Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

“How To Make Anyone Fall In Love With You”!

Friday, April 25th, 2014

JOHN J. STATHAS, Ph.D., LMFT

At last, the magic formula to find and keep the love of your life!  That is the message of Leil Lowndes in her book HOW TO MAKE ANYONE FALL IN LOVE WITH YOU. Ms. Lowndes thesis is “that you can capture, and keep, the heart of any man or woman you choose because … science is finally unraveling what romantic love actually is, What triggers it. What kills it. What makes it last”. Okay, let’s get on that magic carpet ride and see where this “science” leads us.

Ms. Lowndes focuses on six elements for this falling in love process:

  1. FIRST IMPRESSIONS: “The moment you set eyes on each other, your Potential Love Partner reacts to the subtleties of your body language. Thus the way you first present yourself is important – if there are to be future possibilities”.
  2. SIMILAR CHARACTER, COMPLEMENTARY NEEDS: “If there is to be compatability for a lifetime… some similarity is necessary. Certain values, beliefs, activities, and world view are important. Besides similarity it is important to look for complementary qualities – ones that we find interesting and may enhance our lives”.
  3. EQUITY: “Lovers unconsciously calculate the other person’s comparable worth, the cost-benefit ratio of the reality of hidden costs, the maintenance fee, and the assumed depreciation. This is part of making a good long term investment”.
  4. EGO: “Everyone hungers for security and validation. … You want your potential partner to feel that you are his or her harbor from the storm of life”.
  5. EARLY-DATE GENDER MEMBERS: “Men and women think and communicate in drastically different way.  You need to know some of these differences if you hope to commit”.
  6. Rx FOR SEX: “Mind power is what drives the mighty machine and keeps it generating heat for many years. The most erotic organ in the body is his or her brain. … Men need to create sensuality and passion in every aspect of your relationship. Women your sexual attitude and how you deal with his individual sexuality is the most important”.

Well, now you know the secrets of “science” enabling you “make anyone fall in love with you”!  Such breakthroughs. My take is that this is a watered down version of MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS. There are basic kernels of insight here to be sure.  Better reads for the creation and maintenance of a solid love relationship are the works of Dr.John Gottman, Dr. Pat Love, and Dr. Harville Hendrix. (Google them).  Their solid research and pragmatic articulation are some of the best works in the field.

Perhaps Ms. Lowndes, with her catchy title, has caught your attention and given you some starting points for the life task of finding and keeping a mate of value and compatability.  For that her book has merit.

Personally speaking, I do not believe that there is any life task more important than finding a life long romantic partner with whom you can share the vicissitudes of a life worth living. I am grateful that I chose a profession that taught me how to do the “due diligence” to find the right partner for me. Thirty five years later Sherry is “still the one”!  May you be as fortunate!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”      Socrates

Are You Able to Truly Love Yourself? Need to!

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Of all the relationships in the world that exist the one that is the most important for you is the one with yourself. You are brought into this world to become all that you can be, to develop every ounce of your potential.  Your caretakers hopefully have given you a solid core on which to build, but it is the task of every adult to be responsible for full development — physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and socially.  No one is here to take care of  you, no one owes you anything.  This is not an argument for extreme rugged individualism. There is no question that we can reach our full potential only while connected to other supportive people in our life.

If you do not love yourself you have nothing to give to others. (“You can’t give what you don’t have”)  Each of us has the Spirit of Love within us that empowers us to value ourselves, have high self esteem, and grow into a loving contributing human being.  Personal self love is a prerequisite before you can develop a healthy friendship or romantic relationship.  Self love is not to be equated with being solipsistic, selfish, and self absorbed.  For these people they are the be all and end all.  A truly loving person loves him/her self and shares that love with others

How do you know if you love yourself?  First, you might want to look at ways that you are not being your best self.  Some of those characteristics and behaviors might be:

 

  1. Eating disorders. 2.  Drug and alcohol misuse.  3.  Tobacco use.  4.  Being in unhealthy relationships. 5.  Depression or frenetic activity.  6.  Excessive spending.  7.  Limited productivity or excessive workaholism 8.Judgmental and critical of others.  9.  Not forgiving of self or others. 10. Pornography involvement

 

Needless to say no person is perfect and no person totally loves him/her self.  Personal growth is a work in progress. Such reality should not deter, however, your quest to be the best person you can be. People that love themselves act out from their inner core, their loving spirit or intuition.  They are free to be themselves.  Their motto is “What you think of me is none of my business”.  They do not need the approval of others to feel adequate.  They enjoy acceptance like anyone else, but they do not bend and contort themselves in every conceivable shape to get the praise of the crowd.  They are not excessive “pleasers”. Nor are they “controllers”, who always need to be right, in control, in the spotlight.

