Are you unlovable?

Couple at the Park

Of course not. What a horrible title for an article. Everyone is lovable. The question is, are you BEING lovable. That is something else. In order for me to explain what being lovable means, I have to first describe how I define love. There are few topics more written and sung about than love. It’s everywhere, and for good reason. It’s probably the most compelling issue for the human mind, which is a wonderful reality. To me though, love is a verb. It is an exchange of energy between two people. This energy takes the form of attunement (what we understand about another, what they understand about us) and nurturing (the behaviors that take care of another, the things the other person does to take care of us). When attunement and nurturing cycle back and forth, me to you, you to me, that is love. So there are a lot of different kinds of love but all have the same essential qualities. In order to be in love, you have to understand and appropriately respond to another person, and they to you.

Back to ‘being’ lovable. Sometimes our ability to exchange attunement and nurturing (the love energy flow) is blocked. It can be blocked when one person is not attuned enough to herself, to the point that she cannot possibly communicate her needs to her partner because she doesn’t know her needs. This interrupts the love exchange. Sometimes, as the case with antisocial and narcissistic personalities, the individual is unwilling to give understanding and nurturing to his partner. He is too caught up in keeping that energy in for himself, while at the same time he unfairly expects his partner to always be giving love to him. This person is also being unlovable. Perhaps one person cannot accept accommodation from his partner because doing so makes him feel selfish, or he is way too caught up in giving out to his partner’s needs. All these people are being unlovable in one way or another.

There are lots of ways that the love exchange gets interrupted, and we all have some interruptions and imbalances. Nevertheless, it is in our basic human psychological and social nature to love. In order to be more lovable, take the time to reflect on your own barriers and imbalances in the love exchange. Ask people who know you, “what blocks you from giving me attunement and nurturing?” “Do I refuse to let you understand me and take care of me?” “Have you received enough attunement and nurturing from me? If not, why not?”

Being lovable is a lot like being fit. We all have the capacity to achieve it, but sustaining it requires conscientious effort. Remember, how much you are loved has less to do with your personality and more to do with your exchange of relational energy. In the end, we are all lovable (but some of us are better looking than others and you just can’t get around that part).

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