Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Loveability - an extract

"The more I thought above love, the more I had to admit to myself how important love was. I could see the urge to love and be loved is our primary desire. Love is as important to us as air, water, and food. A life without love isn't a life. The more you love and also let yourself be loved, the more alive you feel. This primary desire is something we share with each other: we all want to experience love, to know we are loveable, and to be loving people. Love feeds all our basic desires, including our desire to be connected, to be known, to be safe, to be happy, to be successful, and to be free. Love is the stuff of life. Even I could see that, and I was only 16 years old.

I understood that love was important, but what I couldn't understand was why people didn't talk more about love. The Beatles were singing about love. So too were Stevie Wonder, and Bob Dylan, and Van Morrison, and Joni Mitchell. There's no such thing as too many love songs. At the same time, our favorite authors and poets send more love stories and love notes into the world. Love is all around us, but we don't talk about love that much. Politicians don't. Newscasters don't. Schoolteachers don't. My friends didn't. We talked about girls but not love. Conversations about love - real love - are thin on the ground, especially when you consider that every day we buy a million love songs and read a million love stories.

... ...

The more I paid attention to love, the more I realized how necessary love is. Love is an essential growth ingredient in your life. From conception, love is helping to birth you into the world. The study of evolutionary psychology recognizes that love is a basic growth medium of cells. Love matters, because when children are loved it influences the central dogma of their DNA, develops their nervous systems, and helps to build their brains.1 Love helps to us to grow, and not just in the early stages of our life, but in every stage thereafter. Scientists tell us that this is true not just for humans but for other animals too.2

When you remember the basic truth "I am loveable," this helps you to evolve in the direction of love. When you choose love, you prosper. Conversely, when you believe the basic fear "I am not loveable," you stop growing in the direction of love.

... ....

My view of love was expanding. Love wasn't just about girlfriends, romance, and sex anymore. Love wasn't just an emotion. Love wasn't just about family or the people you like. I began to see that love is about everything - that it's about our whole life. When you make love your purpose, you are fulfilling your destiny. You didn't come here to make yourself into somebody; you came here to be what you already are, which is the presence of love. That's what's meant to happen, but then we take the detour into fear and get distracted and lost. Now we have to turn to love again, so as to be saved and so that we can keep on loving and being loved.

... ...

The real work of your life is to know how to love and be loved. This is our shared purpose. It is the purpose of your life and the purpose of humanity. Despite what you have been taught, the purpose of existence is not solely to grow more dollars, more yen, and more Euros. Your real employment is not to acquire job titles, conquer the market, and kill the opposition. The goal of your life is not to inflate yourself into an ego that is bigger, smarter, or more powerful that another ego. None of this is real. These are all trivial pursuits. How would it really profit you if you gained the whole world and you forgot about love along the way?"

Extracted from Chapter 3 of Loveability: Knowing How to Love and Be Loved, Robert Holden, Ph.D., (Hay House, Inc. 2013).

1. Love and science. Read Sue Gerhardt, Why Love Matters: How Affections Shapes a Baby's Brain (New York: Routledge, 2004); also David Hamilton, Why Kindness Is Good for You (Carlsbad, CA, Hay House, 2010); also Helen Fisher, Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love (New York: Henry Holt and Company 2004).

2. Love and animals. American psychologist Harry Harlow is known for his research on rhesus monkeys. He famously said, "If monkeys have taught us anything it's that you've got to learn how to love before you learn how to live." In This Week, March 3, 1961. For more information, read Harry F. Harlow, "The Nature of Love," American Psychologist 13, no. 12 (December 1958), pp. 673-685

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