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Loveability: Knowing How to Love and Be Loved

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This article first appeared in Watkins’ Mind Body Spirit #34, Summer 2013.

(by Robert Holden)

One day, our children will learn about love at school. They will take classes in love and self-esteem, explore the meaning of ‘I love you’, learn to listen to their hearts, and be encouraged to follow their joy. It will be normal for parents to help their children learn how to love and be loved. Adults won’t be content just to read romantic novels or watch rom-com movies; they will seek out friends and lovers who are interested in real love and who want to become more loving men and women.

One day, every society on our planet will honour and cel­ebrate the importance of love. Politics without love will be a thing of the past. Leaders who demonstrate love-based values, like service and compassion, will be elected for their vision, their courage, and their strength of character. Economists will teach the world that money does not work without love. They will offer us love-based economic policies that eradicate pov­erty and hunger and help us to experience real abundance and freedom.

“Robert Holden is the ideal example of Loveability… He knows and understands what stands in the way of loving ourselves and others. And most important, he knows and teaches how to dissolve these blocks. How could we not love him?”  - Louise Hay

Imagine this.

One day, all the great professions will include love in their training syllabi and core values. Medical doctors will treat their patients with love, and psychologists will teach their patients about love. Physicists will teach us that separation is an ‘opti­cal delusion’ and that oneness is reality. Biologists will teach us that the survival of the species depends on cooperation, not competition. Architects and lawyers will help us to build a society on love. And ecologists will show us how to love our planet more.

One day, the major religions will recognize a God of uncondi­tional love, and they will stop teaching people to fear God. Never again will we go to war in the name of God. Theologians and phi­losophers, humanists and atheists, will set aside their differences for the sake of love, and they will teach us that love is stronger than fear, that only love is real, and that, ultimately, love is the key to our enlightenment and evolution. And all the while, the art­ists of the day will serenade us and entertain us with their plays of love.

Imagine that.

That day is not here yet, I know. I believe it will come, though. Our world must evolve in the direction of love if it is to have a future. Each of us is called to do something, in the name of love, to make sure that humanity comes to understand itself and is able to choose love over fear.

LOVEABILITY: Knowing How to Love and Be Loved by Robert Holden (Foreword by Marianne Williamson), published by Hay House, paperback (250 pages). Also available as an unabridged audiobook read by the author (Six-CD set).

Looking for love is hell. Everyone’s been there. We’ve all done it. It’s a mindset you identify with when you forget who you are and what love is. It’s what you do when you experience the fall from grace and you fear that love has abandoned you. In this hell, you search for love outside of yourself. The searching leads you to believe that you exist outside of love. You act as if you and love are two separate things. You think the purpose of the world is to find love, and then, once you find it, not to lose it again.

Looking for love is frightening. That’s because it’s a strategy used to conceal a most terrible fear you would rather not look at: the fear that ‘I am not loveable’. I refer to this fear as the basic fear because we all experience it and also because it gives rise to every other fear. This fear is not real but you don’t know that if you’re too scared to look at it. So, you decide to leave yourself alone, and you start looking for someone who will find you loveable. This is just as scary, though. Where will you find this person? Are they still available? What if they are gay – or not gay? Do they even exist? Okay, maybe they do exist, but what are the chances of them loving you if you don’t love you?

Looking for love is painful. You are looking for love because you have judged yourself to be unloveable. Until you change your mind about yourself, your only hope is to find someone who will overturn this judgement. So you try to create a pleasing image that hides the pain of feeling unloveable. This image knows how to be seductive, to attract attention, and to win admiration, but because it is not the real you, it does not attract real love. Therefore, you keep on looking, but because you won’t change your mind about yourself, all you find is your own lovelessness.

It’s difficult to believe in love when you are looking for love. The more you keep looking, the more unloveable you feel. Because you don’t believe you are loveable, you can’t believe it’s possible for someone to love you. Eventually, you begin to doubt if love even exists. This is the worst pain of all. To believe that and to keep on living is impossible. Now you are just a shadow of your­self. You have reached a dead end. Looking for love hasn’t worked. So now it’s time to try something else. And that’s a good thing.

Those that go searching for love
only make manifest their own lovelessness,
and the loveless never find love,
only the loving find love,
and they never have to seek for it.

D. H. Lawrence

The way out of hell is not to seek for love but to see how you are blocking love. You begin by examining what is causing you to seek for love in the first place. First, you must cast off all the loveless images of yourself that you have made. Looking for love, in its truest sense, isn’t about find­ing someone else; it’s about find­ing yourself again. You also have to be willing to drop your theories about love, to empty your mind of learned ideas, to let go of old stories, and – as William Blake put it – to ‘cleanse the doors of per­ception’ so as to let love appear as it really is.

Love is an inner journey home. The way to get there is to start here, right where you are now. The goal of this journey is not to find love; it is to know love. This knowledge exists in you already. I call this knowledge loveability.

The word loveability might be new to you. You can’t find a defi­nition for it in any standard dictionary. Not yet, anyway. Lan­guage is always evolving, as are we, and so one day you will find a dictionary that carries a definition for loveability. And if I am asked to help wordsmith the entry for loveability, I will recommend something simple like ‘the ability to love and be loved’.

This book, Loveability, is a meditation on love. It addresses the most important thing you will ever learn. All the happi­ness, health, and abundance you experience in life comes di­rectly from your ability to love and be loved. This ability is in­nate, not acquired. It does not need to be taught afresh, in the way you might learn some new algebra theory or memorize lines from Romeo and Juliet. It is a natu­ral ability that is encoded in the essence of who you are. Any learning feels more like remembering something you have always known about.

Writing Loveability was inspired by what I can best describe as a process of inner listening. Each time I sat at my desk to write, I’d begin with a few moments of stillness and then ask love to teach me about love. I did this with the full awareness that I wasn’t ‘talking’ to something outside my­self. This was an inner attunement. I share this so as to em­phasize that loveability isn’t really learned from books, public programmes, or counselling sessions (as helpful as that is); it’s learned by letting the love that is your true nature teach you how to love and be loved.


Robert Holden

Robert Holden’s innovative work on psychology and spirituality has been featured on Oprah and in two major BBC documentaries, The Happiness Formula and How to Be Happy, shown in 16 countries to more than 30 million television viewers. His clients include The Body Shop, Dove and Virgin. He is an official contributor for and the author of the bestselling books Happiness NOW! and Shift Happens! He also hosts a weekly radio show called Shift Happens on Hay House Radio.

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