Love and Contempt

Contempt is the ultimate in self-fulfilling prophesy. That’s because contemptuous attributions eliminate all chance of improvement.

Love and Toddler Brain Coping Mechanisms

Most of the time, toddlers can get away with blame, denial, and avoidance, because they’re so darn cute. When adults do it, we’re not so cute.

How Can I Be Me While You’re Being You?

Just about all lovers go through a stage of high emotional reactivity that threatens to destroy their relationship.

The Brain in Love

All alarm systems, negative feelings included, are calibrated to give false positives.

The Autopilot Death of Love

The painful disconnection that modern intimate partners constantly confront rises from attempts to get their partners to “meet my needs when both are in their Toddler brains.

The Illusion of Sameness

One of the biggest mistakes we make in love relationships is assuming that our partners' experience is the same as ours.

The Way We Fall in Love Isn’t the Way We Stay in Love

The toddler brain facilitates emotional bonding through its principal way of discerning other people: projection.

Love vs. Habit

Why do so many smart and creative people make the same mistakes over and over?

The Curse of 'A Christmas Carol'

The story of a cold and cynical heart turned compassionate and kind is a blessing of literature, an inspiration of hope, and a curse on realistic expectations of change.

The Struggle to Maintain Basic Humanity

Basic humanity is like a muscle, it gets stronger with exercise.

Don’t Justify What You Want to Change

We justify resentment by citing evidence of unfairness and how badly other people behave. The more adrenaline we need for justification, the more subject to confirmation bias.

Compassionate Parenting

We teach children self-regulation by modeling our more humane values.

Anger, Anxiety, Resentment, Stress, and Basic Humanity

Your chances of consistently managing anger, anxiety, resentment, and stress, without becoming a better person, are practically zero.

The Humanity of Regret

What people tend to regret the most near the end of life is that they have not been more compassionate, loving, or supportive to those they love.

Pain, Suffering, Basic Humanity

As a life-saving alarm system, pain keeps us focused on distress, for the purpose of relieving it, that is, pain motivates behavior that will help heal, repair, or improve.

Basic Humanity and Well-Being

Anxious times seem to bring out the worst in people. It makes us intolerant of disagreement, divides us into factions, and leads us to demonize those who seem different.

How to Cope With Trump Anxiety

If you’ve been nervous or anxious since the election, you’re not alone.

Emotional Complexity

A few of the elements that make emotions so complicated are habituation, inhibition, constriction, and disinhibition/excitement.

Overcoming Headline Stress Disorder

Continual alerts from news sources, blogs, social media, and alternative facts feel like missile explosions in a siege without end.

The Emotions of Social Interaction

While we are quite sensitive to negative emotional displays of those with whom we interact, we’re hardly sensitive at all to our own.

Emotions in the Social World

Our emotions are automatic responses to the emotional states of others.

Meaning and Emotions

Emotion, personal history, culture, religion, and historical moment heavily influence the brain’s construction of meaning, and these, of course, are often in conflict.

Dynamic Attributes of Emotion

Certain attributes of emotions dynamically influence how we experience them and the meaning we give to them.

The Function of Emotions

Some writers conflate the motivation of emotions, which is largely outside awareness, with conscious goals and intentions.

Crimes Against the Self

The aspect of emotional reactivity that makes it difficult to see is its illusion of free will. We think that we're acting of our own volition, when we’re merely reacting.

How We Commit

Committing to a relationship requires establishing a secure base and resolving any problems that threaten its security, safety, and well-being.

Struggle for a Sense of Humanity

The fight to hold onto a sense of humanity inner voices of conflict, powered by covert guilt and shame. In most of us, these voices are faint. In some they bellow.

Passionate Surrender

Fear of passionate surrender is rooted in an underdeveloped sense of self. Passionate surrender is a joyous function of a fully realized adult brain.

Human Intimacy

Few human endeavors are as rewarding and as frightening as acts of intimacy.

Acting Out of Conviction vs. Acting Out of Resentment

Conviction is the strong belief that a behavior is right, moral, and consistent with your deeper values. Like resentment, conviction provides a sense of certainty.