Welcome to the archived web site of
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Psychologist (1950-2013)
California License No. PSY 10092
 
Specializing in Presence-Centered Therapy
balancing mind and heart, body and spirit

Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated
While Dr. Friedman is no longer with us, there are still many helpful resources on his site. Articles and resource links have been relocated to the top. His family hopes you might find them helpful. But since this site is no longer being updated, some links may no longer work.

 


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Articles by Dr. Friedman (except where noted otherwise)

Categorized by Process | Topic

From His Book | Meditations For Life | The Flow of Money, Business and Innovation | Transpersonal/Mind-Body | Approaches, Worldview and Will-isms

Skills For Life: The Core Playing Field | Free the Ego, and You Are Free | Feeling, Thought, Communication & Action

Strategies/Distinctions For Life: The Core Playing Field | Free the Ego, and You Are Free

Awakening Stories/Metaphors For Life: The Core Playing Field | Free the Ego, and You Are Free | The Way It Is

Holiday Family Gatherings | Cartoons, Jokes and Humor | Poems and Quotes | Song Lyrics, Wit and Wisdom

Holiday Family Gatherings

For Valentine's Day, Give Mature Love

© 2011 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

[Originally in The Sun, San Bernardino, California, Thursday February 14, 1991, page A7]


For Valentine's Day, give mature loves St. Valentine's Day only for infatuated, love-struck teenagers and young adults? Absolutely not! Can we, as a culture, grow enough emotionally to acknowledge and value mature love on this lovers' day? I'd like to say yes!

The historical roots of St. Valentine's Day are like love: hurt-prone, puzzling and joyous. The legendary Saint Valentine was not one, but two famous martyrs living in Rome in the third century. One was a physician-priest and the other was a bishop. Neither escaped the persecution of Christians at that time, resulting in their deaths on this date.

February 14th, meanwhile, was set aside as a lover's festival, commencing from at least the 14th century. By 1450, a valentine was a person of the opposite sex chosen on Feb. 14th as a lover, sweetheart or special friend for the coming year.

The custom of sending sentimental cards and gifts called valentines dates from the 16th century. This practice was not related to either of the two St. Valentines. In fact, these paper valentines might well have been the very first greeting cards.

This secular holiday has never quite made it to be a national holiday, although florists and candy makers might happily disagree. We'd sooner honor politicians that became presidents than the lover inside each of us. Considering that love is the lifeblood of our future as a civilization, our country has some peculiar priorities, indeed.

If popular culture as expressed in music, film and print media can be relied upon, what does it proclaim about love? We seem fascinated with themes of attraction, repulsion, sex, betrayal and reconciliation.

In "real life," most of us gravitate to individuals and get drawn into involvements that recreate the love we knew in our experience - no matter how hurtful and self-defeating or how radiant and life-validating it is. But, to borrow a line from Peggy Lee, "Is that all there is?"

I offer the following five levels of "love" as a useful mapping of emotional development in intimate encounters. Remember, you can only find the level of loving you're capable of giving:

  • Being "in like": There's clearly a comfort, attraction and enjoyment of another's interests, humor, manner and possibly values. It's fun and free, yet without depth, understanding or commitment.
     
  • "Falling in love": This level of "heart over mind" infatuation is usually blinded to realities, other than what one wants to perceive. Although it can be somewhat short-lived, it is oh so sweet, intense and magical for the child within us all.
     
  • "Being in love": This stage brings a greater depth of knowing, valuing and sharing another's life. Your mate actually looks like your true match. Your hearts beat together to the strongest inner pulse of mutual appreciation and cherishing.
     
  • "State of loving": A broadening of trust, honesty, knowingness and tenderness is present in this transforming relationship. This mature love is born of shared experiences - both trying times of major challenges and turmoil as well as delightful times of pleasures, successes and growth. The steel of this relationship has been tempered and sharpened, yielding an unconditionally warm acceptance. Further, there is undeniable respect, and often even mutual admiration.
     
  • "Love inhabiting us": This level of love transcends earthly limits, incorporating an abiding spiritual relationship to the Divine. Out of this communion of the spirit, a human communion reflecting our true nature blossoms. Beyond adequate expression in words, being inhabited by love shows itself as two souls rhyming in passionate fulfillment.

On the occasion of St. Valentine's Day and lovers' festival, it rings true that anyone I've ever unquestionably loved, I still love. It's only human, I imagine. Love doesn't, nor can it, die.

Each one of us can choose daily to keep love alive and well, and ascend this ladder of our love evolvement. On this day, let's honor those courageous individuals in committed relationships that arise to mature loving. Remember that when responsibly handled, it's simply not possible to love too much!


George Demont Otis         Silvery Morn

Friedman, of Redlands, is a writer and licensed psychologist practicing in Loma Linda. He also is associated with CPC Rancho Lindo Hospital in Fontana.

  
© 2011 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
 

 


Home | Dedication/Orientation | Articles by Dr. Friedman | Video and Audio Clips | Annotated Resource Links | Psychology Professionals

Dr. Will’s Perspective on Practicing Psychology: Dr. Friedman's Practice | Dr. Friedman's Approach | Therapeutic Purposes | Credentials | Experience | Brochures | Interview | Events and Workshops | Website Disclaimer | Contact