Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, February 06, 2019
By Todd D. Giardina, PH. D

Just that word provoked a reaction in you. Assumptions and expectations popped up. (Maybe some resentments too.)How do you feel about love? Is love equated with sex or romance? Is it something you’ll never have and somehow you feel cursed? Is it a feeling reserved only for a few or given away freely? Is love a noun or a verb for you?

I love you. Sight unseen. Simply because you are a fellow human. And you haven’t gravely hurt me or someone I care about. So there. We start from a place of love. Like innocent until proven guilty. Loved until proven unlovable.

And it takes a hell of a lot for me to find you unlovable. I am trained in empathy. I understand people. And understanding is an antidote to hate. You may not always be my favorite companion, but I can find you lovable in some way if I comprehend your motives.

You can see I have a liberal view of love. Because I understand that there are levels and layers. I don’t love you the way I love my wife (romantically) or daughter (paternally). And I love you differently than my closest friends (with whom I’ve shared time). Or my brother (the sibling bond). And there is of course a unique love for my patients (the doctor role, somewhat paternal, maintaining professionalism). Or the love for my pets (unconditional like their love for me).

So many grey areas. So many ways to show or express love. But all with that same name.

And lest we forget love of self (narcissistic, brutally critical, self serving). I’m with me more than I’m with anyone else. So this love is deep and always. And also complicated because I witness all my actions and hear all my thoughts. (And it’s tough to love someone when you’ve seen all their raw, ugly moments). But still, I love me more than I love you. And differently than I love my daughter or my brother.

Message: Love is many things. But it is in all things. Or it can be. Don’t be stingy with your love. Saying it or showing it.

Much love,
Dr G

PS Valentine’s Day is about love. And hearts. (And chocolate and greeting cards). But it doesn’t have to just be about dates and sex and fancy dinner. Give a gift to someone you love, or spend some time with them. No need for heart shaped teddy bears. Just an expression of love.

PPS  Love and gratitude are close relatives. 🙂 


What reaction does the word LOVE provoke in you?
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