Loving is a Skill (Synopsis Only)

LoveSkill-babyhand2573The Premises for this Project Title:

(1) Even though “love” is something so talked and written about in our culture, many people really don’t seem to have a clue what “love” is[1];

(2) in order to “know what love is” you need to have experienced it (or enough of it) as a child or to have had “remedial training” in it as an adult, because “love” is an “experiential thing”, not a conceptual or intellectual idea;

(3) many of us grew up in families with parents and other relatives who themselves didn’t know how to love, so they weren’t able to “teach” it (really the right language would be “didn’t know how to give it” or “didn’t know how to model it”);

(4) you’re not likely to be open to “remedial training” in “learning how to love and be loved” as an adult unless you have some awareness that you “don’t know how to love” or at least “have room for improvement;

(5) it very easy to be clueless about one’s shortcomings in the “love” area (as it is in most areas), because we humans are so capable of creating mental defenses[2] in our minds against the reality of our skills and lack of skills.

The goals of this project would be two-fold:

(A) to help readers to open up to exploring the possibility that they might not “know how to love” or might have a lot of misconceptions about what love is and about how to express and receive love; and

(B) to offer strategies and practices to help readers really “get” that “loving is a skill” and inspire hope and motivation in the reader to practice these practices.[3]

This would NOT be a “touchy feely” project with a lot of “new agey” or pseudo-religious or spiritual ideas.  It will be grounded in the belief (based on science) that “unconditional love” is a biological function, necessary for healthy human development[4].

The book would be a “research and story book”, with TSH’s “learning to love” story as the introduction, but primarily grounding the book in easily accessible summaries from “secure attachment” and evolutionary psychology research as to the biological nature of love and caring, and how it gets “adapted” into “psychological defenses” and “insecure attachment patterns” of “impure love”, when one is not “loved” as an infant and young child by securely attached, optimally biologically functioning primary caregivers.

It would be ideal to collect stories of other adults who  realized at some point that they didn’t know how to love and  how they learned (and/or are learning) how to love.  The target audience would be directed at adults for themselves, rather than for improving one’s relationship.



[1]    TSH’s story of realizing he thought of himself as a “very loving person” but had a couple of experiences in his early 40’s that woke him up to the reality that he “didn’t have a clue” what “love” is, nor how to express it or receive it.

[2]    See book title The Cure for Defensiveness in the “What is the Range of Optimally Functional” section.

[3]    These are VERY tricky goals.  “Love” and talking about love in any meaningful way is dangerous territory.  Also there is some “chutzpah” in thinking one “knows what love is” and is capable of teaching others what “love is”, when it is such a loaded and “over-discussed” “over-philosophized” topic.

[4]     See The Purpose of Love in “The Nature of Human Relationships” section