Relationships

The Heart Of Love: Do We Have It Ass-Backwards?

 The Heart Of Love: Do We Have It Ass-Backwards?

“When I feel more loving, then I’ll be more loving, but right now I simply don’t feel like being very loving.”
This is one of the most destructive dysfunctional beliefs about love that has ever invaded the human psyche. 
It has destroyed millions of healthy marriages.It has undermined countless other thriving love relationships.

Just think for a moment of all the things in life that end up insidiously subverting the feelings of love that we have for the one we love.

 The Heart Of Love: Do We Have It Ass-Backwards?

By John R. Buri, Ph.D.
Created Oct 26 2010 – 8:36am

“When I feel more loving, then I’ll be more loving, but right now I simply don’t feel like being very loving.”
This is one of the most destructive dysfunctional beliefs about love that has ever invaded the human psyche. 
It has destroyed millions of healthy marriages.It has undermined countless other thriving love relationships.

Just think for a moment of all the things in life that end up insidiously subverting the feelings of love that we have for the one we love.

Here are just a few:

– fatigue

– a stressful day on the job

– a long drive home

– bills to pay

– an argument with a friend

– work we bring home with us

– the weather

The list could go on and on.

But none of these things is about the love you have for the one you love.  It’s just stuff. 

And when you hold onto the dysfunctional belief — “when I feel more loving, then I’ll be more loving” — you end up giving this mere stuff the power to zap the love in your relationship.

The truth is this — when you are not feeling very loving, but you nonetheless go ahead and sincerely treat the one you love fondly, tenderly, and affectionately, the feelings change — you end up feeling more loving.  [For those interested in research support for this reality, see the references below.]

Try it.  Even if you are not feeling particularly loving, BE loving toward the one you love.

Why would we spend time with the one we love, but not be loving? 

And yet this is what millions of women and men do every day.

“When I feel more loving, then I’ll be more loving” is dysfunctional.

It has the heart of love ass-backwards.

Is it any wonder that love is often such a fleeting experience?  

Literally hundreds of studies deriving from Festinger’s Cognitive Dissonance Theory and Bem’s Self-Perception Theory have revealed that an effective way to change how you are feeling is to change the way you are acting:

– if you want to be happier, then smile more and be more pleasant

– if you want to be more outgoing, then behave in a more sociable and talkative manner

– if you want to feel more loving, then be more affectionate.

For reviews of this literature, see:

Cooper, J. & Scher, S. J. (1994).  When do our actions affect our attitudes?  In S. Shavitt & T. C. Brock (Eds.), “Persuasions” (pp. 95-112).  Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Fazio, R. (1987).  Self-perception theory: A current perspective.  In M. P. Zanna, J. M., Olson, & C. P. Herman (Eds.), “Ontario Symposium on Personality and Social Psychology” (pp. 129-150).  Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers.

 

  

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