When I was a boy the conversation went something like this: “Mom, does dad love me?”
“Of course he does son, in his own way.”
“Then why doesn’t he show it or tell me he loves me?
“He just can’t son, but trust me he does.”
As a young adult the conversation would often go like this: “John, do you love me?”
“Sure I do. You know I do.”
“Then why don’t you ever tell me you love me?”
“Why do you keep asking me? I’m here ain’t I?”
A whole lot of people – young and old – don’t get loved the way they need. Many good people try to practice the “Golden Rule” when it comes to love: “Do unto others the way you would have them do unto you.” Not bad! But what happens as they treat you the way they want to be treated, loved, adored, cherished and respected?
So for some time (though I have failed many times) I try to practice what I call “The Platinum Rule:” Do unto others the way they have been longing probably their whole lives.
In other words, send your loved ones and show your loved ones the love they need instead of the way we wanted to be love by our mothers, fathers, lovers, ex-girlfriends, or past husbands, wives, and yes, even our children.
When I ask my clients who are wrestling with love, “How do you want to be loved?” More often than not (especially men) will say, “I don’t know. No one has ever asked me that question and I’ve never asked myself.”
Then I might say, “Have you ever asked your loved ones how they want to be loved?”
“No, but they all know I love them in my own way.”
One client said, “Well I don’t want to tell them how I want to be loved. They should know after all this time. If you have to ask, then it doesn’t count.”
One time I said in response, “If I ask you to buy a new Volvo and you say yes and you do, do you think I’m going to say take it back because I had to ask you?” Hell, no! I’ll drive it with a smile.
“Alright then,” as we say in the South:
- Become aware of how you want to be loved.
- Ask your loved ones how they want to be loved.
- Tell everyone you really love what makes you feel loved.
- Occasionally ask your loved ones this question: “How well am loving you?”
And then, to quote the great American wise man, James Taylor, “Shower the people you love with love…”