Counselling in Wokingham – Fairy Stories

Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 –
This blog is intended to give you a flavour of how I work as a counsellor. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links above.

Fairy stories present us, at an impressionable age, with an unreal idea of “love”. In counselling, it’s a word I approach with great caution. What do we mean when we say that we love someone? The trouble is, that it means different things to different people, and different things to the same people in different situations. We might say we love a partner, a mother or daughter, a son or daughter, a pet, a friend, a football team or a favourite singer. We might love chocolate, or helping people, or climbing mountains, or getting drunk, or watching the world go by. But these might all be different sorts of love; it is a word with many different meanings, and many different emotions need to co-exist to make up the feeling of love.

I sometimes ask people, if they talk about being in love, to break the word “love” into other emotions. It is amazing how many different parts there can be to “love”. Security, safety, permanence, excitement, anticipation, joy, connectedness, sexual excitement, fear of loss, obsession, jealousy, certainty, dependency, independence, caring, being cared for…. the list goes on and on; some of these feelings are contradictory; not all of them are healthy or desirable, but they are all feelings that some of us associate with the word “love”.

The different meanings we ascribe to the word “love” can leave us with very different expectations of our loved ones. Some people seem to believe that being in love is akin to some sort of telepathy : “If you loved me you wouldn’t have to ask, you’d know what I’m thinking” or “I know just how his mind works, I can tell exactly what he’s thinking”. For others, it implies a form a servitude : “If you loved me you’d check my tyre pressure”. Or the ability to perform miracles : “If you loved me you’d be able to put things right for me”. Sadly, being in love does not suddenly imbue us with super-powers; as humans we remain fallible, imperfect and unsure.

In fairy stories, love is really easy. “They fell in love and lived happily ever after”. If only! Some people do enter relationships with that idea, of course. They think that there’s a Mr. or a Ms. Right out there, and once they have found that person, everything will be perfect. It is a picture of love presented to us by books, magazines, TV, cinema, and by our friends and relations. However, it is, in my opinion, pure fantasy.

Relationships are hard work, and to maintain your love, whatever meaning you may give to that word, requires sustained effort by both parties. If you treat your partner like a servant, they will probably come to resent it. If you expect miracles from your partner, you are in for a lot of disappointment. And if you rely on telepathy for communication, you may well be in for some unpleasant surprises!

About Paul Cockayne

Counsellor, musician, iPhone developer, games-player, cheese-lover....
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