The Love Meter 5/25/23

Thoughts with Richard Bleil

Although I didn’t have many dates in graduate school, I did date one young lady for a brief time, anyway.  At one point she said to me that when she saw me in my office, I just looked like my “love meter” was low. 

It’s an interesting concept, that of a “love meter”, and I think there is merit to the concept.  When something happens to make me feel loved, I can ride on that for a while, but in time, that wave peters out.  For example, endorphins are released with physical contact.  I rarely have anybody touch me, so when I do get the occasional hug, I do feel happy for a while.  It will last for the rest of the day, and maybe the next, but before long I’m back to my usual level of morose. 

There are things that can refill our love meters.  Yesterday, I posted about a surprise party for my friend.  Surprises like this from children, or the effort I made to take the trip to see her, even if for only for an hour, remind us of how much we are loved, and fill that love meter up.  Let’s be honest, it’s easy to forget those who are closest to us, but it’s easy to feel forgotten about those in our lives who love us.  We know, somehow, that it isn’t true.  Deep inside of us we know that we’re loved, but we need to be periodically reminded of it. 

Physical contact certainly matters as well.  Those playful little endorphins need to be let out to play from time to time, and physical contact is the key to their cages.  Hugs certainly help, but yes, I’m also talking about sexual activities, something I’ve not experienced, well, for years.  It’s to the point where I don’t even feel like I can be sexually appealing anymore. 

Doing nice things for others is an interesting way to refill the love meter as well.  When I’m feeling particularly blue, I’ll try to do something nice for other people.  This past week, I paid for the groceries for the person behind me as I was shopping.  She was very thankful and promised to “pay it forward”, but the reality, just doing so made me feel better. 

Certainly, there are other techniques as well.  Spending time in the sun makes Vitamin D, which also makes us happier.  Exercise also releases endorphins and in a very healthy way.  The flow of water through the air in hot showers generates anions, at least as far as I understand it, which makes one feel better as well. 

Often, I find meditation helps me to feel happier as well.  But all of these things are self-care techniques.  The best way to feel loved is to be with others, as I was with my friend.  One of the saddest things I can think of are those who cannot feel the love that they have. 

I’ve known many amazing people with spouses who have strayed.  I don’t think I’ll ever understand this.  Men have a habit of wanting young and pretty, but some of the women I know with husbands who cheat are the sexiest and most beautiful women I have ever seen.  While they’re faithful to their husbands, all I can do is listen and wish I were in his shoes.  How is it that these men cannot feel the love that is so freely and generously given that they have to seek their thrills outside of the marriage? 

Sometimes, it’s obvious when you look at somebody and see their love meter running on low.  I’ve been there all too often myself.  I often think about the people left at retirement homes, especially when they are not visited by family.  When I was married, one of my favorite activities was when we visited the boys’ grandmother in the retirement home.  The joy that she would show with their visit was enchanting.  I always felt bad seeing others who looked downtrodden and lonely.  I’m not in a retirement home myself, but I live alone in my house and tend to behave much like a shut-in. 

Spend time with friends.  Take breaks and vacations.  Go on trips, meet with friends, have date nights with your spouse.  Ultimately, we have to take care of ourselves.  Others cannot know what needs we have unless we take the time to let them know.  Those who love you and care about you will be happy to know how they can make your life a little bit better and refill your love meter.


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