideration is that there are false forms of love and they, unfortunately, may act to increase depression, not cure it.

Your love life may contain many types of love, or it may not.  Life partner love, sibling love, parent to child love, child to parent love, higher power love, and a host of others are all to be considered as important in your development of a healthy enriched love life.  Any, or all of those types of love can be important for countering depression and it’s effects.  That means there are a lot of wonderful, healthful, possible ‘antidepressant’ relationships you can’t get from a pharmacy but you can get from real life.  Don’t leave out healthy self-love.  Without love-filled relationships susceptibility to some form of depression appears to be much more likely and common.

It is important to know that some forms of depression may have nothing to do with love-malnutrition or love-starvation.  Some depressive conditions are caused by imbalances in brain chemistry or other neurological problems.  Remember your mind (including your psychological heart and gut) is in your brain.  Whatever affects your brain can very strongly affect your mind, heart (love), and gut (emotions).  Therefore, bad brain chemistry can get you depressed all by itself.

Whenever there is no evidence of  biologically or physically caused depression suspect a love problem.  Ask yourself “How goes your love life?”, which may include healthy self-love, romantic love, life partner love, family love, spiritual love, love of life, love of your life purpose, the healthy mix of love and sex, love of people, etc..  If there are areas that seem empty, confusing, or areas that emotionally hurt when you focus on them then maybe you have a love deficiency that might lead to depression.  You also could have the ‘emotional poisoning’ of a false love to deal with.  Remember, healthy real love works like a vital energizing food and a very curative medicine.  If the love in your life isn’t helping to fight your depression, or seems to be making it worse, it may be a type of false love.  If that seems to be the case a good therapist probably can help.

Now there is another great big important question to ask yourself if you are trying to understand your own depression or trying to understand a loved one’s depression.  The question is “How is your depression trying to help you?”  That’s right – help you!

Consider the proposition that all your parts, systems and the machinations by which our species has been adapting and hopefully improving over millions of years, are all trying to help you.  Therefore, depression, anxiety, fear and all other ‘bad’ feelings are trying to do you a ‘good’ service, just like physical hurt tries to help you.  For example, if the physical pain in your side gets you to the surgeon who removes your abscessed appendix before it kills you, then the hurt saved your life.  All ‘bad’ feelings are ‘good’ in that they are all trying to provide you some kind of assistance.  You might even say they are trying to love you.  Yes,  these emotional warning systems can overdo it, under do it, and mis-do it – like all human systems, but their basic purpose is to aid you.

It’s the hurt you feel when touching a hot stove that gets you to yank your hand away before there is any real damage.  Fear and anxiety get you to be more cautious possibly when you need to, anger gives you more power when you don’t have enough – although it is clumsy power, boredom tells you “that’s enough” of something and it’s time to do something else, and so forth.  They all are there to assist you and even though these emotions are not fun to feel,  it’s a much better idea to work with them than to work against them.

Now let’s take a look at depression, the non-chemically induced kind.  When you have a feeling of being depressed notice what you usually do.  Usually you don’t do much of anything.  You sit around or lay around mostly inactively.  Notice what you think about.  Usually you think about what’s wrong and all ‘downer stuff’ of your life.  That’s what depression wants you to do, to not do much so you’re not distracted from thinking about what’s wrong.  Depression does you the service of getting you to be still long enough that you can focus on the unpleasant things you want to dodge thinking about in your life. Depression gets you to think about those very things.  Depression is the ‘take inventory’ feeling.  Cooperate with your depression and take your personal inventory, and then make a plan to do something about what you’re depressed about.  That’s the way it’s supposed to work.

If when depressed you take a lot of pills, get drunk or anything else that dodges taking inventory  your depression will be your good friend and probably get worse until you take the inventory, make a plan and start carrying it out.  At least that’s how I’ve seen it work with a lot of people in my practice.  Yes, your depression could overdo it to the point you can’t think straight and, therefore, can’t take a good inventory.  A good therapist can help you with that.  If it were not for depression there would be a lot of things people might never face until it was too late.  Depression has helped millions of people get out of bad marriages, dead-end jobs, lousy families, repressive political regimes and unfulfilling lifestyles.

