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Showing posts with label kinds. Show all posts

Serene Love - A Gentle Power Flowing

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

A Love You Know and Can Know Better

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

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

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

What Is Serene Love?

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

How Serene Love Comes to Us

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

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

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

Mild, Moderate and Intense Serene Love

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

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

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

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

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

Your Brain and Serene Love

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

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

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

The Many Wonderful Benefits of Serene Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cultivating Serene Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

One More Thing

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

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

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

Adamant Love - And How It Wins for Us All

Mini-Love-Lesson #205

Synopsis: The reader is introduced to Adamant Love and its marvelous force for winning against all manner of difficulties.  Adamant Love, it’s purpose, role in achieving victories, force for defense, role in repair and recovery, and empowerment of achievement along with a few drawbacks and its amazing greatness are discussed.

The Love You May Not Know About Yet?

You most likely have heard of Passionate Love and Compassionate Love but do you know about Adamant Love?  It is the form of love that provides the amazing power to save, protect and defend your loved ones and your love relationships against all that threatens to harm them.  Not only that, it is Adamant Love that empowers us to strive long and hard to achieve love’s great accomplishments for the well-being of the loved.  I capitalize Adamant Love to emphasize its importance throughout this mini-love-lesson.

It is Adamant Love that can inspire heroic efforts and prevail against all odds, surmounting even the greatest of difficulties.  Whether it is rushing into the burning building to save loved ones, or working tirelessly for decades to find a cure for a loved one’s illness, or just faithfully standing guard to ensure the safety of the loved, it is Adamant Love that has been known to save the day again and again down throughout history.  It also is Adamant Love that causes those who love to bravely sacrifice and endure much on behalf of those they love.

The Purpose of Adamant Love

The purpose of adamant love is to concentrate, increase and channel love’s power toward meeting the challenges involved in the fulfillment of one, or more, of love’s major functions.  Those functions are 1) to connect us, 2) to nurture us, 3) to protect us, 4) to heal us and 5) to give us the many reinforcing rewards which come with both feeling and doing love (see “A Functional Definition of Love”).

The Many Victories of Adamant Love

Think of the immigrant parents who cross the desert, the sea or the jungle to get their children away from danger and to the chance of a far better life.  How about the friend who endures the repeated pain of giving bone marrow transplants so that his best buddy may live?  Contemplate the countless lovers who have had to break off their relationships with their disapproving and condemning families in order to be together.  Then think of the countless poor parents who struggled for years to put all their offspring through college.  The examples of Adamant Love and its many victories number in the millions.  And, of course, there are the tragic and ever so painful defeats.  But there again, it was adamant self love, along with other love, that motivated rising from the ashes to try again, and yet again, and not let defeat win out.

Adamant Love empowers another type of victory.  Adamant love flows strongly and consistently in those whose love is altruistic, humanitarian, beneficent and focused on worthy causes involving justice, democracy, equal rights, defending those too disadvantaged to defend themselves and the like.  Adamant Love also can be found to be powerfully flowing forward in those who work prodigiously in the advancement of the arts, science, nature, constructive education, positive religion and those advancements and achievements which help us develop to higher levels of healthful living.

Adamant Love in the Service of Defense

It must have been Adamant Love that gave rise to the saying “never get between a mama bear and her cub”.  That represents a truism, that many loving parents of higher-order species will adamantly do just about anything it takes to protect their young.  That also is true regarding defense of  mates, and families and larger groups of a good many species, including humans.  For love of country, or clan, or tribe, or family, or spouse, or offspring or even pets, Adamant Love fuels and pushes all sorts of different, complicated and sometimes very long-lasting guarding, protecting and defending behaviors.  Adamant Love brings bravery, steadfastness, willingness to endure pain and risk harm and sometimes even life itself in defense of the loved.

Adamant Love in the Service of Repair and Recovery

A lot of repair and recovery from illness, injury, stress, strain, drain and addictions takes a long time.  Therefore, those who love someone who is working to repair and recover must oftentimes stay in their assisting roles for long periods of time.  Sometimes they must endure hard challenges, setbacks, discouraging prognoses, slow improvement and all sorts of other problematic factors.  If it were not for the flow of Adamant Love empowering their ability to doggedly and determinedly keep at it, a lot of loved ones would not repair or recover as fast, as well or even at all.  Then there is the agonizing questions of knowing when to quit and how to recover from the draining effects of loss and failed efforts.  That is when healthy self-love applied adamantly can be so useful in the recovery of loving helpers.

Adamant Love in the Service of Achievement

A family goes in together to start a new business.  Another couple agrees that one of them will work while the other goes to school for a professional degree and then they will trade places.  An individual in healthy self-love gets determined to escape his or her dire circumstances and make a better life.  Another individual becomes dedicated to helping others via becoming a health professional.  As they work toward achieving their sundry goals, roadblocks, reversals, unexpected difficulties other serious problems may arise.  With the difficulties come questions.  Who will survive and achieve their goals and who will be defeated?  Where will the power to surmount the difficulties come from?  Will those in love relationships last intact or will those relationships become seriously damaged or destroyed by defeat?

Couples who share strong, Adamant Love, families with mutually committed and supportive Adamant Love, friends functioning as comrades with mutual, Adamant Love and individuals with Adamant, healthy Self-love are the ones most likely to persevere and achieve their goals.  Without sufficient Adamant Love they all are more likely to give up sooner, be less creative in problem-solving and have and provide less of the energy required to achieve success.

I saw this time and again when treating recovering addicts, their mates and their family relationships in a tough love, addictions recovery program.  It required tremendous, Adamant tough Love for spouses and family to stop trying to help in ways that ended up harming their addicted loved ones.  They did this harmful helping out of compassion for their intensely suffering loved ones by trying to rescue them in ways that almost always backfired.  It was Adamant Love that enabled them to stick with the program of saying “No, I won’t help you in ways that harm you anymore”.  Later it was Adamant Love that helped the addicts stick to working their own programs of achieving and maintaining recovery.

I also have seen the Adamant Love of several of my therapist mentors and colleagues achieve great and amazing healing successes.  I will mention just one.  This therapist worked for six years, frequently on his own time, to help a mute child who had been horribly, parentally abused by repeated cutting, hot iron branding and continual starvation until being rescued by child protective services.  The child was considered hopelessly psychotic.  This very loving therapist adamantly would not give up on her.  In her fifth year of treatment, with a raspy voice, she whispered her first words which were “I love you too ”.  Progress was rapid after that and today, years later, she is, amaze amaze, a nurse at a children’s hospital.  Such are the miraculous victories of steadfast, Adamant Love.

