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3 Love Hacks: Self-Love, Being Liked, and the Power of Getting Old

Love does not mean sacrificing any and all personal desires to fill the desires of someone else. It does not mean allowing people to mistreat you in the name of loyalty or peace or tolerance. It does not mean “never having to say you’re sorry.” It does not mean that you own someone (or they own you).

Love Hacks

We are commanded to love others as God loves us. Charity. The pure love of Christ. With unfailing compassion, patience, and mercy. The past few weeks I’ve been pondering a great deal on love and relationships and family and eternity.

What does love mean to you? How do you show love in difficult circumstances? What does Christlike love look like? 

#1 Confronting the Myth of Self-Esteem: Twelve Keys to Finding Peace

By Ester Rasband

First published in the late 1990s, this book verbalized so well what I had intuited since the beginning of the self-esteem fad. How had people survived and flourished for eons without being endlessly patted on their collective heads and given trophies for losing? How did people feel good without constant external validation? And, perhaps more to the point, why was there so much depression and suicide in a climate of extreme privilege, opportunity, freedom, and advantage?

The religious mantra for self-love has become “love they neighbor as thyself.” This has been oddly interpreted to mean you must love yourself before you can love someone else. But the scripture doesn’t say that. Rather, it assumes self-love and commands you to extend that love outward.

I’m recommending this book nearly two decades later because it’s still the best thing I’ve read.

#2 The Secret to Being Liked

By Glennon Doyle Melton

As per usual, it’s not about making ourselves look good, boosting our own self-esteem, or taking more selfies. The magic ingredient is looking outward. How to make friends in one easy step.

#3 Love Gets Better with Age

I know how romantic young live is. Even being married for 30 years, I’m not quite to old too have forgotten everything about it. And I have seen it anew as my children have begun to marry their true loves. In that in-between stage between young love and old, I am far enough along to appreciate the intensity and fullness of long-term love. Familiarity need not breed contempt. It can breed richness, security, comfort, contentment, history, understanding, friendship, loyalty, and, yes, even passion. Enjoy this beautiful couple and look to the future with anticipation.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Katie September 25, 2015, 12:02 pm

    I loved looking to Elder Scott on this topic. Others may have tired of hearing his frequent talks about Jeanene, but I LOVED them, even though they made me feel terribly inadequate as a wife. I always looked at their relationship as an excellent example.

    I’m sure if my spouse died when I was in my 60s, I would want to remarry, but I loved that Elder Scott didn’t. KSL says “People commonly asked Richard Scott if he planned to remarry, his son said. His father would get a twinkle in his eye and say, “I am married. And she’s waiting for me.”” Aah, so wonderful 🙂 (And as someone who is *supremely* uncomfortable with polygamy, I loved that he seemed to have wholehearted commitment to ONE woman only. Perhaps he had other reasons, but I like to think he was not in favor of eternal polygamy either.)

    One of the first things I thought when I heard he had died was “How exciting!! He gets to see Jeanene and his babies!!”

  • IdRatherNotSay September 25, 2015, 12:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing that, Katie. You made my day.

    Nice topic, Alison!

  • IDIAT September 25, 2015, 2:16 pm

    “I’m sure if my spouse died when I was in my 60s, I would want to remarry” I am thoroughly surprised at the number of people who have a negative view of remarriage, some no matter how young or the circumstances, others no matter how old and the circumstances. The romantic in us looks from the outside and thinks “how sweet that Elder Scott didn’t remarry.” Would we have regarded him as less than an apostle had he actually remarried? Would we have been okay if he had married an already sealed widow (unlike President Hunter, Elders Perry, Nelson and Oaks)? Anyway, I’m just finding the whole “I’m glad he didn’t remarry” thing (that seems to mostly be coming from sisters) to be very strange given the number of widows who are remarrying down in St. George. Remarriage after being widowed is such a personal decision I’m not sure if it’s fair to have an opinion on Elder Scott either way.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 25, 2015, 3:40 pm

    My dad was this way. My mom died 11 years before he did and, really, died years earlier after years of increasing dementia. He missed her so much and never showed any interest in marrying (or even dating) anyone else—in spite of how popular nice widowers are. I was so happy for him when they were reunited!

    And, Katie, I like your take on Scott’s reasoning. 🙂
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Dark German Chocolate Cake BarsMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith September 25, 2015, 3:43 pm

    I’m not really surprised, IDIAT. Particularly given our fuzzy sealing doctrine, I’m not surprised at all.

    I don’t think it has anything to do with “apostle-ness” but lots to do with faithfulness. If we don’t believe “until death do us part” but in eternity, then why not stick with the eternity thing? So, to be frank, yes, I’m bothered when someone who is sealed gets re-sealed to someone else.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…An Open Letter to BYU Fans: 3-Step 12th Man PrimerMy Profile

  • Katie September 25, 2015, 3:50 pm

    It has nothing to do with being “a romantic.” It’s entirely about polygamy. If our church weren’t so thoroughly attached to the doctrine of eternal polygamy, I wouldn’t bat an eye. If Elder Scott had married an already sealed widow, I would applaud him wholeheartedly, because polygamy wouldn’t be involved.