If it weren’t for depression, and the service it provides, those people might have stayed until their situations totally destroyed them.  The idea is ‘work with your depression’.  Find out what it’s trying to tell you, and make the improvements in your life which you probably have been avoiding out of fear.  At least that is often the case when dealing with purely psychological or “normal” depression. 

Perhaps frequently the improvements you will need to make have something to do with not getting enough of the right kind, or the right amount of healthy real love.  Possibly you’re staying in a loveless relationship out of duty.  Maybe you’re stuck in a meaningless career due to a lack of gumption that a healthy dose of self-love might give you.  You might think you’re trapped in a draining lifestyle because you love your kids, mate, etc..  You may need to fix the source, type or amount of love your getting, add new sources of love, or disentangle yourself from a love life situation more harmful than helpful.

Surprisingly some people discover that depression begins to alleviate the minute they start taking a realistic inventory, even though it hurts to think about the situation they are in.  Others find it doesn’t get better until they are enacting the plan that came from the inventory.  Sometimes when people start working their plan anxiety or fear arises because now they are facing their real issues.  Then they may back off from enacting their plan.  Often psychological or normal depression (which can be experienced as quite intense) gets worse when a person backs away from carrying out their plan for improvement.  That seems like a pretty clear guidance message to keep working the plan.  It also is the healthfully self loving thing to do.  Sometimes we go through life situations where our choice seems to be either to get anxious or to get depressed, take your pick.

With enough healthy self-love usually we pick the ‘anxiety route’ and go do what were afraid to do, but perhaps more cautiously.  That choice changes things for better or for worse, but it least it’s different and usually not depressing.  Often getting out of depression means forcing yourself to cross a sort of emotional desert before you can find new emotionally fertile land to live in.  With enough healthy self-love you will be important enough to yourself to persevere and make it across the ‘depression desert’. Healthfully loving friends and family can provide emotional oasis experiences along the way.

If you or anyone you care about struggles with strong or repeating depressive episodes there are three things to do.  First, check with a physician, possibly a psychiatrist to examine whether or not there may be a physical cause or contributor to your depression.  Second, and sort of simultaneously with doing the first thing, go looking for a good love oriented and hopefully love knowledgeable therapist.  Third, and more or less simultaneously with the other two, take a good, broad and deep look at the many parts of your ‘love life’ searching to see how you are going to improve it.

The good news is that almost everyone who learns to do this really well makes the needed changes and gets a largely new, improved and healthier life and love-life. Frequently, but not always, this alleviates the depression.  Aim to live undepressed and love enriched and you probably will do just that if you are willing to work at it.  I can say this with confidence because I have seen and helped literally hundreds of people do exactly this.

In closing I can say, not all, but much of depression does indeed seem to be, or stem from  love starvation – a lack of healthy real love of one type or another.  So often when a person experiences the powerful, vital, natural process of being highly valued, and when that person experiences someone desiring for, acting for and taking pleasure in their well-being they experience love and get better.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J Richard Cookerly

Gender Diversity & Romantic - Heart-mate Love

Mini-Love-Lesson  #195

Synopsis: This mini-love-lesson is designed it to help people get clear on the confounding romantic and heart-mate love, lifestyles & sexual issues that stress and distress people who have gender diversity issues and those who seek to understand and assist them.

Love and Gender

We all are built to give and get love.  Also we all are built having gender and with that comes our sexuality.  Our gender factors influence our romantic and heart-mate love thinking, love feelings and love behavior.  Science increasingly shows much of our gender and love processes are natural phenomena largely occurring in our brains but also affecting our bodies in a great variety of ways.  Love, gender and sexuality all turn out to be a lot more diverse and varied than we used to think.  We should not be surprised about that because nature can be said to love variation and diversity.  That probably is because of its great survival value for our species.  By the way, science shows all this to be true not only for humans but for a lot of different kinds of higher order species.

In regard to gender, there is a lot more going on than being just strictly male or strictly female.  Some people are born physically both.  Some are understood to be born both genders in their brains but not in their bodies.  Others have the brain of one gender and the body of another.  There seem to be others who go back and forth, and still others who spend part of their life as one gender but then natural forces within them emerge bringing about a change to another gender.  After that, natures variations start to get complicated and hard to describe.

