Understanding is scaffolded in part by our accumulated cultural metaphors. For better or for worse, I must confess that many of my internalized metaphors came from watching Star Trek. And these days I’m thinking a lot about Vulcans.
In so many couples, one person seems to be getting more than enough physical touch, the other partner is starved for more. In both cases, the parties involved often take the demands or rejection of the other very personally.
This got me thinking.
Does anyone know if there has ever been a study that is essentially the other end of the scale of the Harlow Monkey contact comfort experiment? In this study, researcher Harry Harlow effectively showed that physical contact with a soft mother was actually more important to the monkey than food.
Is sadness the opposite of happiness? Clinicians, do you have a real definition? It seems ridiculous, but I’m not entirely sure I know.
During some quiet time, my wife and I were sharing answers to a few of the questions I’d read while flipping through the Love Maps app from the Gottman Institute.
The question for me was, “What was your partner’s happiest moment?”
That one was a easy – our wedding day. If you saw the smile on her face that day, the choice was obvious. Her face literally hurt at the end of the day. We talked about why that day made her happy. She talked about feelings of love, joy, accomplishment, and even relief. Like I say, an obvious choice.
But then the obvious discussion point coming back to me was “What was the saddest day in your life?” Continue reading
If you do a Google search on the phrase “you are perfect just the way you are,” you’ll turn up over a 100,000 occurrences! Oprah.com preaches it, musicians sings it – the phrase is deeply engrained in our culture. Countless self-help gurus and psychology professionals incorporate the phrase into their work and advice to others.
The problem is that we are not perfect and I believe that taking this truism too literally is eating away at our ability as a culture to maintain authentic relationships that grow and adapt over time.
Think about it. To claim we are perfect is to say that we no longer need to grow or change… ever. Like a painting hung in the Louvre, there is nothing that needs to be added or subtracted from our make-up. A literal interpretation of perfect implies done. And nothing could be further from the truth. We are not perfect paintings. Each of us is more like a rose – beautiful, elegant, amazing in our own way – but still in need of pruning and cultivating from time to time. And we need to grow always.