Have you had good enough love in your life? So much depends upon your earliest years be4efore your conscious memory has developed. What you experienced way back when can determine how you give and receive love - for the rest of your life - unless you make a concerted conscious effort to study the process of loving and bnbeing loved.

A prominent medical doctor, Dr. Dean Ornish, wrote a book in the 1990's called Love and Survival. He says that without love, connection, and intimacy, we are more likely to suffer and become ill. Without love, we do not thrive. Without love, we seem to just go through the motions of daily life, devoid of pleasure and excitement.

Although love creates the most profound feelings of peace and joy, most of us have not learned how to truly love our self or another. Relationships become a place to suffer. And believe it or not, that suffering begins with us - not the other person. Sure, of course, there are people we may become intimate with who have some very real psychological problems (anger, rage, depression, anxiety, emotional imbalance, chemical or other addictions) or some very real physical problems that may interfere with the enjoyment of our shared time together.

However, if you look around and observe the world around you, you may discover that

there are other people, living with very similar circumstances, who are coping quite differently from the way you are. Other people may have a higher or lower tolerance for pain or discomfort, a greater or lesser ability to accept human frailty, and a stronger or weaker sense of their own self worth - regardless of the attitudes and behaviors of others. Some people will bail out as soon as the going gets difficult. Others might remain loyal and connected way longer than what is beneficial to both partners.

None of us can truly judge another person's life choices. It is up to each and every one of us to find our own truth and live that truth to the best of our ability. Each and every one of us is unique, with our own specialized DNA, footprint, fingerprint, synaptic brain connections, upbringing, memories and dreams.

The following quote by American Indian Cho Quosh explains the difference.

"Soldiers act on others' truth. Warriors stand alone and find their own truth."

My question to you is this. In terms of your own sense of self worth, choice of friendships and lovers, and connection with an intimate life partner, are you a solder or a warrior? Are you living your life and making choices that ultimately affect you, based upon your own cultural teachings, parental beliefs, religious training, peer pressure, extended family warnings - or - are you making choices for yourself that enhance your sense of self-worth, self-acknowledgement, self-acceptance, self-appreciation and self-love? Are you making choices that enhance your innate passion and sensual aliveness?

Are you making choices that expand your comfort zone and increase your sense of spiritual connection?

David Schnarch, Ph.D., wrote a powerful book in the 1990's about relationships called Passionate Marriage. He devotes an entire chapter to the warning concept "Intimacy is Not for the Faint of Heart." According to Schnarch, intimacy in long-term relationships and marriage may require validating our self rather than expecting to receive the mirroring, acceptance and validation from a partner. How we have been loved has a profound effect upon our ability to validate our self and share our love with others.

If we have had good enough mothering, a term coined by noted psychologist Winnicott, as well as good enough fathering, we may be able to overcome our dependency needs, differentiate from our intimate partners, and validate our own self - even and especially when our partner is not only not validating us but is actually criticizing, blaming and invalidating us which is bound to happen in any close relationship.

If we have not received good enough loving as a child, we will probably spend the rest of our life searching for the love and acceptance we never had. Because we have not learned to trust, we will probably tend to push others away, keeping them at a safe distance, afraid to show how much we need them. It is hard for even the most caring and patient partner to continually support someone who distrusts and feels unloved.

Isn't it worth the time and effort to find out all about the way you give and receive love?

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Erica Goodstone is a Healing Through Love Mentor who has helped thousands of men, women, couples, and groups to develop greater awareness of the issues in their relationships and their lives, to overcome and alleviate stressors and discords, and to revitalize their relationships and their own mind-body-spirit connection. Dr. Goodstone can be contacted through her web site at http://www.DrEricaWellness.com and you can take the Create Healing and Love Now Personal Assessment and get your free report at http://www.createhealingandlovenow.com.