It is indeed Adamant Love that can provide the toughness necessary to meet the challenges of hard to accomplish achievement.  When we adamantly love, we often discover a river of power within us that enables us to, sometimes creatively and often surprisingly, attack problems, break through barriers and remain dedicated while others would surrender to the obstacles.  It is Adamant Love that provides the muscle when muscle is needed for “winning the day”.

The Drawbacks of Adamant Love

Adamant Love can have some drawbacks.  It occasionally can assist us in being too stubborn, too narrow of focus, and too exhausted and depleted for our own or anyone else’s good.  Adamant Love can be confused with destructive, obsessive-compulsive dependency and fear-based, relational attachments whose bases are not in love but in insecure feelings of personal inadequacy or sometimes malfunctioning neurochemistry.  Nevertheless, Adamant Love’s attributes far outweigh its drawbacks and deficiencies.  It is Adamant Love that motivates taking stands and moving us to conquer the anti-love and love-negative forces that may hold sway in our world.

The Great Dynamic of Adamant Love

Think of a mighty river and the many ways it can flow.  It may flow placidly across the plane, or leap and tumble through rapids, or cascade over high falls, or just roll mightily on as a great force of nature.  The river is love and Adamant Love is one of its many ways of great and forceful flowing. This form of flowing love is not to be confused with more static terms like kinds of love i.e. romantic , family, true friend, self, etc. or types of love i.e. altruistic, companionate, unrequited, spiritual, etc..  All those categorical concepts have their value.  However, they do not lend themselves to revealing much of the dramatic dynamism and powerful, varying dynamics of Adamant Love. Adamant Love is seen as a naturally flowing, powerful, systemic forceful form which the River of Love can take on.

Adamant Love is not much written about or researched but we think the reader may agree there is much evidence that it exists as the basis of many of love’s most heroic and astonishing victories.  Throughout human history, Adamant Love arguably is the dynamic form of love most responsible for and involved in many of human kind’s greatest achievements.  It is the flowing form of love for which the words resolute, steadfast, tenacious, undaunted, valiant, stouthearted, lionhearted and heroic are most applicable.  Along with compassionate and passionate love, Adamant Love is seen as worthy of considerable attention and cultivation.  When life gets really difficult, it is the great, forceful form that love takes which time and again, and against all odds, wins the day.

Now, here is my suggestion.  Talk over this mini-love-lesson and its ideas with one or more others, and while you are at it, maybe recommend this site to them.  Remember, “love feeling is natural, love doing takes learning” so help spread the love learning.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question: In what area of your life might it be wise for you to get more determined to apply your love adamantly?

Understanding Friendship: From Mild Geniality to Profound Love

Mini-Love–Lesson  # 203

Synopsis: How friendship is defined, understood and valued differently in different countries, cultures,  the importance of your own valuing of friendship and doing more about it are presented here and more.

Friendship Seen Differently Here and There and Elsewhere

Internationally friendship is understood in a number of rather different ways in different countries, cultures and societies.

There also are quite a few different definitions and connotations to the words friend and friendship in its various translations.  Not only that but in different social classes, strata, diverse subcultures and societal spheres, friendship is viewed and valued quite divergently.  All of these variations of meaning can be seen as contributing to an all-over enriched understanding of friendship.  These differences, however, also suggest it is best to be careful when dealing with the subject of or engaged in the activities of friendship, or trying to comprehend exactly what other people mean when they use the words friend or friendship.

Defining Friendship Differently

It is kind of amazing how differently various sources have defined friendship.  One source says it’s just “a mutual association of those who like each other”, another says it’s people who feel attached to one another by feelings of personal regard and fondness” and still another says it’s “a relationship of those who grow emotionally close to one another and who have a mostly positive mutual appreciation and therefore feel attached, linked or at least somewhat bonded and in union with each other”.

Other definitions use terms and phrases like “mutuality of affinity”, “ having ongoing rapport”, “enjoy each other’s company”, “repeatedly interacting pleasurably” “people you feel more good than bad about”, “those who treat you nice”, “people who you hope like you”, “those acting in mutually beneficial alliance” and more cynically and hopefully as a joke “anyone who doesn’t want you dead”.

I have heard it taught among the Sufis who have been emphasizing friendship since the year 900 or so that “a friend is someone who helps you know yourself with love”.  Aristotle, who had a fair amount to say about friendship, noted that “a true friend is one who likes who we are and wants what is good for us”.

A Three Level Understanding of Friendship

Concepts about friendship can be analyzed as indicating it is a phenomenon occurring on at least three different levels.  Here they are called Mild, Significant and Profound and are explained as follows:
Mild Friendship: a relationship between those who at least mildly like each other, who at least mildly enjoy being in each other’s company and mildly but pleasurably have at least some ongoing, occasional interactions with each other.
Significant Friendship: a relationship between those who mutually emotionally feel fairly closely and positively connected, are mutually trusting, have a fair degree of shared values and interests, have some mutual intimate and personal knowledge of each other, are mutually concerned about each other’s well-being and who mutually have a mostly positive effect on each other and who find importance in their relationship continuing.
Profound Friendship: a relationship of healthy and usually sibling or familial like real love.  In addition, those whose relationship manifests a sense of mutual, deeply felt, meaningfulness along with intimately personal and privately shared knowledge, a sense of being strongly bonded with attitudes of unconditional acceptance, non-condemning, all forgiving, intense loyalty, mutual appreciation, respect, and affirmation, dependability especially in troubled situations and involving people who are solidly committed to each other’s well-being and their relationships continuation.
These three levels can be seen as a existing on a continuum of sequential degrees going from more or less mild to more or less profound.  Some analysis suggests it would be appropriate to add a fourth category of Friendly Acquaintance mostly for those who have briefer or only occasional friendly interactions with each other.  In analyzing friendship, others suggest additional situational categories are useful like “work buddy”, “good neighbor”, “school chum”, “comrade-at-arms” “internet pal”, “Facebook friend”, etc..  Additional terms like best friend, fast friend, bosom friend, confidant, crony, sidekick, etc. also may be useful in seeking a full understanding of friendship.