Now, let’s add in sexuality.  Did you know that some people are sexually attracted to both men and women but may only want to do heart type or spousal love with one of those.  Then there are those who romantically love and want to live married to both.  Are you aware that occasionally a head injury can result in a change of sexual preference.  On and on variety goes.

The truth is if you can think of a love, lifestyle or sexual relationship variation, it is a good bet that somewhere on our planet there are people doing it.  Not only that, but all that diversity may be backed by naturally occurring, normal, healthy variations in the brain motivating the variant sexual/love/lifestyle (different than usual) behavior.

Gender Is Not Binary but Your Society/Culture May Be

You do not really choose your gender.  Via nature, your gender chooses you.  For some people that can seem like a quite befuddling choice.  For others it is a very threatening and highly stressful, confused choice.  Usually that is because they live in a culture or society that pigeon holes all people into strictly either male or female.  For the bisexual, homosexual, transsexual, and anything-else-sexual, this can be a really big, life warping and even life-threatening problem.  In more loving societies and in those becoming so, diversity in love, lifestyle or gender variation, life can be easier, safer, healthier and more naturally actualized.

Becoming Aware of the Questions Gender Diversity Can Bring

Who or what are you attracted to and who is attracted to you?  Is it different from who you want to love and be loved by?  Is that different from, or in opposition to what you have been taught?  The questions can become ever more difficult.  For instance: If you are a boy who lusts for girls but wants to become a girl, does that make the inner you a lesbian?  If it does, is that a moral issue or a religious issue or maybe even a non-issue?  If your questions are confused how can you ever discover what is true or real for you and about you?  How can you become okay in a culture that says it is not okay to be you?  How can you give and get  love healthfully in society that will punish you for deviation from its norms of how people should and should not love?

These are but some of the stressor questions complicating the romantic, heart-mate and spousal love lives of those having a gender diversity.  We suggest this means the gender diverse really can use lots of good, healthy, friendship love, family love and help with their own healthful self-love development.

Gender Conflicted Romantic and Heart-mate Love

For those who are unresolved about their gender identity, there often is painful and confusing difficulty concerning what to do and what not to do romantically.  That blends into what to do and not do socially, sexually and maritally.  Romance and spouse type love for some seems like a lonely impossibility and hopeless or at best problem-filled future.  Some give up trying, others decide to settle for whatever and whoever comes along, while still others pretend or work desperately to become a normal heterosexual.  That can lead to becoming trapped by one version or another of a false love syndrome, a fake marriage or having a conflicted life of infidelity subject to it’s ruinous ravages stemming from deception and betrayal.

Daring to reveal one’s true, sexual proclivities to a romantic interest, can present an agonizing life labyrinth to attempt navigating through.  Just figuring out who you are attracted to and who can be attracted to you is hard enough for anyone having any gender confusion.  Nevertheless, when romantic or heart-mate love connections do occur and are sufficiently reciprocated, real and marvelous love can occur and grow.

Another problem is what to do with one’s sexuality.  Gender variant people often have gender variant sexual desires.  This clearly and easily is seen in the intensely bisexual person who naturally wants to have sex with both males and females and even perhaps with others who are less easily gender identified.  That, by the way, might qualify them for being a bit omni-sexual.

Sexual experimenting, toleration for variance, alternate lifestyles like group marriages, communal living & other unique relationship arrangements can come into play in these situations.  Running afoul of cultural norms based in heterosexuality is common in these situations and, of course, adds to the stressors involved.

Around the world and throughout history, one can find successful examples and models of how these gender variations have been successfully handled and where healthy, real love has prevailed.  Sadly, there also are lots of examples where it has not.  Openness to heart-mate love of many variations is growing, especially in urban centers around the world.  Push back regressive reactions against these relational variations also are growing fueled by prejudice, judgmentalism, condemnation and irrational fear.  The worldwide trend, however, seems to be a bit more pro-love than anti-love for those of varying gender orientations.