    I do think less of apostles who marry unsealed women (though this is different than thinking of them as “less than apostles” as you stated), because they are now involved in eternal polygamy, they are examples to the church, and they continue to tell the world that we don’t believe in polygamy. If we’re going to believe in eternal polygamy, let’s trumpet it loudly, not hide it from the media by saying “I condemn it [polygamy], yes, as a practice, because I think it is not doctrinal.” Though I suppose maybe President Hinckley didn’t think it was doctrinal, and some of the other apostles do.

    If the apostles simply happened to fall in love with a woman who had never been sealed, then so be it. But when all of them are remarried to unsealed women, you have to wonder if it’s intentional. Four isn’t a very big sample, though I don’t know of any post-polygamy apostle who has married a sealed woman. (In the times of polygamy, of course this happened, such as when many of Joseph’s wives were sealed to Brigham Young after Joseph’s death.)

    My belief is that deity includes ONE couple, not a man and however many wives he happens to have or get in heaven. I have more confidence in God than to believe he would set up so many of his sons for failure that polygamy would be required in heaven to even things out.

    Also, I don’t care *one bit* whether you think I should have an opinion on it.

  • IDIAT September 26, 2015, 8:00 pm

    I’m ambivalent. It bothers me, but it doesn’t seem to bother church leaders. And since we seal deceased women to all husbands they’ve had in mortality, it’s hard to claim that ultimate sealing status is skewed toward men. That’s why I threw in the comment about the widows remarrying in St George. I know widows who’ve remarried and they look forward to being sealed to their second husbands once the dust settles. So, the fact that it doesn’t seem to bother leaders if previously sealed widows and widowers remarry is really a head scratcher. Maybe they know something we don’t. Or, maybe they simply figure every one will be happy at the end of the day. Either way it bothers me that it doesn’t bother them. I must be missing something.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 26, 2015, 9:38 pm

    And since we seal deceased women to all husbands they’ve had in mortality, it’s hard to claim that ultimate sealing status is skewed toward men.

    The practice of sealing dead women to all their earthly spouses has only been happening for the last 30 years or so. (The change wasn’t announced publicly, it just quietly ensued.) The fact that we do this without allowing living women to be sealed to multiple husbands is simply incomprehensible.

    That said, the “new” practice has always been done under the implied (or explicit) understanding that “it will all be sorted out later” while the older practice has been understood as “an eternal sealing.” I don’t think there has ever been the pretense that this is some kind of change in doctrinal understanding.

    Until and unless that happens, it’s a mighty skewed practice. (And let’s note that living men who are divorced can be sealed to two living women.

    Personally, I do not think it’s because they understand something we do not. I think it’s because we have a relic from history that no one has bothered to clarify. (One of many, actually.)
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…An Open Letter to BYU Fans: 3-Step 12th Man PrimerMy Profile

  • Katie September 28, 2015, 2:16 pm

    “The practice of sealing dead women to all their earthly spouses has only been happening for the last 30 years or so. (The change wasn’t announced publicly, it just quietly ensued.) The fact that we do this without allowing living women to be sealed to multiple husbands is simply incomprehensible.”

    My MIL is about 70 and is SUPER into family history. We were eating dinner with her about a year ago and she was musing about which husband she should have a woman sealed to. I was horrified. I said “The policy is that we seal her to all of them!” She had NO idea. This is a woman who has been heavily involved in family history for DECADES. Clearly this change has been so quiet that many have never even heard of it!

    I also totally agree that the situation for living women is incomprehensible and it is often cruel. It means that a woman of childbearing age who becomes widowed must cancel her sealing to her beloved first husband in order to be sealed to a new husband and any children she has with him. If she chooses not to cancel the first sealing, her new husband gets to stand looking on, as their children together are born in the covenant of the marriage of the woman and her deceased husband.

    I have seen more than one young faithful widow say that it is extremely difficult to date in the church because of this policy. Few suitors want to break up an existing family’s sealing (and be seen by their stepchildren as the interloper who forced their parents’ sealing to be canceled) or move forward with the knowledge that he can’t be sealed to his own future children.

    Of course if it’s the man who is a widower at a young age, it’s all fine! No one’s sealing has to be broken, and everyone can be sealed to their biological children.

    ~~~
    After all this, I actually DO believe that this will all be worked out to everyone’s satisfaction. And that is the final answer that all priesthood leaders will fall back on — it’s in black and white in the handbook! So, if we know that will happen, why not let us choose our own sealings/cancellations here on earth? Ever for those who believe it will work out, it causes incredible heartache and pain for many here on earth.

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