The Varying Valuing of Friendship

In some parts of the world, you would not use the word friend for someone you had known less than two years nor would you invite them to your house before then.  In other parts of the world, one can hear oxymoronic statements like “hello, old friend, what’s your name?” probably stated by someone being artificial with something to sell.  Among still others, ending a friendship is commonly more significant and impactful than ending a marriage.  Then there are those for whom the word friendship privately means a relationship conducted for selfish benefit and easily ended for the same reason.

Among health professionals and psychological researchers, friendship is increasingly being seen as highly contributory to health, well-being, happiness and especially to longevity.  Of course, this means friendship closer to the Significant and Profound levels.  Rehabilitation and recovery specialists count real and deep friendships among the most important factors effecting their patient’s return to health.  Even Mild friendships, as described above, have been found to contribute substantially to the physical and psychological repair of the wounded, injured and otherwise impaired.

Research also is showing that those who do not value friendship and friendship love significantly or sufficiently enough are much less engaged in friendship actions and consequently are more susceptible to killer stress illnesses, substance abuse problems, severe love-life difficulties and workplace non-cooperation and passive/aggressive resistance.

Intriguingly there also is foreign affairs research showing that the more international friendships citizens of a country have the more a country tends toward peaceful and cooperative relations with other nations.  The reverse also turns out to be true.  The more people of a country do not cross borders and befriend dissimilar people the more suspicion, hostility, non-cooperation and international dysfunction there is likely to be with that country.

Likewise, and contrary to much of the past, there has been a recent joint call from major leaders of six of the world’s great religions for developing worldwide, cross-faith friendships.  This worldwide call is aimed at producing a reduction in cross-faith religious bigotry, hostility and violence.  Those inter-faith and internationally minded clerics ask us all to escape our insular provinciality and work at befriending those not only different from us religiously but also socially and culturally.  They postulate doing so will lead to joyfully discovering more about our positive similarities than our disharmonious differences.

How Is Your Own Personal Valuing of Friendship?

Generally, the more you value friendship at all three levels but especially the deeper Significant and Profound levels of friendship, the more you will do about it at all three levels.  Because of that, the better off you likely will live and probably the longer you will live, the healthier you will live and the more enriched your life will be.  So, how are you doing that at all three friendship levels?  Do you think you do enough about your friendships, making new friendships, developing friendships further and what about your friendship with yourself?

One of the things a person runs into when studying friendship and friendship love is this.  Again and again from lots of different places lots of different scientists, authorities, experts, sears, sages, teachers and wisdom masters cry out for people to see how important friendship is to individuals, families, societies and the well-being of our whole world.  They all urge us all to study, think about, talk about, more highly value and then do more about friendship.

So, the challenge is for you to do some more about friendship in your own life.  You, of course, can continue studying friendship as you are doing right now and then you can add your own friendship actions.  Whether it is locally, refreshing current and old friendships, connecting on the Internet, reaching into different communities, reaching out internationally or becoming a part of answering that call for creating interfaith friendships across the world, you can do some things you perhaps have not done yet, but could.  Remember also, that doing more about friendship is a great, healthy, self-love action because you are one of the ones who gets enriched along with the others you connect with in friendship.

Want More to Help You with Your Friendship Life?

To learn more about what you can do for more and better friendship in your life, you may wish to consult the following Mini-Love-Lessons Friendship Love and Its Extraordinary Importance and Friendship “Like” to Friendship “Love.

For making new international friends, check out Friendship Force International which has local groups in over 300 communities in 60 countries around the world, headquartered in Atlanta Georgia USA and also you might look into the International Friendship League with members on five continents, headquartered and quite active in the UK but also around Europe, Africa, India and Asia where they also have contact centers.

For a more in-depth understanding of friendship, here are some books you might want to consult: 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 and Friendship by Martin E. Marty.

Maybe make a better friend by telling them about this mini-love-lesson and this mini-love-lessons site?

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question: What are just 2 acts you could do before 2 days pass that likely would benefit another’s and your friendship life?

Affirming Love, Realness and Dodging Pitfalls


Mini-Love-Lesson #295

Synopsis: Affirmational love is so important in helping loved ones and love relationships grow but it doesn’t work well without realness and avoiding certain pitfalls.  This mini-love-lesson covers and helps with that.

Being Real

Affirmational love is incredibly powerful!

Affirmation rests on authenticity and sincerity.   If our affirmations are perceived as credible and realistic, they will encourage trust in us and what we are asserting.  If our affirmations are perceived as genuine, they can be relied on, whether or not the recipient perceives in themselves any of the same affirmed quality.  

When affirmations are seen as false, fake or unrealistic, they get discounted.  The person making a phony affirmation loses credibility and may be judged as untrustworthy.  Even if the motivation is to improve or advance a relationship, making false affirmations is like building a relationship on feet of clay --  it likely will topple in the first storm.

Positive affirmational love can encourage hope, especially when someone is facing a difficult challenge.  It sends the messages, “You’re not alone”, “I’ve got your back” or “You can do it”.  Be careful not to overstate your affirmation because the affirmation is to help a person grow strength in themselves.  Plus, if it is not seen as plausible, it will do little or no good.    Heartfelt affirmations are more likely to ring true and get through to loved ones.  

Sometimes no matter how sincere or accurate an affirmation is, it may get discounted.  For example, a parent validly might say to their child, “You played really well” and the child’s response might be, “You’re just saying that because you’re my parent”.  A loving, stronger, more detailed affirmational message may be required to get through a disqualification barrier and help the receiver glean its benefits.  

Some of What To Avoid

It is important to know what is important to our loved ones in order to be accurate when affirming their spheres of interest and who they are intrinsically.  If we overshadow their concerns or enthusiasms with our own, affirmations can fall flat or not even occur.  Remember, an affirmation is an assertion of something we find admirable in our loved ones and we want them to feel good with what we have seen in them.

It is best not to affirm the harmful.  “You are so sexy and cute when you get drunk” said to an alcoholic, rewards alcoholic behavior.  “You are a super daredevil” may encourage dangerous behavior.  “You are so lucky, why don’t you go ahead and bet the ranch” could result in considerable financial harm.  Encouraging unhealthy, dangerous or risky behavior by way of affirmations is not in the best practices of love category.

Another affirmational blunder is praising the same thing over and over.  If a couple has lived together for 40 years and she has heard him say, “You have such a cute upturned nose”, usually it will be brushed off because it has become boring and has lost its endearing impact.  What works well is developing a broad ranging and ever varying awareness of the qualities of those we love and affirming all of them. 

