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Love is More Than a Four Letter Word

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Long before it was a song, the saying was a part of our conversation - and it's especially appropriate during February, the month of love:

Love makes the world go round.

With all this whirling, love can make you feel off balance and dizzy. Sometimes it's tricky tolove is more than a 4 letter word keep your personal world turning without having it spin totally out of control. Although our focus is most often on romantic love, there are many different kinds of love that help keep us grounded. We can be fully engaged and filled with pleasure loving a friend, an idea, a place, an experience. For the essence of love in your life, think about including these:

Love who you're with. When Stephen Stills sang, If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with, he was thinking about affection and passion with a sexual partner. But you can achieve another kind of oneness with others in your life. Dear friends share emotional intimacy, commitment and trust as well as a sense of playfulness. Don’t you feel loyal and loving to old friends in a way that celebrates your closeness? And family, with its roots and continuity, can provide feelings of security that allow you to open up to love. When you express gratitude to your family for what they have given you and forgive them for what they have not, you feel more connected and altruistic.      

Love where you are. Whether you live in the city or countryside, hills or flatlands, inland or along the shore, there is beauty to be found around you. As you explore more of your environment, you may find yourself drawn to the serenity of your natural surroundings or to the energy of your community. When you engage and become involved, you'll experience the thrill and deep satisfaction that comes from a heartfelt connection. Nurturing your spirituality can also create feelings of awe and dedication that deeply touch you emotionally.

Love what you do. Whatever it is you do each day - a job outside the home, a hobby, volunteer work, caring for your aging parents or growing children - you'll be more fulfilled if you're immersed in it. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi coined the term flow for the experience of focused involvement in an activity. In flow, you have a greater sense of clarity and timelessness, with your passion becoming its own reward. Challenge yourself to live a meaningful life to its fullest by creating flow, knowing that you can accomplish your goals. And experience love by making a commitment to act on what you feel.  

Love who you are. It's not always easy to love yourself, is it? Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies, seeing our faults more clearly than our strengths. Other times we over estimate our strong points, seeing ourselves through rose-colored glasses. Two thousand years ago, Socrates entreated each of us to Know Thyself. Your challenge today is to recognize your authentic being. When you embrace your frailties and at the same time encourage your growth and the development of your abilities, you can begin to truly love yourself. Learn to feel comfortable in your own skin - accept and be true to who you are.

Enjoy your love. Celebrate whatever are the object of your affections - those that bring a smile to your face and a flutter to your heart. The great sense of pure happiness and energy springing from such love can keep you warm the rest of the season.

© 2012, Her Mentor Center

Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D. and Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. are family relationship experts with solutions if you're coping with marital stress, acting out teens, aging parents, boomerang kids or difficult daughters-in-law. Visit for practical tips. And log on to to sign up for a complimentary eZine and eBook, Courage and Lessons Learned: Reaching for Your Goals.

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Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. and Rosemary Lichtman, Ph.D.have over 40 years of collective private practice experience as psychotherapists.
As family relationship experts, they have developed a 4-step model for managing change. Whether you're coping with stress, acting-out teenagers, aging parents, boomerang kids or difficult daughters-in-law, they offer solutions that will make family rifts disappear.
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