An interesting exercise in developing genuine self love is to write on a piece of paper all the things that you like or value about yourself.  Share this list with someone who cares and ask him or her to do the same.  You will experience a flow of positive feelings/energy that moves you forward to a greater ability to connect with yourself and with others. Self awareness of what is “right” and good in you is the first step in positive self-love. Seeing these same qualities in another person is an indicator that you are improving in this vital area of healthy living.

Do You Know Your Capacity for Passionate Love? Your Reality Is?

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

     Love exists.   Love is positive and healthy.  Love connects.   Love unites. Love exists in many forms and relationships.  The focus here is on married love.

     Married people in love are happier and healthier than Single people. Married people live longer than Single people. Married people have lower rates of all types of mental illness and suicide. One caveat to the health factor; married people are fatter than Single people.

     Most love relationships begin with some degree of attraction and infatuation. The love is considered to be passionate. The chemical P.E.A.  rushes through the brain giving an adrenalin-like jolt. This intense state of passionate love is exciting. Couples yearn to be with each other. They touch hearts and bodies often.  They do thoughtful and romantic things for each other. This love is exciting!

     Alas, this type of love does not last.  The P.E.A. chemical extinguishes in two to three years usually, sometimes before that. The next state of a couple’s relationship is critical.  If the union continues to be loving and growthful the chemical constellation becomes endorphin driven. The intense passionate love is less present, but still can surface with a heightened intensity on occasion.  It is replaced by a comfortable feel good state.  The couple truly enjoys, cares for, and is still “in love” with each other.  Some writers call this stage a “companionate” love. If however, a couple does not continue to nurture the relationship, continuing to love each other, the relationship starts to fall apart. Dissolution of the relationship, “falling out of love” is painful and unhealthy for both individuals.

     The following behaviors are recommended for those who want to evolve into an intimate “companionate” marriage: Respecting, Trusting, Risking, Honoring, Sharing, Listening, Responding, Validating, Collaborating, Comforting, Supporting, Touching, Holding, Sensually Loving.

     Individuals vary as to the extent that they can be passionately in love with another. An interesting “thermometer” of passionate love has been developed by Hatfield and Sprecher. Would you like to explore your capacity in this regard? First, think of the person you love passionately now or someone you felt that way about in the past. Base your answer on when your feelings were most intense.

For each of the 15 sentences below choose a number from 1 (not at all true) to 9 (definitely true) that most accurately describes your feelings toward the person you love.

  1. I would feel deep despair if ______ left me.                                                                              ________
  2. Sometimes I feel I can’t control my thoughts; they are obsessively about  ______.          ________
  3. I feel happy when I am doing something to make _______ happy.                                      ________
  4. I would rather be with _______ than anyone else.                                                                  ________
  5. I’d get jealous if I thought _______ was falling in love with someone else.                         ________
  6. I yearn to know all about _______.                                                                                              _______
  7. I want _______ physically, emotionally, mentally.                                                                   ________
  8. I have an endless appetite for affection from _______.                                                           _______
  9. For me, _______ is the perfect romantic partner.                                                                     _______
  10. I sense my body responding when _______ touches me.                                                        _______
  11. _______ always seems to be on my mind.                                                                                  _______
  12. I want _______to know me – my thoughts, fears, and hopes.                                                _______
  13. I eagerly look for signs indicating _________’s desire for me.                                                _______
  14. I possess a powerful attraction for _________.                                                                         _______
  15. I get extremely depressed when things don’t go right in my relationship with _____.        ______

 

Add up your score.  It can range from 15 to 135.  The higher your score the more your feelings reflect passionate love. The items for which you picked a particularly high number indicate the components of passionate love you experience most.

 

For those of you who actually did this inventory the result can say a number of things to you about your capacity to love passionately and what your current marriage relationship is in this regard. In what stage is your marriage?  Has your marriage continued to evolve or is it slowly dissolving?

 

     May this article and inventory encourage you to look at yourself relative to being married. To be in love with your mate and be loved in return is a wonderful state of existence. You deserve that and, hopefully, are doing your best to create such a loving union.

 

                  “The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

 

LOVE: What’s the “Good Stuff”? What’s “Remembered”?

Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Not too long ago a person in therapy, who was trying to get rid of some painful memories, asked me “how do you retain the good memories?”  A valid question.

First of all, what are the good memories?  What is “the good stuff”?  Kenny Chesney has a song with that title.  The lyrics speak of a man going to a bar upset that he had a fight with his wife.  He told the bartender that he wanted “the good stuff”.  The bartender told him that it wasn’t to be found in the whiskey, rather it was in good experiences with family – wife, children, grandchildren. Those precious memories were the true “good stuff”.