Of course, avoiding affirmations that smack of insincerity, phoniness, hypocrisy, mockery, over exaggeration or anything less than heartfelt affirmation might harm a relationship.  So, let’s not do that.  

Looks, sex, and work are areas too frequently singled out for affirmation, to the exclusion of all the many others.  These areas do not need to be avoided but need to be in balance with other important qualities deserving affirmative attention. 

Affirmations can fizzle or flop, as in this interaction.  

“I admire how social you are at the country club”.  “I don’t care.  I don’t want to mess with those people, even though I mess well with them”.  

If an affirmation sent is not agreed with or valued, it likely will fail.  What we do with that, if it happens, and it does happen, is up to us.  There are a number of ways to handle this but the overarching point is to stay loving to ourselves as well as to the sender when an affirmation flops.

Affirmations can be ill-used manipulatively.  Something to definitely avoid.  If an affirmation is used to soften up somebody only for selfish gain, it is not for the other person’s benefit.  Another example of manipulative affirmations are those books and courses on salesmanship that encourage using concocted praise and compliments to sell stuff.  Such tactics are destructively manipulative when used within a personal network.  Our affirmations need to be constructive to have loving effect.  After all, the very word affirmation means to strengthen and improve. 

One More Thing

How about telling someone about this mini-love-lesson and this website about love?  Spreading the positives about love really might make your world more love enriched. 

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

♥ Love Success Question: With those you love and care about, do your praises outnumber your criticisms, your approval statements sound stronger than your disapproval utterances and you appreciation remarks number more than your fault finding?

Gender Diversity Love

Mini-Love-Lesson  #194
FREE – Over 200 mini-love-lessons touching the lives of thousands in over 190 countries – worldwide!

Synopsis: How a lot of people are a wide variety of something other than strictly male or female; the big problems that diversity presents; what that can have to do with several kinds of love and how those kinds of love can help are presented in this mini-love-lesson.

Whose What And What Difference Does It Make?

Transgender, transsexual, intersexual, gender dysphoric, omni-sexual, bisexual, homosexual, androgyny and other not strictly or primarily straight female or straight male gender variations have been scientifically identified as existing in the human race.  Both psychology and biology offer confirmation of these different gender diversity states being part of natural reality.  Neurophysiology, neurochemistry, neuropsychology and other brain sciences in particular yield evidence that gender is much more in the brain as well as much more diverse than previously thought.

What is not very different in all gender variations including heterosexuality is the natural need for love, the ways of giving love and the many beneficial effects of being healthfully well loved.  There are some larger differences in the area of love problems but even in that area there is not as much difference as you might at first think.

But for the gender diverse there are extra confounding complications, conflicts, confusions, stressors as well as some very puzzling romantic and heart-mate dilemmas.  Also there can be some hard to cope with biological concerns.

Perhaps worst of all for many are the very dangerous social and religious value clashes that occur in many cultures and subcultures around the world.  For all too long and for far too many, being gender different has been deadly.  To this day in many parts of the world having certain types of gender diversity can get you physically assaulted, jailed and even killed.

Especially dangerous has been the area of who you love and who loves you.  Romantic and spousal love, family love, friendship love, parent-child love, spiritual love and healthy self-love all have been fraught with stressors and serious problems for those whose gender is other than standard heterosexual.  Children, youth and young adults having gender diversity issues have suffered especially.  Embarrassment, shaming, bullying and religious guilt-tripping push many to suicide.  In pockets of the world, it is getting better but certainly not everywhere.

We suggest all this means the people of gender diversity can use extra acceptance, extra understanding and extra love.  So, let’s look at three very important, different kinds of love and what they can mean for the gender diverse.

Healthy, Real Self-Love

Healthy, real self-love is so often extremely important, hugely needed and so very often hard to come by for the people of prevalent and strong gender variation.  The problem is worse wherever there are prevailing anti-gender variation biases, fears, social norms, teachings and laws.  As perhaps you know, some societies, religious groups and families are much more loving and positive toward the gender variant.  Others are very condemning, anti-loving, rejecting, hateful and even murderous.

The gender diverse are so often confronted with overt and covert hate, rejection, exclusion and severe social disapproval.  Sometimes even worse is this.  Whether it is in a family or a whole culture, there frequently is a prevalent teaching something like “you should hate yourself for being anything but straight male or straight female”.  When that teaching becomes an internalized mindset in an individual, the results can be devastatingly self-destructive.

Doing the hard work of finding and growing enough healthy self-love to survive all that can be the best defense.  That is because healthy self-love is something you can carry with you and always have available.  Without sufficient self-love and its strengthen effects, it is very hard to stay okay when hearing “you’re wrong, you’re sinful, you’re sick, you’re not right, etc. for being the way you are”. 

Whether you hear that sort of message internally, externally or both it is destructive.  Depression, anxiety, self rejection, lonely isolation, escape into addiction, breakdowns and suicide all may result.  The good news is all that can be prevented, blocked and reversed with enough healthy self-love.  The bad news is self-love is taught against just as much as gender diversity is taught against and often by the same people.

Gender diverse youth especially are vulnerable to becoming victims of diversity negation coming from culture, society, family, religion, governments and elsewhere.  As gender identity and preference begins to emerge, insecurity and hormonal based confusions tend to mount.  Furthermore, the development of strong, healthy self-love frequently is quite tentative at best among the young.

If you are not strictly heterosexual, go to work on your self-love.  Learn, know and own the fact that you have a lot to offer and certainly are at least just as worthy as any other human being.  Then find out how your variance from standard is a blessing if you use it smartly, bravely and productively.  Most of all, learn and own the following: The core, real you is lovable just the way you are.  Also own that you have healthy, real love to give and that, all by itself, makes you of high value.
If you care about and/or love someone struggling with gender diversity issues, love them by assisting them toward healthy, real self-love.  See this site’s Subject Index concerning healthy self-love for more mini-love-lessons on how to do just that.

Family Love

Those families that offer accepting and affirming love to a gender diverse family member tend to have and keep better cohesiveness, be more resilient and generally function more healthfully and happily.  Those families who try to force or manipulate a family member into a conformist, gender role that the person is not comfortable with, tend to experience severe family disruption and family dysfunction.  Families that reject, shame, personally attack, expel, condemn, guilt trip and are judgmental against someone showing A gender diversity can and are so often ripped apart by these anti-love ways of behaving.