A Synthesized Solution

Who do you feel attracted to?  Notice that this question is not what gender do you feel attracted to.  That too is an okay question but I suggest not the primary question.  If sometimes you are attracted to a kind, generous, funny, sexy, particular person who happens to be a man, and other times you are attracted to the same traits in a female, it’s the traits that may count more than the gender.  In this kind of case, it may be your job to carefully explore both attractions.  But do not confuse attraction with love.  We get attracted for all sorts of different reasons that are not love.

Who do you get interested in?  What do they do that interests you?  How are they intriguing you?  There too, your job is to explore and experiment into that interest.  Something inside you has said, notice that person.  It probably has not said just, notice that gender.  Go explore and adventure carefully with that person no matter what their gender or gender variation is.  Let the relationship grow into whatever it grows into.  It may be a friendship love, a romantic love or even something without a name.

Who stirs you up and gets you puzzled as to what you are feeling?  Go explore and adventure around, with & toward them – carefully.  See who you become with them and what they have to offer.  That is your job assignment coming from deep, inner forces that point you toward particular people you might just end up loving and being loved by.

The love you grow with a person may turn out to be a whole lot more important than their gender or gender variation.  However, the gender factor is indeed an important one.  It may have a lot to do with how your life and future lifestyle goes.

Now, if it totally does not feel right for you to romantically get involved with someone of a particular gender or gender variation, then probably – do not do it.  Do, however, question whether those are really your own, deep, inner, real feelings or are they what you have been taught to think you should feel.

Whoever you love is whoever you love, irrespective of their psychobiological gender.  Whether or not you can do heart-mate or spousal love with them is a question to face later after your relationship has had time to grow and perhaps become one of healthy, real heart-mate love or something else.
One word of caution.  Usually it is wiser to be the chooser than the chosen.  Of course, when it gets to be truly mutual that is even better.

Help spread love knowledge – tell someone about this site and its many mini-love-lessons, okay?

As always Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question: Can you have some kind of love for any and every kind of gendered person you really get to know,

Friendship Love And Its Extraordinary Importance

Synopsis: The many marvels of friendship love, an example of widely varying emphases on friendship love and its vast importance, friendship love in good and bad times, and evaluating what friendship love may do for your life are given here.

Friendship love may have saved more lives than any other kind of love!  Friendship love may help people through hard times as much as any other type of love!  Friendship love is often the longest lasting type of love in many people’s lives.  For lots of people friendship love has been the most reliable kind of love in their lives.

Friendship love can be the type of love that has the least complications, hassles and problems.  In the lives of no small number of people it is friendship love that has been the deepest and most profound type of love they have experienced.  So, Dear Reader, I urge you to consider the role of friendship love in your life and its potential in your future.

“Shocked!  That’s what I am, totally and completely shocked!  Trevor and I were going to be married next month and now it’s over, all because I told him he would have to say goodbye to his friends who are single after we are married.  He told me he loved me dearly but to him his deep love with his friends had done him more good than any other kind of love, and he was not about to give up any true friend for the uncertainty of a marriage.  He told me that where he came from friendships were for life while marriages may or may not last, and he thought that anyone who would ask him to give up his true friends couldn’t really love him, and with that he broke off our engagement”.

Teresa who was reporting this had grown up in an American social sphere in which marriage and romantic love were seen as far more important than friendship love.  Trevor on the other hand has been raised in a sphere of European society that emphasized the great importance of life-long, abiding, solid, friend relationships based in real, unending love.  For Trevor and people raised in that social sphere the end of a profound friendship was the cause for far deeper grief than the end of a marriage or even a love-filled romance.  Also in Trevor’s world to use the word “friend” had profound significance while in Teresa’s it was used often in a light and not all that meaningful way.

Mild and very recent acquaintances were sometimes referred to as friends in Teresa’s world but that would never happen in Trevor’s.  Thus, you can see that in different parts of the world and in different social spheres friendship love is given very different levels of importance.  With some “friend” implies the existence of a true, deep, love relationship of great value.  With others “friend” refers to a much more shallow and inconsequential, often temporary relationship in which there is nothing even approaching true, deep love.

