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  • Fe Robinson

Healing love

“The truth is you cannot love yourself unless you have been loved and are loved.  The capacity to love cannot be built in isolation.” Perry and Szalavitz

That you so often hear the apparent ‘truth’ that others can’t love you unless you love yourself is not only sad, it is concerning.  Science clearly shows that the human brain needs relationship and love in order to develop normally.  We become loving, relational beings BECAUSE we are loved and nurtured, if we are not, we do not.

The western notion that the individual is primary and community / society / family are secondary to this is damaging mental health.  Humans thrive in relationship, the best protection for mental health is to have strong relationships with numerous people, across contexts.

We are in the middle of a loneliness epidemic, and it is damaging emotional and physical health.  We do not need to sit at home devising strategies to love ourselves and demonstrate our love for ourselves more.  We need to connect.  We need to relate.  We need to discover who we are from our interactions with other people.

If you are struggling with mental health, finding ways to be with others is important.  It may be through a hobby, volunteering or work, or with your family or friends, we are each different and need to find what engages and energises us.  Whatever this is for you, do it.  You may need to build up slowly and take it step by step, but in the medium term it will be more than worth it.

Given love is what heals, it’s a great idea to reach out to the people already in your life and demonstrate your love and care for them.  Make that call you’ve been holding off on.  Send the voice note, or message.  You might even write a letter.  Don’t let connections atrophy if they are relationships that have been healthy and rewarding, all relationships take investment.  The benefits relationships give back far outweigh the effort they take.

Relating can take practice, particularly if we have been fearful or drawing back.  It may take courage to put yourself out there and try to connect.  It can take a while to find the right communities and networks.  Doubtless you may need to really support yourself as you adventure, self care and kindness are essential.

It is not an either/or between self-love and love from/for others.  They are mutually reinforcing.  The key thing is knowing that we grow in relationship with others, the reflection of their love in us shapes our brains, as our love shapes theirs.  This magical process is available any time in life, and in any context.

If you’d like to consider psychotherapy to kick-start your relating more deeply with others, then get in touch at, or on 01325 730021.  You can find out more at

a man and a woman lying on the floor looking at each other


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