On the other hand, if family members have ongoing clashes about gender issues but they handle disagreements with loving tolerance and democratic acceptance of each other, they can be quite functional and successful.  Likewise, families wounded by gender issue disputes can be healed by activated family love, whether or not they come to agreement on the disputed issues.  Love focused family therapy can be wonderful for this healing process.

Best of all are the loving families that accept, expect and encourage their individual members to develop themselves in whatever way they want to, so long as it is sufficiently healthy.  Love is not dependent on conformity in such families but rather is given freely for whatever variations come about.  Then those variations become enrichments to the family bonded together by family love rather than restricted by compliance.

Friendship Love

Friendship love has been known to save the lives of those suffering conflicts concerning gender.  Friendship love also is known to greatly help lives to be lived well in spite of discrimination, misunderstanding, prejudice, bias, fact free opinions and the other negatives that commonly beset those who are a bit different in gender.  Friendship love also has been known to counterbalance the anti-love effects of hateful, abusive and indifferent families when they cease giving nurturing love to a family member of a diverse gender orientation.

Friendship love is so often a vital element in the development of healthy self-love among the more isolated individual struggling with gender issues.

A big problem arises when a person of gender variation fears peer rejection and, therefore, hides their gender differences, pretending to be someone they are not in regard to gender preference.  They tend not to do the required self-disclosure needed for the development of deep, real, friendship love.  If they do reveal their gender truth about themselves and they receive loving acceptance from a friend or friends, they then may blossom and their social whole world can change for the better.

If they meet with rejection it can be very dangerous unless they have sufficient self-love or other loving friends.  I do understand the fear and self-protectiveness and I suggest careful patience when deciding who might be a worthy friend to share your true self with.  Observe over time who appears open to differences and start with small revelations to test the water before jumping in the deep end.

Those who publicly show openness and acceptance to all gender variations do a great love-positive service.  They give to those struggling to figure out who and what they are gender-wise and to the self rejecting, the chance to know acceptance, inclusion and real friendship is possible for them.  From such demonstrations of open-heartedness, great and enduring friendships have been known to result.
In the next mini-love-lesson, “Gender Diversity – Romantic, Heart-mate Love” we will cover romantic and mated love issues among those of gender diversity.

Help spread love knowledge – tell some people about this site.

As always Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question: How much do your ideas and feelings about gender influence who and how you love?

For Longer Life - Love That Which Is Greater Than Yourself

Mini love lesson #192

Synopsis: Four major candidate categories of greater than yourself love and their quantity and quality of life benefits backed by research are covered in this mini-love-lesson that might just result in you adding more and better years to your life and the lives of those you love.

Want to Add More and Better Years to Your Life?

The research results are in and they are very clear.  The major way to a longer life that is healthier and happier can involve loving that which you understand to be larger, grander and greater than yourself.  That is what we conclude drawn from a host of longevity, quality of life and love relational studies done in a wide variety of universities and medical centers.

Things “Greater Than Yourself”

In the lives of those people considered to make a positive difference in their world, it often is found that they truly loved and gave much of their life to something they considered to be far larger and more important than themselves.  Sometimes it was altruistic – helping the disabled, the disadvantaged, the needy.  Sometimes it was political – helping the cause of freedom, democracy, oppressed minorities and those politically misused and abused.  Often it was medical – administering to the sick, searching for the cure of a dreaded disease, preventing or limiting the spread of illnesses, building health care facilities.

Education in its many forms has been the greater than yourself cause of many.  Nature is another cause –  the environment and assisting the survival of many other species we share the planet with.  For many others it is been one form or another of what we call the arts and humanities.  A caring religion, devotion to a compassionate deity or a positive philosophy and set of principles frequently has been involved as has a general sense of loving in its broadest meaning.

Almost invariably the people who have given themselves to something they saw as greater than themselves have experienced a great many positive effects in their lives for doing so.  May you also!  Let us look at four main candidates for this life extending and life improving type of love.

Love of Life

Do You love life?  Do you love living, experiencing the many awesome marvels and wonders of life itself ?  Do you know how to be awesomely affected by this incredible gift you are given to feel, think, be aware of and to be a part of existence and its endless mysteries and miracles.  Most things in the universe can not do that, so far as we know.   In fact, of the many living creatures on our planet we are the ones blessed with being able to do that best, so far as we know.
There are people so enamored of life they truly love it and experience it much more fully than most.  So, it is understandable that research shows those are the ones that tend to live life longer and healthier.

Those who more frequently experience awe and who find life wondrous (as in marveling at gorgeous scenery, being deeply moved by great music, being inspired by the astonishing phenomena of nature or heart-touched by viewing a newborn infant of almost any species) are aware at a high level. Then there is marveling at the world of different life forms seen via the microscope or the vast universe seen via the telescope; those may be the ones who have the greatest life experiences.  Frequently the same life-appreciating people are the ones doing the most to affirm, preserve, defend, protect, improve and advance the causes of life itself.

Unknowingly for most, there is a great payback for loving life.  These life-affirming and life-appreciative activists significantly benefit from greater production of cytokines in their biological systems.  Cytokines are super important to all sorts of cellular health, growth and replacement in just about every part of the body.  Without them serious deterioration and increased susceptibility to diseases of all sorts exists in the body and the brain.  One recent source of research about this is from the University of California at Berkeley.  You might want to check on what Dr. Dacher Keltner has to say about this and related health and longevity issues.

Love with a Higher Purpose or Cause

Closely related to the love of life people are those that have discovered a greater than themselves cause or purpose in life.  There are so many examples of people who just had to find and give their lives to something that mattered.  Something it was to improve life conditions, advance or enrich our world or some portion thereof.  Sometimes a life purpose has to do with the actualization of a talent as often occurs in the worlds of art but also for gifted intellects in science.

Sometimes it is labeled a calling and involves a passionate curiosity, interest or inner drive to create something of use, meaning, inspiration, etc..  Also, a calling to a cause can be to provide a service, defend against a threat, achieve a worthy goal or to maintain, conserve or restore something of impactful quality.  Whatever it was, having a positive and constructive higher-purpose-love tended to make healthier, happier and longer living people who had a greater than self purpose.

