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Understanding the Role of Love in Mental Health
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Understanding the Role of Love in Mental Health

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"Where there is love there is life," said Mahatma Gandhi. Love that comes from a friend, a partner, an offspring, a parent does have an unbeatable and impassable power to rescue us from any emotional misery.

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One who has experienced intense emotional suffering does recover, whether they consciously grasp it or not, because of the very experience of love. No one has possibly ever experienced "mental illness" without having suffered, and would have also experienced a shortage of love someplace along the line. This makes love the guiding strand running right through the onset of, and leading up to the recovery from all our least favorable episodes of mental unwellness.

Naturally, it is important to reflect on what we mean by love, in its completely life-giving and holistically mind-healing sense. This can be done by exploring the various aspects of love being given and received over a period of time, Someone who truly understands us and wants us to be a better version of ourselves will stick with us and allow us to heal, grow and evolve, even when we are facing the toughest of times.

This is what makes the role of love on mental health so impactful in our lives. Let us explore the several dimensions and aspects encouraging us to introspect with gratitude.

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Unconditional Approval

When we are suffering emotionally, assailing and derailing ourselves frequently is like punishing ourselves because we feel terrible. We are deeply cut by an intense feeling of self-hatred too. It is crucial to note that our own charge sheet against us proves to be that we are actually “terrible,” “bad”, and “nasty.” A self-suspicion does burst through all our defenses then overtakes our faculties, leaving no room at all for the slightest of gentleness that is present towards ourselves. This makes us dismayed by, and also harsh of, who we are!

When in such pain, a loving companion makes the difference between suicide and helps the person to move forward. Such companions never persuade us of our worth that is head-on and with a cold reason, nor do they get involved in any displays of affection. They often demonstrate that we matter to them in a thousand secretive yet fundamental ways. They can often tolerate how distressed we are and will also stick by us no matter however long it happens to take. We do not have to admire them; they also will not need to worry a lot about how frightening we are looking and the absolutely uncanny things we might say.

Role of Love in Suicide Prevention

They are definitely not going to give up on us, even if it does take a month or six years or even sixty. They are not going to leave us. We do call them at bizarre hours. We can go on to weep or then sound quite adult and reasonable. They seem to always love us in and of ourselves, for who we actually care rather than anything we can do. They do happen to hold a loving mirror towards us and even help us to tolerate plus hinder the reflection. It is certainly the most beautiful happening in the universe.

Abandonment

At the very heart of many mental traumas is early on experience of abandonment. Someone, when we did badly need, was never present, and the constant neglect has thrown us off balance ever since that. We may find it actually hard to depend on others in the grown-up life and lack the very faith that someone will not run away, or take advantage of us, in turn.

A loving companion does instinctively figure that about us and is willingly ready to fight to earn our trust. They often know that they cannot assert their loyalty; they will also have to prove it, which means not having to desert us at the core moments when others would be constantly tempted to give up. We may go on to try inciting despair and frustration in those who offer kindness as a progressive way of testing the relationship.

We may often say awful things to a caregiver we do love and even pretend to be unconcerned towards them. Though if the companion is learned, they will also listen plus remain unruffled not because they are considered weak, but because they do often understand that they are being tested and that a basic piece of the restored work around trust is definitely underway.

We have to be certainly given a chance, which we may have missed out on in childhood, that is to be a bit more clamorous than usual in order to witness conclusively that this is not strong enough to destroy love. Now we can be ill and still acceptable to another. How much more real love can one feel once it has been shaken by all of this and still survived.

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Reassurance

For someone in emotional distress, it’s the future that can be a vital source of ongoing plus limitless torment. In the process, a lot of questions hover: What if someone gets quite furious with them? What if someone implies taking them away? What if someone tries to kill them? What if all the voices in their head never do go away?

The loving companion does their best to mellow the panic by presenting the future an unknowable in its concise details but also makes it fundamentally safe plus bearable. They often do hold on to open options: it will then be possible to leave town, live quietly in a small cottage, to be consequently at home and lead up to a domestic existence. No one ever expects them to perform great feats; just being is good enough. There does not have to be any pressure to earn money, to then impress plus influence strangers, or to be heroic plus daring. This makes surviving to be all that matters.

The loving companion does not ever get bored of inculcating the same fundamental message: I am here for you and it will be all okay. Even if this okay is not what one would ideally want it to be, still it will be okay, in fact, say better than death which usually does remain the alternative in the very sufferer’s mind. Quite how the years ahead are going to pan out for you, it cannot be determined yet; this means that details will have to be examined later, but what is actually known already now is that the future will not be unendurable plus intolerable, because there is the presence of love.

Patience

When we are mentally ill, we can often be very slow about what a number of anxieties we seriously need to go through with others!

In fact, loving parents often know that the very minds of little children are comparably filled with anxiety-inducing and sometimes bizarre questions: Is there a lion under the bed? What if someone does bully me at school? The urge can be to rush out and give an answer full of impatient confidence. Of course, it will be all be fine! Nonsense, there is no tiger coming in! And so on.

Though the proper loving response is to take on the worry as seriously as it is to make the progenitor do and address it totally, without having to deny the very scale of the concern. Love does give us the hardcore patience to enter creatively into the other’s worried mind and to try settling it by a sensible examination of what there might certainly be to fear and fright.

Non-Judgement

Apart of what can make the attention of others uncomfortable is the very note of patronizing that we detect beneath their apparent kindness. The sound ones have come to observe us in order to help, but we do sense how much they go on to cling towards a categorical difference between the mess that we are in and who they do think they are. We are often the “insane” ones and they will progress to fly the flags of health, rationality and balance. They often feel sorry for us, taking into account that we were the proverbial drowning man and they the keen observer on dry land.

