Do you sometimes find yourself yearning for an increase in the amount of love you experience? Would you like to take your love gauge – that digital adding machine somewhere in your psyche – and just turn it up a few notches? Would you like to experience more love intensity from more people with more frequency?
We all desperately want to feel better and better about ourselves, and we long for relationships in which we feel this way about who we are. After my nearly forty years as a clinical psychologist, having seen over 7,000 separate individuals in psychotherapy, eHarmony has concluded that the fundamental motivational principle for all of us is our desire to feel deeply good about ourselves.
And most of us are confident that when we get our love relationships in the right shape, we will indeed start feeling good about ourselves. We reason that it’s simple: If we get loved right, we will feel good.
Here’s where it gets tricky. It is a thousand times easier to form satisfying love relationships when we are released from the emotional straitjacket of trying so hard to get ourselves loved. The secret to growing the love in our lives is to learn how to help other people feel genuinely good about themselves in our presence. When they do, they will automatically love us.
Be sure to catch the unfolding logic. We need to be loved. People automatically love us when they feel good about themselves when they are around us. So our challenge is to help other people feel good about themselves every time they encounter us.
There are five principles to making this strategy work. At first, as you practice these secrets, they may seem a little awkward, but we guarantee that before you know it, your new style will become automatic for you. Here they are in a nutshell.
1) Approach every person in your life with an expectation that they have some wonderful attributes.
2) In every encounter with this person, look hard and listen intently for just one of these attributes.
3) If you need to, ask a question or two to lure one of these attributes to the surface.
4) As soon as you encounter one of these attributes, even a hint of one, reinforce it with attention – laughter, appreciation or respect.
5) As soon as you discover how to participate with another person so that, like a school of fish, these wonderful qualities swarm to the surface, catch the rhythm of helping them enjoy their best ways of being.
Some of you are absolute geniuses at this already. We don’t know how you did it, but we offer you our heartiest congratulations. And others recognize a need to build these secrets into your every day lives. It’s exciting to imagine what our lives and our world could be like if all of us could become great lovers of people.