Do you want to live at least seven good years longer than you probably otherwise would?  If so, find and get busy with your purpose in life.  Find something more important than yourself and love it (or who and what it helps) and you might extend your life quality and quantity for up to seven years.  It has to be beneficial, constructive and positive for those it effects.  Causes that are basically centered in avarice, negativism, the inconsequential, regressiveness, negation, entropy or are life harming do not tend to work.  In fact, they often work in reverse harming their adherents.  That is what the preponderance of research and clinical opinion points to.

Looking forward to what you can do for your cause every morning as you get up can make everyday feel worthwhile, more exciting, more enjoyable and considerably healthier.  According to a study in the esteemed British medical journal, the Lancet, a strong sense of life purpose makes you 30% less likely to die of any and all causes (including accidents).  That may hold true for every year you are actively involved in your life’s purpose.

Spiritual Love

Having an active, spiritual, love relationship with whatever you perceive to be your metaphysical something greater (higher power, the force, the life force, nature, the universe, universal love, the great mystery, your deity, spiritual entity or energy or more simply God) probably will add between 4 and 14 years to your life depending on which study you read.

This longevity also appears to be rather dependent on how active you are in your spiritual life.  Regular meditation and a sense of communicating with your greater something, plus doing various spiritual rituals and spiritually motivated acts of service, along with meeting with like-minded others all seem to contribute to longer and healthier life according to a passel of related research.

Love of People and Other Living Creatures

If your love of something greater than yourself has to do with people in general, the human race or any other large group (i.e. children, the elderly, your country, identity group, etc.) and you are actively involved in what you are doing about that love, your life likely will be better for it.  Furthermore, health benefits also accrue to those who actively love other species.  This especially is true of the species who are good at loving back and those good at demonstrating behaviors exemplifying love toward each other.  Dogs, great apes, horses, parrots, cats, elephants, dolphins and a host of others are all candidates demonstrating at least some of the behaviors and the brain chemistry that goes with love.

Love of people in general, various groups of people and other living species gets very similar positive results to loving particular people like spouses and family members and also having healthy self-love.  Such love helps your immune system get stronger, makes for blood pressure improvements, lowers risk of heart attacks and strokes and has a wide range of other health benefits.  Adding to your love of particular people, the broad scale greater than yourself aspect diminishes the risk of early death by about 45% according to a study in the PLOS Medicine Journal.

Love of smaller groups such as one’s family counts too but in somewhat different ways.  Having strong, healthy, love connections with family and dear friends also can lower your chances of dying early unless those relationships are too often highly stressful and highly problematic.  Adding a life purpose, greater cause or love of larger human or animal groups can add quite a bit to life expectancy and quality of life both, so long as other anti-health and anti-love factors are not overwhelmingly strong.

So, ask yourself how is your love of humanity, the human race or any big part of it?  Check out your love of our creature cousins and how active you might be on their behalf.  If you are doing well here, your quality of life mentally, physically, emotionally, and just about in every other way is likely to be better.  You also are likely to have less illness, quicker recovery from illness, live more joyfully and have a far greater sense of life fulfillment.  That is what the preponderance of research is showing.

As you can see, the above categories overlap and integrate, are expandable and are in no way exclusive of one another.  Those who actively live their love for something they see as greater than themselves has given millions a better and longer life.  Emulate them and you may do likewise.
Help us spread love knowledge – tell some people about this site!

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love success question: Would it perhaps be good for you to write out a completion of this sentence stem?

From Self-Love to Other Love and Back Again

Mini–Love-Lesson # 185

Synopsis: This mini-love-lesson teaches you about how healthy self-love supports and improves love of another, how that influences how much love comes your way and how it improves love’s quality.  This mini-love-lesson also covers self-love’s influence on the magic ‘five to one ratio’ that keeps relationships alive and growing, and it reveals the importance of love cycling.

What About This First Love Yourself Stuff?

“To love another you must first love yourself” is a frequently stated concept – you may have run into it before.  You even may have wondered about it.  Is it true?  Can self-love really help you in your love of someone else?  Are problems in love relationships rooted in a lack of self-love?  (See mini-love-lesson Self-Love – What Is It?)  What does love yourself really mean?  How exactly does self-love effect loving another?  Doesn’t this idea contradict the ethical and religious teachings that say self-love is a bad thing and a serious sin?  If someone I love doesn’t love themselves is that hurting our relationship?  How exactly does one go about loving themselves?  Yes, there are a great many questions to ponder concerning this often repeated concept.  Let’s see if we can answer some of them and let’s start with this one.

What Happens in a Relationship Lacking Sufficient Self-Love?

Without sufficient self-love, an adult love relationship is not adult enough!  At least frequently that is the case.  Especially in romantic and life-mate style love, childlike neediness tends to occur and get in the way.  Dependency forms of false love, including the much written about one called codependency, develop.  Healthy, adult style real love is blocked from developing.  Immature, dysfunctional ways increasingly tend to sabotage the interactions in the love relationship.  Usually this destroys the growth of healthy, real love and the relationship comes to a painful end.  At best, the relationship never attains its potential for fulfillment, happiness or healthy adult functioning.

One way to think about it goes like this: the love relationship is dominated by the love-needy, inner child self in one or both partners.  That subconscious, inner child self wants parent type love instead of adult-to-adult love too often and too much.  That makes it easy for one or both partners to have lots of child level, fear-based dynamics.  Then frustration, misunderstandings and miscommunications increase.  Frequently sibling-like fights break out and immature, unhappy, childish emotions prevail.

Worst of all, a great lack of developing, adult ways of going about life together occurs and keeps getting worse.  The how-to’s of adult, healthy, real love never are learned because needy, child-level love is the best the couple usually can manage.  They may at times play well together in passionate sex and other fun ways which helps them keep going but that too usually fades as resentments and disappointments go unresolved.  Adult love skills never sufficiently are learned and adult, problem solving, love-based teamwork goes unpracticed.

Erich Fromm, the great psychotherapist and social philosopher, once said, “To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love”.  Without sufficient self-love we keep getting easily wounded and then we act to wound back the one we love most and we don’t know how to stop.  We keep wanting our loved partner to play the all-forgiving, loving parent and fix us.  If they don’t, it just gets worse because we do not know how to do self-love based, self fixing, let alone couple fixing.

