Who teaches us to be loved?

Dear Dr. Cliché, 

You asked who teaches us about love?

I assume that it is our parents who are first supposed to teach us love. They can’t help how we absorb their way of showing it and how we live that out. And if we are talking wisdom then I suppose that we learn about love from everyone we meet. Isn’t that the “evolution of the soul” which people are really talking about? The source of the compassion the religions tout? That level where you understand that all that happens is to teach us to have greater wisdom and therefore greater ability to love and be loved?

And the Church talks about love all the time doesn’t it?

My question would be more “Who teaches us to be loved?” 



Dear T,

Excellent points. Yes, we are inundated with LOVE messages and you hit on a key point. We glean the truth or lie of these messages via the role models in our life. As humans, we learn from what is seen far more than from what is said. Role modeling provides our most valuable lessons. The best thing a parent does for a child is to have a healthy relationship with their significant other. That’s why staying in a shitty relationship so the kids will have a dad or mom doesn’t work out well for anyone, kids included. It just teaches them how to have shitty relationships. We each only have one set of relationship skills and we take it to all our relationships, from our dog to our god. That’s why you can know a lot about a person by the behaviors of their dog.

 I fully agree; in order to love, one has to know how to be loved. Otherwise there can be no reciprocity.

No one knows who you are or what’s in your head unless you tell them.  You have to teach people to love you. This is counter intuitive in a culture that tells us to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” If you do this then you never actually get to know your neighbor.  “Love thy neighbor as thy neighbor”

In America, compassion often ends up equated with stupidity; perhaps because we assume that we can read other’s minds.

As you so astutely put it, we all teach each other about love via how we treat each other. Unfortunately, in our culture most people are blindfolded.

 Dr. Brilliant Cliché


The Granny Doctor says: I think that the movies we all see, where people who are “in love” anticipate each other’s needs and finish each other’s sentences, do us a big disservice. In truth, by the time we reach adulthood, so many of us carry excess emotional baggage and buttons that it truly requires a manual to figure out how to read each other.Another big disservice that has been done is the idea of “being cool”. People who are “cool” don’t sweat it, are always ready for the next adventure, and wear sunglasses at 2am in order to keep people from seeing the emotions in their eyes.

How are we taught to “be loved”? By the home shopping network and P. Diddy’s latest fragrance line. If you love a man, you buy him a cologne that has been advertised to make him “virile”. Or you give him a blow job; or both. If you love a woman, you shower her with gifts, with flattery if you are broke.

Try flattering a woman who has just gotten up at 3am  for the 14th night in a row to breastfeed your 6 month old child. Chances are, she’ll slap you. Hand her some cash and she’ll likely snap, “Go buy me a nanny!”

Some of us are lucky enough to come from families where traditional values are still kept and feelings are treated with the same consideration that money garners in the rest of the world.

But most of us learn what we know from what the media provides for us. And since it is a well-known fact that movies are screened before mass released, and anything resembling a realistic ending is generally booed and edited before it reaches the theater, I’d say we don’t learn much.

But keep reading this blog. You might learn more, especially from the viewers who share their thoughts like this one.


T.F.  responds:

When I say “to be loved” I mean to “receive love”.   We see lots of models about how “to love” in the media as you mention. Characters proclaiming “you are my life now”.  With no temperance of how the opposite character might feel about that. 

If someone told me “I was their life now”, I would run away.  I don’t want the responsibility.  If someone treats me distantly, or even shittily at least I don’t have the responsibility of “becoming their life.”  Where is the balance in love?  The assumption in the media is that there is no temperance in love.  No nod to the fact that “I am your life now, but I want to have my own as well if you don’t mind.  By the way, if you mind then you have to move on to the next one.”

There’s such great media, music, film, poem for the romantic obsession of the beginning of love where the other person’s needs are so important to meet…just like a good old fashioned teen romance.

But where is the part where that lover, who’s life you are now, set’s themselves up to listen your perspective on things?  Where you are not their fantasy lover but where they are truly wanting, desiring to know your own thoughts.

I’m digressing.


Dr. Brilliant Cliché Responds:

No you are dead on, our culture is said to be one of beginnings.  You see that in the news. Topics and headlines are introduced but rarely is there any follow up as to outcome. Outcome is about consequence and we lack the awareness of that.   The consequence of surrendering your soul and independence to another as in Romeo and Juliette is sacrifice, tragedy and at least disappointment based on mutual misunderstanding and fantasy. For as you wisely pointed out how could you ever be yourself with those expectations thrust upon you.

 If we could only get across to our youth; BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR YOU MIGHT JUST GET IT!!!!!


T.F. Responds:

Perhaps the question is “Who teaches us to receive?” Whether it be that we are of an enneatype that gives and gives or an archetype that does the same it appears that the major thing for them to do is learn to receive the same care and attention they give others.

According to the Enneagram we 9s would need to allow people to pay attention to myself instead of always loosing myself in others.

For other types it may be to see what is there and receive/accept gratitude rather than only see what isn’t there and always assume that we are not truly given value for our contribution.  In some cases we can be given elaborate gifts and celebration yet still hold grudge that we are not appreciated.

Whatever the type it appears to be about the ability to receive.

It is like a long time ago when you “complimented” me and I deferred the compliment with one of the many ploys/realities we girls are taught.. don’t look like you aren’t humble….   And you pointed out to me that a compliment was a gift from the person who made it.  And that by shooting it down with a “Well, you see it that way” or some similar “humble” response I was also shooting down your gift.  Taking it away.  Not allowing either one of us the experience of giving or receiving said gift.

I think this is a symptom of our ability to accept being loved.  Have you ever met someone who could at a vulnerable moment say they felt loved?  Truly and deeply.  And not by a person long gone or a fantastic figure of a relation that didn’t work out.  But at the moment, a truly present experience of receiving?  Whatever the topic as long as it is positive.  We are hardwired to take negative comment to the grave.

My “dede” used to say a kind word could take a person to heaven for a day.  An unkind word could take them to hell for a minimum of two weeks.


Dr. Brilliant answers:

We are taught to give but without asking, receiving and appreciating there is no point. It is all meaningless. Relationship any relationship requires reciprocity or nothing is or can be appreciated. That is the ½ that went missing from our culture and why the giving tree moral is dysfunctional.  It really is the taking kid!!


About Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Dr. Brilliant Cliché and the Granny Dr. are a fictional web presence and advice blog. Together we offer a joint perspective that is deep but not academic, entertaining but not fluff, and educated yet street smart. By joining the internet community we hope to share thoughts and stimulate insightful conversation around pressing issues that affect us all. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. (This is not a site for therapy nor does it intend to replace medical or other professional care. ) You can leave comments here or email The Dr. at dr.brilliantcliche@yahoo.com and don’t forget to like us on facebook. Our facebook page is Dr. Brilliant Cliche
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