VALENTINE'S DAY: WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?Written by Pauline Wallin, Ph.D.
VALENTINE'S DAY: WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?
By Pauline Wallin, Ph.D. Author, "Taming Your Inner Brat: A Guide for Transforming Self-defeating Behavior"
The perfect card, perfect gift, perfect date . . . Isn't there enough pressure in relationships without having to live up to some romantic ideal on Valentine's Day?
This is not how celebration of February 14 started out. Its origins stem from Pagan and Christian history. Back then there were feasts celebrating fertility, and later there was recognition of St. Valentine (whose actual existence is questioned by some experts) who secretly performed marriage ceremonies for soldiers when emperor had forbidden it. But there were no TV commercials depicting models with perfect bodies and perfect teeth giving each other chocolates and back rubs. Valentine's Day back then was not a test of how good a lover you were.
Modern relationships are difficult enough without having to stage a major performance on a designated day. Men agonize over greeting card racks, hoping that they can choose a card that is not too funny, not too mushy. And gift: how will she interpret it? If I buy her chocolates will she think I want her to get fat? If I don't buy her chocolates will she think I assume she is fat? Is gift too extravagant? Is it too impersonal? Are roses too predictable?
This is not what love is all about. Love is much more complex than flowers and chocolates. Social psychologists have been studying interpersonal attraction and love for almost four decades, and they still haven't figured it out completely. What is known, however, is that love relationships are multi dimensional. Sexual attraction, or what some people call "chemistry" is only one ingredient of a love relationship, and often not even most important one.
Distinctions have been made between passionate love and companionate love. Passionate love is an intense longing for other person. It is accompanied by extreme feelings: ecstasy when things are going well, and despair when things are rocky. Passionate love is also characterized by physical sensations, such as rapid heartbeat and "butterflies" in stomach.
Discerning The Loving Heart Written by Margaret Paul, Ph.D,
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Title: Discerning The Loving Heart Author: Margaret Paul, Ph.D. E-mail: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright: © 2003 by Margaret Paul Web Address: http://www.innerbonding.com Word Count: 663 Category: Relationships
DISCERNING THE LOVING HEART By Margaret Paul, Ph.D.
How often have you had experience of connecting with someone – a friend or a potential partner – who turns out to be an uncaring person? At first you think this is a really good person, and then down line you discover that person is self-centered, narcissistic, angry and uncaring. You wonder how you could be so wrong, and what can you do differently next time?
I have discovered in my 35 years of counseling that people seem to decide very early in their lives whether or not they want to care about and have compassion for others’ feelings. As a result, people have different levels of willingness to feel others’ feelings. Some of us deeply feel others’ pain and joy, while other people don’t. Some people can recall caring about others’ pain and joy from a very young age, while other people remember being concerned mostly with their own feelings and needs.
The people who have chosen deeper level of compassion are often ones that become caretakers, while less compassionate people become takers. Caretakers are people who have learned to take responsibility for others’ feelings and well-being, while takers are people who expect others to take responsibility for their feelings and well-being and often blame others when they don’t take on this responsibility.
If you are a compassionate person who easily feels others’ feelings, you might find yourself drawn to people who are in pain. Your compassionate heart naturally wants to help those people who are in pain, not only out of caring, but also because their pain is painful to you. The problem is that this person might not care about your feelings as much as you care about his or hers.