Here a deep and true friend is someone with whom you have developed a healthy, real love.  A true friend basically can be a person as close and important to you as a dearly beloved sister, or brother, or other close family member.  Deep and abiding, love-filled, true friendships can make people “family” in the best meaning of that word.  In fact friendship love is as important and sometimes even more important than family love in the lives of many.  It is often friendship love that prevails when all other loves have been found wanting.  There are many who say it was the love from a friend that got them through and able to survive a great tragedy, a horrible defeat, or monstrous loss in their lives.

Often it is a true and deeply loving friend who will tell you the uncomfortable to hear truth about yourself when no one else will.  It is friendship love that gets that friend to stand by you as you blunder and struggle with your life, and your flaws and shortcomings.  It is friendship love that motivates a friend not to give up on you even when you are being absurdly wrong, stupid and self-defeating.  Friendship love for many people is the only love that sustains and protects them through disasters and the bleak times of desolation.

In good times it is friendship love that can provide free flowing companionship, egalitarian compatibility, shared fun, delightful comradeship and someone to share victory celebrations with.  In those times which are ordinary and mundane friendship love can bring easy going relaxation, anti-lonely connection and sweet, pleasant acceptance.

How are you doing at true, deep, abiding, friendship love?  Have you given true friendship and friendship love enough thought?  Enough effort?  Enough importance?  Do you have some ideas of what you might do if you were going to go after more and greater friendship love in your life?  Are you aware that friendship of the deep and love-filled type may greatly enrich your life, open your life to new horizons, cause your life to be lived at a higher plain, and perhaps even save your life?

There’s lots more to consider when thinking about real, friendship love.  I like to ask people to look at the possible future importance of real, friendship love in their lives before getting into a lot of the “how-to’s” of growing friendship love.  If you’re going to really succeed at love broadly friendship love probably has to be one of the things you give a real good look at.

One more thing about this important kind of love.  It is of great importance for you To Be a truly loving friend.  Some people want more and better loving friends but don’t give much attention to being one.  To help you think about this you might want to check out  “The Definitions of Love” in the column on the left of this page, and in particular “The Behavioral Definition of Love” entry.

As always, Grow and Go in Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question
Can you think of a past acquaintance, or friend, or lover you would like to reconnect with and see if you might be able to grow toward a true, friendship-type, love relationship with that person?  If so, what might you do about that?

Previous Comments:
  1. Vicky Kadam
    October 2nd, 2017 at 07:05 | #1

  2. Miranda Bond
    November 28th, 2017 at 23:27 | #2

    I experienced such deep sorrow after a girlfriend cut me off after a 40 year friendship. It took me about 5 years to recover from the hurt. We had been friends since I was 10 and in our mid life she accused me of having an affair with her husband. I tried so hard to make her see she was being paranoid but to no avail. I can honestly say the hurt that the breakdown of this friendship caused me was indescribable . Worse than a broken heart from a romantic split. Female friendships are the glue that keep women sane through life’s ups and downs.

Becoming Well Loved and More Loved – Three Main Ways

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

The Importance of Getting Yourself Well Loved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who Is Going to be In Charge of Your Love?

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

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

One More Little Thing

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

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

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

Compersion: A Newly Identified Emotion of Love?

Mini-Love-Lesson #214

Synopsis: This mini-love-lesson introduces and discusses a newly identified emotion opposite to jealousy; it tells of couples’ experiences with it; its surprises, some of its problems, its proclaimed benefits and the growing attention being paid to it.

Learning About Love’s Many Emotions

We are starting to comprehend that love is not an emotion but does involve and manifest, not just one but many different emotions.  There are the different emotions of feeling loved, loving and lovable.  There is passion, compassion, serenity, tenderness, ebullience, protectiveness, empathy, union, kindness – and many, many others.  Increasingly, love is understood to be a powerful, natural, vital, life process more akin to great life processes like metabolism, circulation, breathing, etc. than to just feeling an emotion, even a strong emotion (see “Definition of Love Series”; “Many Good Feelings Brought on by Love”; “An Alphabet of Loves Good Feelings”).

