Bare Health

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Lisa's thought for the week - How do you love?

How do you love?

 by Lisa Barlow

I’ve been observing and taking notes these past few years and I think I may have some observations that could help in understanding some of our most intimate relationships. I’ve noticed how most people ‘give’ that which they find most easy to give, me included.  Makes sense really doesn’t it? But I’ve also noticed this sometimes doesn’t mean much to the recipient if the person you’re ‘giving’ to doesn’t value the same thing, if their love map is different from yours (and this is quite possible considering we’re unique human beings. We know that love is an energy, not a thing, however it does become physically manifest by what we say and do in the world and with the people we choose to have in our lives. How you show love, how you give and receive affection says something about YOU, about YOUR map of the world. It does not tell me how someone else likes to be loved. ‘You’ve got to show me love’ sang Robin S, but what that looks like to me could be something completely different to you. Love me how I like to be loved. Tall order isn’t it? We all love differently. Can I still honour the soul in you even if we’re so very different? Can we make intimacy work? I believe we can if we want to. ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood’ wrote Stephen Covey in ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’.
When was the last time you communicated to your nearest and dearest what you needed from them in the ‘love’ stakes? It takes emotional courage for they may choose not to meet your love need, and that’s OK, they’re entitled. This is usually the point at which your being ‘in relationship’ is questioned. Do we care enough about another’s love map to want to love them how they wish to be loved? Maybe we do or maybe we don’t. Sadly, in my previous life as a Connexions Personal Adviser I worked with many an individual whose experience of relationships was far from ’loving’. In their worlds they and others would get their own needs met at any cost to another individual; physically, financially or emotionally and would title this ‘love’. Violence and abuse (in any form) is NOT love, regardless of how many times this word leaves the mouth of the individual saying it. In order for these destructive patterns to be broken, professional guidance may need to be sought.
For those who haven’t been subjected to such dysfunction throughout childhood but have never had any lessons in love either it’s worth considering the following questions:

  •      Can you love another how they LIKE to be loved?
  • Do you only love in the way you have been conditioned to love?
  • Do you try to get them to WANT to be loved HOW you love?

Some thinkers would say that the most important thing in life is to ‘give love’, and I also believe that understanding is a part of that love. All love starts with us so the relationship we have with ourselves is vitally important as this radiates out to others. Relationships are complex because human beings are complex; however, open communication helps to simplify them.  Maybe this is why we like dogs; they are simpler in the love stakes and less judgemental!

Challenge: Do you know HOW you love or how you prefer to be loved? Just notice.... x 

Lisa Barlow is Bare Health's resident Personal development Coach. If you would like to speak to her or make an appointment for a consultation please call Bare Health on 01260 408413.


  1. A really interesting piece Lisa, and such an important one. It is amazing how so few people invest time into relationships and more importantly how the way they love affects the recipient. I have been reading up on Attachment Theory and how that influences how you love in adult life, and that people give their love without considering why they love that way and whether it is appropriate for the receiver. I'm sure that this is one of the major factors in the breakdown of relationships and why the appeal of a dog increases.

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