Love is something we experience with our emotions


Quick summary: This sounds very obvious – what is less understood is that many people impact their ability to love by using logic and other defenses to guard themselves from the suffering that love can bring. As a couples therapist I can suggest that when you guard yourself from being emotionally impacted from your partner, you often unintentionally make your partner less important to you… it seems that it is virtually impossible to love someone if you have successfully protected yourself from being emotionally responsive to your partner… in making your emotions concerning an your partner ‘unimportant’ you in turn make your partner ‘unimportant’. There are many different ways to interact with our environment… in different time periods and in different cultures we find that one interaction or organizational tool is used with greater frequency and value than another tool (hearing, vision, logic, being mindful, and using emotion etc are examples of ‘interaction or organizational tools’). Currently logic seems to be in favor though I am both excited and hopeful that other tools seem to be gaining popularity. The point of all this is simple – with the tendency for our culture to favor the use of logic many people are finding themselves falling out of love with their partners. Often this is do to an individual’s conscious or unconscious intention to protect themselves from the vulnerabilities which are inherent in being emotionally available… though such a method is useful in certain professional functions and though it is indeed a safeguard against certain types of suffering, the method creates a problem itself… using logic to trump emotions seems to disable some of your ability to love… an inability to love often creates a suffering which can neither be fully understood nor resolved by logic… perhaps the explanation for this is simple… you don’t hear with your eyes, you don’t see with your mouth, and you don’t experience love with your logic…so again… Love is something we experience with our emotions.

To be clear, one way in which love is inherently painful is the existential truth that anything that exist can cease to exist… love exists within the dialectic of being infinitely alive and infinitely dead at the same time.

“We all fear love for we all fear losing the love.”

Much of this dilemma is tied to dialectics (again there are many definitions for this term – I have blended many of the definitions for my personal philosophical investigations. I tend to look at dialectics as being the ironic opposite of dichotomies. Dichotomies suggest ‘either or’… black and white thinking… you are either bad or you are good… it is with dichotomous thinking that we created what we refer to as opposites. Dialectics suggest ‘both and’… everything is infinitely everything thinking… you are bad and good and in order for bad to exist there must be good… the very nature of everything is the coexistence of what we call opposites at the same time. A simplified example of a dialectic would be stealing… stealing is good for the one who obtained the needed goods for free and bad for the individual who lost for no gain.)

Using dialectics I can suggest this – If love is happiness love is also suffering… there is no happiness without suffering and there is no suffering without happiness – on a deeper level, which is way beyond my current intellect, it would seem that apparent opposites are fundamentally the very same thing.

“The sharpness of pain is the cornerstone of passion”

To live with the full potential of love you must open yourself up to both the pain and the joy which is inherent in love.

When you cut off your reception to feeling painful emotions you cut away at your ability to experience love.

As we try and experience love while guarding our self from the pain that being emotionally available creates…  we find that that thing we call ‘love’ is no longer particularly important to us… we become altogether un-reactive to this ‘love.’

If you are emotionally un-reactive to your partner then what interactional tool are you using to experience the ‘love’ in your relationship?

Love is much like life – it is a roller coaster of inexplicable experiences – I hold gratitude that my current conscious existence has feelings to experience the greater collective existence… I hold gratitude for my suffering and my happiness… it is within such experiences that I gain a certain understanding and enjoyment of love and life itself.

My grandmother’s motto was to never be bored… this is truly helpful advice… and to do so I would suggest opening your self up to love – love is many things at the same time, but it is rarely boring when left uninhibited.


We often grow from nurturing and suffering… we rarely grow from avoidance.


Many suggest that life is love… if we block ourselves from experiencing the ups and downs of love do we also block ourselves from experiencing life itself?

William Hambleton Bishop is a practicing therapist in Steamboat Springs Colorado.

William Hambleton Bishop

William Hambleton Bishop is a practicing therapist in Steamboat Springs Colorado.

6 thoughts on “Love is something we experience with our emotions

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