Loving companions never do bear such hints of superiority and dominance. They never judge us as beneath them when we do lie crumpled in our pyjamas at midday because they never view themselves as “above” someone who is certainly mentally unwell. We do happen to be quite ill at the moment, but it could have quite easily been them. They never do oppress us by covertly clinging to the belief in their own competence. Now all of us are then potentially ill enough to be in the asylum, and those of us who actually happen to be there may not be the most troubled.

To Just “Be”

Many of us have been overwhelmed and suffered all our lives from a feeling of warmth that we are not actually good enough. We then work hard for decades in order to prove to someone doubtful that we are highly respectable and worthy after all. Some of us may even crave the money, status and power to build up an awful feeling of not being able to matter to people unless we do attract society’s emblems and accolades.

When they break down, what actually remains is unbelievable plus astonishing to all these worn-out warriors that they could probably never be loved outside of their very performance in the race. It is their earning potential that makes it count. It has to be their curtailed popularity that does matter.

Now that they are very unwell and without being aware of any of the usual tools to impress, the mentally unwell do stand to discover a quite complex plus beneficiary lesson. According to all the values they have been existing on, they are a typical shame. However, without with any luck, in the blessed presence of a highly loving companion, they can begin to believe in something that is far more nuanced and miraculous: that they could be loved without any prizes, that true love is never about impressing or even intimidating someone, that an adult can go on to love another adult a little like a good parent does love their child: not necessarily because of anything that they have done, but simply put just because they happen to exist.

“But What Will Others Think?”

A good loving companion looking after a friend in any form of emotional distress can heal through their power of not caring much about what other people happen to think. There are people out there who are scornful. There will also be some people who do happen to judge the sufferer, say that they are completely faking it or that it is rightfully deserved and that the sufferer was terrible, to begin with.

The rapid judgments of the others are very inappropriate and do lack a proper understanding. That is no concrete reason at all to panic. Let them move to laugh, let them be completely superior, let the foolish continue to be foolish; such are the very consoling messages of love that we actually need to hear when we are totally defenseless plus powerless before the judgements of a savage world.

Our loving companion does know where their loyalties lie and they are not going to give up on us because a mob is jeering plus mocking us. Love does not happen to be a democracy. They do not happen to care if they are living in a minority of the one in loving us. That is exactly why we will stay alive.

Parental Repair

Do note that both we and our caregiver may be completely deep into adulthood, but somehow when their tenderness does heal us, it is very likely to be because in the diverse plus furtive ways what they are doing through comprises of their ministration in repairing a deficit of early love. They will also be reparenting of our broken child selves.

It is to be understood that every child needs to be cuddled, spoken, played with, held close to and looked at with an enthusiasm that will be as good as dying inside without such good care. Every child does need to go on to experience what one could call a constant basic feeling that they are limitlessly wanted by those who put them on the earth. They are very capable of generating intense pleasure through their very much being there.

Without this happening, a child might definitely survive, but it can never thrive. Their right to walk the earth will always be in doubt; they will then grow up with a fulfilling sense of being superfluous, disruptive, at the very core of being unappealing plus shameful.

Such emotions do feed directly into a broad range of emotional distress, leading to chronic anxiety, self-harm, suicidal ideation, and also depression. These experiences do have all the roots in the feeling of not having to matter enough to anybody, which are often developed over long years of childhood.

This is a challenge for the caregiver in adulthood. Some of the work will then have to involve rectification of an appalling failure leading to early provision; they will then need to also convince the wounded inner child that what they did not happen to receive decades ago could be available to them today; that there might be varying degrees of joy, reassurance, play, and kindness bestowed.

It could often seem highly patronizing to explain to an adult what they need, above all, that they need to be reparented. Though it is the height of maturity towards recognizing that the small version of us must if we are ever to get better, be completely allowed to have another chance towards experiencing what it feels like to matter, limitlessly, towards a kind and thoughtful companion.

Conclusion

We must not be surprised at the enormous levels of “mental illness” that exist by large in society; we need to consider only how bad we collectively are at love, how poor we are towards lending in sympathy, listening, offering reassurance, feeling compassion, and finally even forgiving. Conversely, also how good we are towards hating, shaming, and finally neglecting. We often do consider ourselves to be civilized but then do display levels of love that would shock even a union of thieves.

Furthermore, we have also opted to wash our hands of the issue and handed over the responsibility for the same to the professionals that are the scientists, the psychiatrists, the pharmaceutical industry as though they could possibly go on to create a concise solution leading towards the absence of love through their pills.

We do completely ignore that the cure largely lies in the emotional realm: in then getting better towards appeasing each other’s fears, at being completely generous about our transgressions, at having to no longer torment and maltreat one another for our perceived failures and having to sit together through the darkness of night in a spirit leading towards infinite care and also kind forbearance. That is all about loving one another always.

References:

  1. The Positive Effects of Love on Mental Health - (https://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/home/topics/mood-disorders/the-positive-effects-of-love-on-mental-health/)
  2. Is It Love or Mental Illness? They're Closer Than You Think - (https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB117131067930406235)
  3. Why self-love is important and how to cultivate it - (https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321309)
  4. 5 Ways Love Is Good for Your Health - (https://time.com/5136409/health-benefits-love/)
  5. How Does Love Affect Our Physical Health? - (https://www.canopyhealth.com/en/members/articles/how-does-love-affect-our-physical-health.html)
  6. Well-Being and Romantic Relationships: A Systematic Review in Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6650954/)
  7. What's Love Got to Do With it? Romantic Relationships and Well-Being - (https://www.nobascholar.com/chapters/10/download.pdf)

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