Since I’m on this song kick (there is something about music and lyrics that can really make a point – touch one’s heart) I want to mention a song by Craig Morgan called “Love Remembers”.  His loved one had just walked out on him and he was in pain as he continued to remember special moments with her. His words:

You might convince yourself

there’s shelter in a bottle

For a while there it may numb the pain

but when it hits you, then it hits you

that love’s still gone and you’ll be wishin’

that you’d poured it down the drain

‘cause love remembers

Yes, “love remembers”. Each of us has our own “good stuff”.  Hopefully we have created and are continuing to create wonderful memories that are enduring. Dating, marriage, children, grandchildren, and heartwarming holidays probably are atop the list of wonderful experiences with the special people in our lives.  These remembered memories bring a smile to our lips and warm our hearts.  We just plain feel good when recalling these life events.      Unfortunately in our society many peoplebelieve “the good stuff” revolves around one’s achievements, career success, money made, wins, awards, etc…

Eckhart Tolle in his book, A NEW EARTH: AWAKENING TO YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE, would say these experiences reflect the human “doing” of a person.   This human doing, ego centered focus, is of a lesser level of existence than the human “being” side.  Both are important for living a fulfilled life – one built on priorities.

To live in love – of the past, present, or expectation of the future – is to live at a high consciousness level.  For those who understand energy vibration levels, these experiences vibrate at a higher frequency level. You live life at a more sublime, quasi spiritual, level. (For those of you that are wondering what that all means, may I recommend an author to you, David Hawkins, M.D., Ph.D. His book POWER VS. FORCE offers a brilliant description of energy levels,
consciousness, etc…He writes of Love vibrating at the 500 level). Let me quote him:

“Loving is a state of being.  It’s a forgiving, nurturing, and supportive way of relating to the world. … Love emanates from the heart. It has the capacity to lift others and accomplishgreat feats because of its purity of motive. It is accompanied by a measurable release of endorphins in the brain.  … This is the true level of happiness.”

I hope my merger of country songs, philosophical theory, and scientific perspective somehow aids you in raising your everyday awareness of what the “good stuff” choice might be. Love permeates your being. It is there always; it does not disappear.  Go for the “good stuff” as opportunity is present. Hope you are creating wonderful moments.  Love remembers!!

 

How Well Do You Receive Love? Are You Sure? It Can Be Challenging.

Saturday, August 13th, 2011

     At first glance I would guess that most of you would say “yes” to this question.  Many may say that you don’t have enough love coming towards you.  In a committed relationship oftentimes one or both individuals do not receive well.  An example might assist in understanding this.

     Ann and Bob (not their real names) have been married for about sixteen years.  They came to me because their marriage was floundering, in part because Bob had emotionally “checked out” of the relationship.  He had lost interest in Ann.  Their marriage began as the classic Controller-Pleaser model at its worst.

     Bob was very concerned about his image and needed to look good and be right in all situations.  He was quite critical of Ann since he felt that she continued to not measure up to his standards. There are reasons for this posture based on his parental upbringing and some challenging teen years.  He was not going to be vulnerable to anyone. He had adopted the philosophy that “the best defense is a strong offense” and he kept the pressure on her regularly.

     Ann was a person always trying to get it right.  But her ADD (yes, Neal Boortz, it does exist.  Brain scans display it) made it difficult to be organized, on time, and very efficient. She was raised by a particularly critical father who continually put her down. No matter how hard she tried she just “wasn’t good enough” and had low self esteem.

     Finally Bob started to get it.  He realized his criticism was only building on that negative wiring already in Ann’s head from her father.  He withheld his criticism and began to be more complimentary of her.  He tried to be more caring and romantic but she would not receive it.  She was distrustful and, deep down, did not feel worthy of it.  Being loved was quite unfamiliar (from the family) to her.

     Dr. Harville Hendrix, well known relationship expert made famous by Oprah’s endorsement of his Imago theory, has published the book RECEIVING LOVE along with his wife, Dr. Helen Hunt.  According to this married couple the root of the problem is self rejection.  This began when our parents or caretakers unintentionally failed to nurture or directly rejected traits, characteristics, or impulses when we were children.  We end up rejecting in ourselves whatever our caretakers ignored or rejected in the course of our childhood.  When we become adults, this makes it impossible to let in the love we want and need, even when our partners offer it.  As a result we dismiss compliments, minimize gestures of affection, and create obstacles to true intimacy. 

     Some of you may dismiss this by saying “Oh yeah, more psychobabble.  Who would ever not welcome love?” If I had not seen it present so often I would be saying the same thing.  Fact is, when a person does not feel good about him or her self, that person does in fact sabotage love coming in. Not only does this person not welcome love, often s/he chooses someone as a partner that has limited capacity to love.  The two factors together result in a romantic void between the couple.

     It is worth the time of self reflection and communication with your significant other as to how well you receive love.  Do you reject it?  Do you feel dissatisfied when it is offered? Hopefully you have both capacities in your loving repertoire – to be able to give and RECEIVE love.