Can We Feel Love All the Time?

This is the fifth post of advice from Opening to Love 365 Days a Year by Judith Sherven, PhD, and James Sniechowski, PhD.

When you love someone you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility.

   — Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Lots of people imagine that when they love someone they will feel that rich, warm passion every minute of the day. They believe that they will never feel angry or bored or doubtful. But that’s simply not true.

Loving someone is a journey that spans the gamut of human emotions and life experiences. If we were bedazzled every waking minute, we’d never be able to attend to a sick child or conduct a business meeting. We’d never sleep or gaze at the stars. Lasting love is ultimately a commitment, a CHOICE to continue loving someone “through good times and bad, sickness and health.”

Throughout your activities today, check in with yourself from time to time. Notice whether or not you are thinking about your beloved, or feeling loving feelings. If so, fine. If not, does the lack of loving focus mean you’ve lost interest? You want to move on to someone else? Probably not. Chances are, it just means your attention is on your day’s events. Period.

Reinforce today’s ideas by saying this to yourself:

I know I won’t feel love all the time.

Have You Read the Contract Hidden in Your Marriage License?

Unspoken expectations may be at the root of marriage conflict

Wedding ringsBeen surprised lately by disagreements with your spouse or partner — over things that you thought were already settled in your favor? If so, you may be unaware of an unconscious “contract” to which you thought you were both agreeing when you signed your wedding license and said your vows.

Unfortunately, both of you are operating from a set of ground rules that are not the same. That is because the “contract” upon which each of you are operating has three kinds of expectations:

Expectations that are verbalized. These are the desires and needs that are discussed openly, although your partner may not always clearly understand the full ramifications of what you are really saying.

Expectations that are conscious but not verbalized. These are the parts of your contract that you are aware of but don’t tell your spouse because you fear he or she will get angry, disapprove, or think they’re silly or unreasonable.

Expectations that are unconscious or only vaguely understood by you. You become aware of these expectations when the other person says or does something you don’t like and it throws your relationship out of kilter in some unfathomable way you can’t clearly explain — but you sense the other person isn’t doing what they “should.”

You can learn more about your hidden contracts and their effect on your relationship in an article titled “Marriage’s Invisible Contract.”

Then explore your contracts further by playing the Marriage Contract Game and learn what you and your partner expect from one another. It can be a major step in improving your relationship.

The Unexpected Consequence of a Curious Mind

Curiosity can be good for you!

John Tenniel - Illustration from The Nursery Alice (1890) - 066110Research shows that curiosity improves learning and memory for things we are not even interested in.

From nursery school through graduate school we try to give the “correct” answers on tests. While those answers may have validity, if they are the only things we learn, our lives are limited to what someone else decides we should know or think. Unfortunately, we aren’t taught to ask questions that would expand what we learn.

That is why I was pleased to read an article in Psychology Today titled “The Secret Benefits of a Curious Mind.”

It reinforced the idea behind my second book, Ask Yourself Questions and Change Your Life, which is that when we learn to ask questions, we expand our understanding of the world beyond what we have learned in school and have acquired from the limited experience of family and friends.

In fact, a recent study in the field of cognitive neuroscience from the University of California provides surprising insights into the interesting link between asking ourselves questions — which is curiosity about ourselves — and other learning and memory. In other words, there is now solid evidence that, in the very act of being curious, we can learn things we hadn’t even intended to learn. It is as though curiosity begets curiosity.

The article quotes Albert Einstein as saying, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” In other words, he attributed his intelligence and success to having a curious mind. Now it seems that there is evidence that we, too, can improve our minds simply by being curious!

So if you are curious about learning more about recent research on the topic, check out the Psychology Today article for evidence that a curious state of mind improves learning and memory for things we are not even interested in.

How Little of the World Any of Us Sees

Today’s featured video explores the concept of “onism”

If you’ve been following the blog the last month or so, you will have seen a couple of videos by John Koenig. He is the creator of “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows,” a compendium of invented words to express something for which ordinary dictionaries don’t have a word.

The one I want to share today is “onism” — the awareness of how little of the world we will ever experience.

In explaining this, he says:

Imagine standing in front of the departures screen at an airport, flickering over with strange place names like other people’s passwords, each representing one more thing you’ll never get to see before you die — and all because, as the arrow on the map helpfully points out, you are here.

That was definitely my experience when I went on that trip to Portugal and Spain in April. All those places to visit; so few are places I’ve been or will ever be. I guess I’ll just have to enjoy where I am as well as I can.

After the video, the author commented on the YouTube page:

Imagine how much more rich and satisfying it would be to have TWO bodies, not just one—so you could escape yourself for a while and live on either sides of the planet, or take a step back and see yourself whole, in full context with the rest of the world, with your face the right way around, your eyes unflattened, just as vivid as you appear to other people. It would be like those rapturous moments when one of your ears becomes unclogged and you can suddenly hear in stereo.