Manipulating People for Attention (Video Clip)

Sometimes in Real Love settings, we manipulate people for Imitation Love instead of allowing the Real Love we need.

Love and Like

The word “love” has a great many meanings, and for that reason—among others—it can be a source of enormous confusion. We say, for example, that we love our children, our lover, our spouse, and our friends. But we also say that we love…

A Stack of Blocks

Cynthia was complaining to me that she had girlfriends who were having “all the fun” in life. “What kind of fun?” I asked. “They have boyfriends all the time, and they talk about having sex, going dancing and drinking, stuff…

Sucking Air

Roman Coombes sent me the following metaphor, which I have modified without his permission. Take two drinking straws. One is your Imitation Love conduit, and the other is for Real Love. Put some water in a glass. Place the Imitation Love…

A Child’s View

Watch a 4- and 7-year old who have been taught the difference between Real Love and Imitation Love by their father.  

One Tiny Pin

My son Rob is a mechanical engineer who designs parts for the aerospace industry. He once showed me a steel pin, a cylinder whose length was 3/4 of an inch, with a diameter of 1/16 of an inch. He asked me to estimate what this pin cost at a…

The Monster Jealousy

Every day I hear from someone who is envious of the accomplishments of another person, or of the attention or praise or whatever other people receive. Jealousy is a real monster that can steal our happiness like a plague. Read more about this…

Hang Gliders

Driving along a road in the western United States, I looked up to discover a “flock” of hang gliders. As I enjoyed the vicarious sense of flight, I noticed that one of them was moving in a much straighter line. Finally I realized it was…


We are so busy being right, defending ourselves, and getting attention that we scarcely have any time or attention for genuinely listening to each other.

The Trap

Praise, power, and pleasure really do feel good, and THAT is the trap, because we get confused between feeling good and feeling genuinely happy.

Empty Praise

People often compliment us for how we make THEM feel—with our looks, our behavior, and more. As we pursue that empty praise, we become addicted to it.


Almost never do people fall in love. Rather, they fall into a condition of matching wounds.

Genuine Happiness

No matter how carefully you shape horse poop into loaves, they will not become bread, much as we cannot gather any amount of praise, power, and pleasure to create genuine happiness.


In a world fueled by Imitation Love, lying is NECESSARY for the smooth interaction of all. But when people feel unconditionally loved, the need for lying simply evaporates.

Loss and Grief

We all try to make the right choices in our lives. We work to create abundance and happiness, but despite our best efforts—flawed though they always are—sometimes we encounter consequences or just apparently random events that bring us to…

Love and Hate

In the book, The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne stated, “It is a curious subject of observation and inquiry, whether hatred and love be not the same thing at bottom.” Hawthorne had the insight to pose an important question but not…


"That's what fame is: solitude." (Coco Chanel) The more Imitation Love we gather, the more alone and desperate we become. It never works in the long term.

Glow Worms

Very deep in the bowels of a few caves in the world live tiny worms, which never see even the slightest ray of light from the sun. Clinging to the cave ceilings, they manufacture slender strands of silk, punctuated by globules of mucous. Pulled…

Do You Have a Peanut Allergy?

For years Allison had been in and out of a relationship with Philip, and--not coincidentally--her progress toward genuine happiness had been negligible. She called me to complain about something at work. "When was the last time you saw Phil?"…

The Raccoon Trap

My home in the hills of north Georgia lies somewhere in the twilight between civilization and the wilds of the untamed woods. Although the front of the house faces a conventional street lined with homes, the backyard is filled with hundred-foot…

The Song of the Lark

I once met a woman named Andrea, who had been in one miserable relationship after another, and she was looking for help in breaking this unproductive pattern. As I described the principles of Real Love to her, she was relieved and excited to…