Lewis, Amini, and Lannon (A
general theory of life) describe clearly the adverse impact of lacking love in
early childhood. Many survivors of abuse and neglect can attest to the
difficulties in mood regulation, distress tolerance, negative self-evaluation,
and even physical problems as a legacy of lack of love.
They propose that therapy is the
pathway to heal from such impoverished childhood environments. Although therapy
can be a pathway to heal past deficits of love, therapist and client would have
a deep heart connection for this to work. This highlights the need for finding
a therapist that engages with you in a positively charged ‘limbic dance’.
If we contend that love cures people,
we also need to acknowledge other sources of love: a loving partner, a loving
friend, loving family members, or the love received from your children. Having
said so, love given in these forms need to be received and taken in for healing
to occur. Thus loving and being loved is very much a mutual project in which
people are equally participating. This way love heals both the loved one and the
Vaillant describes his research
showed that people who had a stable marriage at the age of 50 were more likely
to have mental and physical health at the age of 80. A stable loving
relationship was an even stronger predictor than either exercise or weight!