Self Fixing and Team Fixing Via Self-Love

With sufficient self-love you do not easily get hurt but when you do it is a lot easier to either fix yourself or ask your loved partner to lovingly assist you in your adult self fixing and to work with you in relationship fixing.  Without that self-love, you are likely to ignore your own needs or get defensive, manipulative, demanding or overly wimpy.  Then you may put too much needy, fix me pressure on your beloved.  Healthy, real self-love helps you stay adult and keep working out adult  “I win, you win” improvements and solutions.  Insecurities, frustration and anger may corrupt cooperative, love interactions. If you can stay on track with the help of your real self-love, and not go into escape or attack modes of reacting, improvements can occur.

When hearing what sounds like criticism or putdowns, with self-love it is easier to think something like “It’s getting kind of hard to catch what this person is throwing at me, so it must be time to remind myself that I am abundantly okay and wonderful enough, so I don’t need to let myself get all hurt and upset.  In fact, I’m also strong enough to hear, with love, what this person has to say, knowing it may tell me something useful and perhaps tell me more about them than me”.  Without sufficient self-love you might find yourself thinking something like “I’m under attack and have to attack back or escape, and what a terrible person my beloved is for attacking me” or “Of course my beloved is right and what a miserable and inadequate person I am”.  Self-love can help you stay okay enough to keep working on mutual solutions even when things are hard and not going well.

The Lack of Self-Love and the Growth of False Love

Those who lack sufficient self-love are thought to be much more vulnerable to false forms of love infecting their lives.  It works sort of like the starving person who is much more likely to eat anything they can get and, thus, is in danger of becoming malnourished and food poisoned.  The self loving person can be much more discerning about what they take in.  They also are much more likely to insist on getting higher-quality, real love.  If they are love knowledgeable and can tell the difference, they will not long put up with false, stingy or poor quality love efforts, which is what low self-love causes people to do.

It seems dependency forms of false love are particularly common among those who are low in healthy, real self-love.  Living with large amounts of neglect and both psychological and physical abuse, along with unfulfilling false love, is seen to be much more common among those with low self-love.  Susceptibility to destructive addictions unfortunately frequently can become part of this picture.

The dynamics described above show how important it is to learn the differences between healthy, real love and the major forms of false love.  That is part of why Kathleen McClaren and I wrote Real Love False Love, Which Is Yours? which is the only book we know of covering multiple forms of false love and the only book that tells you how to understand each and what you can do to avoid, escape or transform false love into real love.  By the way, Real Love, False Love is now available internationally at Amazon.com, in the Kindle edition at a new low price; reviews are desired.

What Happens in Relationships That Have Enough Self-Love?

The couples who have enough healthy self-love in both people are thought to be much more able to accomplish the almost magical five to one rule.  The five to one rule refers to the discovery that when couples send back and forth 5 love-positive statements or actions for every 1 anti-love or non-love statement or action they are far more likely to succeed as a lasting, okay couple.  This 5 to 1, positive, communication, ratio dynamic especially is found to be helpful when couples are interacting where conflict is involved.  Those with low self-love are thought to be much more likely to fall below this ratio which means mutual misery and possibly break-up is much more likely. (Consult the “Love Positive Talking” mini-love-lesson).

High self-love also means a greater likelihood of avoiding, or more quickly fixing, all the problems mentioned above.

With healthy self-love you have far more love to give because your cup runneth over, a lot and often.  Not only that, but because you seldom are in an empty or needy state, you want to give your love more and better.  It is like the difference between being hungry and malnourished with only scraps to eat or having a full larder and wanting to create and serve up wonderful meals for all those you care about.  Not only are you able to feed the hungry but you can serve up love meals that are much healthier and especially tasty.

One of the greatest advantages to high self-love is the lack of fear in people who have it.  With high self-love they tend not to fear being worthy enough, being important to their beloved, being afraid of rejection or abandonment or being unlovable.  Those with low self-love tend to fear those things a great deal of time.  High self-love people also do not have to fear asking for the love they want and the way they want it showed.  That means they are free of having to play psychological games and other trickery trying to get the love they hunger for.  In turn, that means they do not have to go for long periods tolerating not having love showed to them (being fed) and they are not likely to undervalued or poorly receive the love coming their way.

Remember, with high enough healthy self-love, part of your self-care is to insist on getting frequent, high quality love and not just scraps.  First insist on that of yourself as well as insisting to yourself that you give likewise.  Then you can lovingly effectively go after what you want with and from your beloved.

People with healthy self-love tend to have more love to give and tend to do it better. That helps make them more okay and, thus, more desirable to healthy, self loving others.  Two strong, okay, loving people make a strong loving couple much better than if one or both are weak or stuck in victimness and in need of repeated rescuing.

The Return Trip of Love

In healthy, happy, well functioning, love relationships there is a cycle of love going out to a beloved and then love coming back from the beloved.  Self-love is very important for creating this cycle and keeping it going.  Sometimes there are things that get in the way like a crisis, having to be absent from one another for a lengthy time, external ongoing heavy demands on time and energy for one or both, etc..  At these times healthy self-love is a big assistance for getting through them.  Healthy self-love can motivate healthy self-care to compensate for gaps in the ongoing cycling of love. Healthy self-love also can provide strength and motivation for getting those gaps closed so the love cycling is flowing again.

It is not good to barter giving love so as to get it because real love is a free gift.  But when two people connect in love with each other, a two-way cyclical dynamic can be created.  The same happens in families and friendship groups except the numbers of participants often are larger.  Part of the support for the dynamic of healthy love cycling is healthy self-love.  Healthy self-love supports and often motivates healthy love of others and then it motivates an other to send back love, creating an ongoing cycle of love.

Work at keeping your cycle running and your love relationships likely will be lasting  (See mini-love-lesson “Cycling Love for Lasting Love”).

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question:  How good are you at self-love and self-care, while at the same time lovingly interacting with someone you love, especially when there is a difficulty occurring?  (We suggest you take some time with this question and maybe talk it over with a loved one to find out how they see it).

Self-Love, a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

Mini love lesson #185
FREE, over 200 Mini-Love-Lessons touching the lives of thousands in over 190 countries – worldwide

Synopsis: This mini-love-lesson helps you look at how unknowingly you may have been subconsciously infected by destructive teachings about self-love and much more.

What They Say about Self-Love

“You can’t let people think you love yourself.  If you do they will think you are conceited, you have the big head and are stuck up.  Then no one ever will like you or want you around”.  Did you ever hear anything like that as a kid?  Did you ever think anything like that about yourself?  How about this: “You can’t love somebody else until you first love yourself”?.  I hear that idea about once a week from different people.  Then there is “self-love leads to becoming a sex pervert”.  Of course, there also is the great commandment or admonition “love others as you love yourself”.  Have you ever wondered what that “love yourself” part is all about?