With these understandings, we also are beginning to identify the many emotions of love and discover how they influence our health, well-being and relational life.  In the 1960s, an emotion of love was newly identified and named at the highly influential Kerista commune.  This emotion only has started to come into a broader awareness and usage, and only in some relationally-focused communities.
This newly identified emotion has always been here.  However, it seems to be rare, especially in cultures producing a lot of personal insecurity.  It is seen as an emotion which is opposite to the feeling of jealousy.  It is described as a wonderful blessing to the lives of the individuals and couples who experience it.  The name the Kerista community gave it is “compersion”.  It is pronounced sort of like the “com” in compassion, plus “Persian” as in a person from Persia.

A Couple Feeling Compersion

I first professionally encountered the emotion of compersion many years ago though I did not know its name then.  While counseling a couple, they told of having unexpected, strange but extremely wonderful, love-filled feelings for one another while sexually adventuring experimentally with another couple.  They reported no jealousy, only joy at observing their own spouse having new, different and very pleasurable sex with the other couple.  They both struggled to described the feeling they mutually experienced.  One said it was like being allowed into an incredibly rare and very beautiful, very personal, intimate sharing experience with their spouse.  The other related being awestruck by seeing how their beloved was with first one and then both of the other couple.
They both further related that they felt amazingly closer and more deeply connected to one another as a couple after all four were satiated and resting.  They also were quite relieved that there was no jealousy or other bad feeling involved, as they had worried might happen.  Through their story, I was introduced to this emotion, later recognized as compersion.

This couple previously had successfully completed some couples counseling.  This time they had returned wondering if something was wrong with them for having these new, strange but wonderful and perhaps addictive pleasures.  They had entered the adventure hoping for some “hot, naughty, go wild” excitement vowing it would be just a one time only, long held, and shared fantasy-fulfilling event.

Now, they cautiously wanted to figure out if repeating the adventure with the same or other couples could be a good thing because it had been such a big, totally unexpected, good thing in their lives so far.  They also had promised each other to be reassuring and comforting of each other if either one felt insecure, threatened, jealous or anything else negative, which so far they did not.  So, they asked the question “are we crazy and is something wrong with us for feeling the way we do, or what?”.
That session ended with them agreeing to do some research on what other couples had experienced in similar situations and find out if there was reliable information about couples doing this sort of thing.  They came to the next session excitedly telling about discovering what the Buddhists call “MUDITA”, a feeling of joy in another’s joy, coming from joy being shared and experienced with someone else.  This couple also had discovered what the polyamorists were saying about the happiness of couples sexually, romantically and even maritally being involved in other love relationships.

They also had uncovered a range of problems that sometimes go wrong in such arrangements.  Then there was the potential of dangerous, sexually transmitted diseases which this couple was beginning to take more seriously.  Those discoveries led this couple to the conclusion that, for now, they had done enough adventuring and when STD’s were more medically manageable they might revisit the issue.  Until then, they would enjoy sharing their memories and creating erotic fantasies together.
Since then, I have counseled couples, throuples (see post “Throuple Love, a Worldwide Growing Way of the Future?”), polyamores and other alternate lifestyle relators who expressed having similar experiences and feelings.  Thanks mostly to the polyamore community, the word/feeling compersion and its definition, understanding, etc. is spreading.

It now is coming into wider usage to explain these feelings of joy when observing an intimate other’s sexual, romantic, even marital, joyful experience.
I think learning about loving in all its varied ways, even when unusual or different from what one is used to, can expand one’s thinking and perception of what love encompasses; this certainly has been true for me personally and professionally.

What do we need to know about the Emotion of Compersion?
This word is understood a bit differently in several different communities.  There are those who see it as unhealthy and perverse.  In others, it is argued that compersion is a proof of real, strong and healthy love.  That is because compersion is thought to reveal a person whose love surpasses jealousy, envy, insecurity, possessiveness and the cultural training to feel those things in romantic, love relationships.  Arguably, it also shows a person able to be happy for the happiness of the person they love, being happy without fear concerning the source of a heart-mates happiness.

Among poly, throuples, swingers, trans, bi and certain religious groups, there is a debated point that goes something like this:

If you and your partner, who you deeply love, can feel joy at seeing each other take joy in having sex with others, doesn’t that give evidence of you and your partner possessing a very strong and secure love bond?  Doesn’t it also offer evidence of your healthy self-love being quite strong?