Do these contradictory statements about self-love confuse you, or cause any inner conflict or have you just never given any of that much thought?  Whatever is in your subconscious mind about self-love – contradictory or not –  could be having a surprisingly big but hard to see influence on how well you do in life.  It especially could effect your success at love relationships.  Self-love has been found to be a big factor in love of others, work success or failure, the harmony or lack of it in child raising, general health, victory or defeat in any endeavor, defense against stress illnesses, resilience in overcoming setbacks and how much good you do or don’t do others.  So that we can really understand the issues involved in self-love, let’s briefly look at a few of its surprising and intriguing development issues.

How Did Self-Love Get Such a Bad Thing Reputation?

It is the government’s fault.  Does that surprise you?  You see, a major source of anti-self-love propaganda was put out to support the form of autocratic government known as monarchy.  That propaganda effort has been going on for several thousand years and continues to this day.  Historically, self-love was thought to encourage people to be for themselves instead of living for and in obedience to their liege lord, or monarch.

Self-love also was seen as a social order disruptor.  That is because self-love leads to individuality and that leads to being uppity or trying to raise yourself above your preordained, proper place and station in life.  Everyone keeping in their place in the order of things was understood to be the basis of social stability and collective safety.  Self-love meant self interest might prevail over the interests of authority.  It was greatly feared that self-love could even help lead to that horrible thing known as democracy.  By the way, that is why marrying for love never had much of a chance until America got invented.

The Royals and the priests of ancient Greece used religion to teach that the one thing the gods could not tolerate was human pride.  Apparently that was because prideful people could get uppity and in doing so might challenge and maybe even overthrow the gods and the Royals.  The early church seems to have picked up on this, joined in with the first Christian Emperor, Constantine, and has been, off and on, condemning self-love as a dangerous sin threatening authority and the orderly functioning of society ever since.

Words & Terms Used to Effect Your Thinking about Self-Love

Here are two lists of some of the words and terms that may have gotten into your mind and the minds of those you care about concerning self-love.  In the first list the words tend to carry negative connotations and trigger negative feelings about self-love.  The second list is more positive and represents more recent influences and understandings related to self-love.  Notice what you feel as well as what you think while you read each word or term.  That can help you ascertain how you may have been influenced or programmed to react concerning self-love.

Self-love has been called antisocial, alienating, conceited, disobedient, egocentric, egotistical, heresy, hedonistic, indulgent, jealous, narcissistic, non-empathetic, prideful, selfish, sinful, self-centered, self exulting, self-important, self interested, sociopathic, subversive, stuck up, uncaring, ungodly, uncharitable, and vain.  Is it any of these things to you?  Was it any of these things to the people who raised you?  Is it any of these things to the people who are important in your life now?

In recent years in many more modern circles, self-love has begun to be seen in a much more positive light.  Healthy, real self-love has been called autonomy assistive, altruistically beneficial, balancing, charity inspiring, constructive, confidence building, contributory, democratic, empowering, energizing, ego supportive, enlightening, emotionally healthy, freeing, good parent modeling, honest, individualistic, individuation fueling, mentally healthy, pride making, protective, resilient, socially beneficial, self caring, self honoring and self strengthening.

Can you see how healthy, real self-love can be helpful to each of these factors in a person?  Is it reasonable to you that each of these factors may be elements of self-love or its result?  Does it seem right to you to conclude that self-love is something you and everyone else would do well to have lots of?

Healthy Self-Love Against the Problems and Deficiencies of Today

Millions are in counseling or therapy today because they suffer from crippling low self-esteem, inadequate self-confidence, poor self-concept, inferiority fears, feelings and complexes, issues of deficient self worth, self limitation syndromes and the like.  Still millions more would do well to become engaged in counseling or therapy for the same reasons.

Then there are millions more suffering from overcompensation reactions to the same problems and that is what leads to narcissism, arrogance and the like.  Let me also mention those who are lost in escapist patterns of addictions stemming from the same root sources.  Then also there are all the millions of children, spouses and families ill effected by those who suffer from these same causes.

Developing sufficient, healthy, real self-love is seen by many mental health professionals as the cure, or at least part of the cure, for all this.  Alienation, debilitating isolation, love starvation and a lot of other problems can and frequently are made better by healthy, self-love development via love infused therapy.  That at least is the growing clinical conclusion being drawn from the new understandings of what healthy, real self-love actually is all about.

For Growing Healthy, Real Self-Love, Consider Doing These 3 Things

If you or anyone you know or care about seems to suffer from any of the maladies mentioned above, consider these actions:

First, read, study and put into practice what you learn from the following list of mini-love-lessons on self-love found at this site.  It might be best to read them in the order given but it’s okay to do it otherwise.

0.  Self-Love, a Good Thing or a Bad Thing? (You are doing this one)
1.  Self-Love – What Is It?
2.  Self-Love and 12 Reasons to Develop It
3.  Number 51: Your Super Tool for Healthy Self-Love
4.  Unselfish Self-Love
5.  Self-Love and Its Five Healthy Functions
6.  Self-Love the Enemy of Egotism
7.  Self-Affirmation for Healthy Self-Love
8.  Self Talk for Improving Love

By doing these additional, eight, brief mini-love-lessons on self-love, in effect you will have taken a short course on self-love and how to grow it.  There is lots more to learn but though I’m biased I say that is a great start.  These mini-love-lesson teachings on self-love have been known to help a great number of people to start and improve the way they grow their own healthy self-love.  Hopefully you can do the same.

Second, consider finding a good, love knowledgeable counselor, therapist, personal coach or mentor.  Then work with them on a regular basis focusing on the development of healthy, real self-love.  This can be done in individual or group sessions and sometimes quite well at personal growth workshops, special retreats and seminars.  But be careful.  We suggest you get user references before you select because quality can vary greatly.

Third, nothing helps you learn something like teaching it.  Leading a discussion group, a reading club, or facilitating a self-study class or giving an out right class on healthy, real self-love or something similar likely will put you in touch with a lot of fine people and help you really get this super important, life-changing knowledge.  You also informally can do something like introducing and talking over these self-love topics with friends, family, workmates or whoever.

As always – Go and Grow with Love

Dr. J Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question: Seriously, how often is your self-love an active part of your everyday life?