If you and your heart partner both can observe and participate in sex with another, feel joy without jealousy or feel threatened, being insecure, angry or fearful, is that not proof of having a powerful, unconditional love for one another?  Isn’t it also evidence that you and your love mate have freed yourselves from society’s training and programming effects which often result in destructive jealousy, possessiveness, suspiciousness, mistrust, distrust and fear-based ways of seeing each other?

In its broadest usage, compersion is related to feeling love-related-joy whenever you see someone you love have happiness in their experiences with another person, irrespective of whether or not those experiences are sexual, romantic or of marital type love.

Examples can help.  Here are two:

After a counseling session, I saw an adult daughter happily introduce her mother to her father’s girlfriend.  Then all three of them went to pick up the father and go to dinner together.  It had been arranged that the girlfriend was going to spend the night with the father and mother, and that the daughter would fix breakfast for all of them the next morning.  In a follow-up session, all related that they were quite happy seeing each other be happy with each other and with the whole experience.
A husband and wife both told of how happy they were to rush home and tell each other about the dates they had just gone on with romantic others.  They took joy in each other’s date experience, often getting sexual with each other in the process, but not always.  Sometimes they were just happy for the other one’s happiness.

Compersion is related to another newly identified, similar emotion called “frubble”.  Feeling frubble means feeling joy when those you love are actively expressing their love to one another.  It may or may not be about sex, romantic love or marital type love in some communities, but in others it definitely has to do with sex or some manifestation of adult to adult love.

In certain religious circles, there are those who can relate compersion to the Buddhist emotion of mudita and/or to the ancient Greek koinonia which, as an emotion, has to do with the feeling of a joyous love unity with the Deity and simultaneously with one’s own gathered and similar feeling community of faith.

More specifically and more usually, compersion has to do with a person feeling not jealous, but love-filled joy when experiencing someone they intimately love have a happy, sexual and/or love experience with a third-party.  It definitely is an “I’m happy when I see you happy because I love you” kind of emotional experience.

Some think compersion may happen more easily in those language groups who do not have a possessive case way of talking or perhaps even thinking.  It also may be easier for those growing up in cultures with multiple person marriage systems and non-monogamous emphasizing societies.

Do You Want to Feel Compersion?

Compersion can be strongly recommended over feeling the destructive anguish of jealousy or lifeless indifference.  Of course, if feeling simple uncomplicated trust can be achieved via monogamous couple love, that also can be quite desirable.  Learning to feel compersion might save you from a painful breakup, or divorce, or a lot of horrible fights, or times of fear-filled loneliness, and depression.  Compersion also might be the only way leading to success in certain love relationships.
Compersion for many, means first battling jealousy, possessiveness, insecurity and its related low self love, suspiciousness, defensive anger, compulsion to control, tendencies to start to fight or take flight, avoid risk and conform, and a host of other problematic things.  A great deal of tolerational love (see “A Behavioral (Operational) Definition of Love”) also may be necessary.

It seems a fair number of those who come to feel compersion fairly easily, often had to fight their way there by way of lots of internal struggles.  They went back and forth between compersion and jealousy, or felt both simultaneously, as they worked to keep a primary love relationship alive and growing and with those struggles they grew a deeper, more intimate love.  Others continue, and with enough healthy, real love and loving support, may likely win their struggle.  Frequently self sabotage from a jealous and insecure, internal self is the biggest problem.  Those who succeeded are reportedly very happy about it.  Others have tried and given up but hopefully they grew and learned a lot in the process.

Paul, of the New Testament, tells us love is not jealous.  He did not tell us that love, instead of jealousy, could manifest the emotion of compersion maybe because no one knew about it or had a word for it.  However, now you do know about it and even might want to do something with that love knowledge, or not.

One More Little Thing

Wouldn’t you find it interesting and enjoyable to spread some love knowledge by talking over compersion with someone, and if you do, please mention this site and its many totally free love lessons.  Thanks.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question:  What do you think of the idea that if you have enough healthy self-love you won’t be jealous?