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Love is a hell of a job! Some considerations about love and its importance to psychotherapy.

Hic Jacet Amor (2)

Soren Kierkegaard, considered by many as the father of existentialism, devoted much thought to the theme of love, leaving two great pieces of work dwelling on this issue (Kierkegaard, 1989; Kierkegaard, 1995) and countless other texts spread out through his vast literary production. Despite his example, such theme doesn't appear to have occupied the existentialists that followed (nor philosophers, not even psychologists or psychotherapists (3)), leaving behind the question of the motives which underlie the absence of consideration of such a matter.

Could it be that, contrary to Kierkegaard, love was no longer considered (or was not even considered) as one of the great issues of existence? Such does not seem plausible for it does not take a sharp intellect to notice how much the human being talks, silences, praises, hides, proclaims, curses, sings, fears, seeks and rejects love. In our practice, how many clients do seek us because they never had, they have lost or they are about to lose somebody? As a psychologist and psychotherapist I couldn't help notice that over 400 people who have seeked me in suffering, the great majority didn't have (and more important, had stopped believing they could ever have) a love relationship or they had one but was not fulfilling them.

As Kierkegaard (1995), so too I defend that "So deeply is love rooted in human nature, so essentially does it belong to a human being ..." (p. 157) and that "... erotic love is undeniably life's most beautiful happiness and friendship the greatest temporal good!" (p. 157). Love (whether it be fraternal, affiliating, romantic or of deep friendship) seems to have a fundamental place in our existence and its absence, when prolonged in time, seems to imply a profound sadness, sustained by feelings of loneliness, void and lack of existential meaning. This observation leads me into believing that more than just something important love seems to manifest to the human existence as a condition of necessity. Thus, the study of the characteristics and nature of love appears as something of vital importance for the psychotherapeutic practice.

Convinced of the importance of love, my aim is to explore some of the conditions inherent to love, drinking on the insightful thoughts of Soren Kierkegaard (1995), but also on the problematic of the alterity, explored by Emmanuel Levinas (1988; 1998).

Human, All To Human (4)

Love is important--perhaps even an "intrinsic dimension of being" (Cohn, 1997)--but love submerges us into an ocean of doubt and uncertainty. What a profound paradox: A need that drags us into anxiety. As Kierkegaard (1995) reminds us, in erotic love there are no guarantees, we can lose the person we love. But there are also no guarantees that we have invested in the right person, that we wouldn't be happier with somebody else, just as there are no guaranties that we will receive as much as we give. In the love share there will occur changes and there may be fears of profoundly changing ourselves, of ceasing to be whom we were. Besides these uncertainties and fears, love doesn't seem to be the pure and perfect static contemplation that some poets claim to be, it is instead an endless responsibility for the other whom we decide to love. And finally, due to its nature, love is the most profound paradox as it implies encounter, it implies (and "Is") proximity and intimacy, yet, it expects encounter and proximity between two radically separated alterities (Levinas, 1988, 1998)!

Eritis Sicut Diis (5)

Before these limitations of earthly love, Kierkegaard (1995) proposes an alternative: To embrace Christian love which is indeed eternally guaranteed and guaranty of the eternal.

Despite the beauty and profundity of Works of Love (Kierkegaard, 1995) this seems to be a work searching for a meaning for a puerile and desperate humanity, faced with its own finitude: "What makes a person despair is not misfortune but his lack of the eternal" (Kierkegaard, 1995, p. 40). Elskov or erotic love (according to the English translation) appears as a possibility of meaning, yet it is still human, all too human: Erotic love does not offer guarantees, it is perishable, it may be changed, it takes part in the vicissitudes of temporality and consequently it is an abundant source of anxiety. Besides all of this, Elskov does not defeat death and, thus, doesn't bring an absolute meaning to life. So, Kierkegaard proposes Kjerlighed, Christian love, love as a duty out of respect to the Divine Word of God (You shall love); love which is an act of life, of giving in and care for other men. But, by other men one must not understand the lover or friend, by other men Kierkegaard means all other men, as equal: Our neighbour according to the biblical metaphor. Thus, Kjerlighed offers certainties: The guaranty of safety, the guaranty of meaning and the guaranty of eternity, through a proposal made up of three fronts: 1) To give up our self-love; 2) (And in this detachment of oneself) to love all men we meet equally (friends or enemies), because as what we love is love itself, we love them all equally; 3) Fulfilling, by this way, the sacred word, which makes this love an obligation.

Notice dear reader that with Kjerlighed (Christian Love) Kierkegaard solves two problems at once: 1) Love ceases to be insecure (ceases to be a source of anxiety), and 2) Life takes up meaning through participation in the exemplary behaviour revealed by Jesus Christ in illo tempore.

In Hoc Tempore (6)

I must clarify that I distance myself from this option of Kierkegaard and despite the vicissitudes of human love, it is this love that is a part of our existence. And even though it is not perfect we must find the courage (faith, as Kierkegaard would say) to cope with all the uncertainties and anxieties this love brings. Kjerlighed seems to me to be an escape from the paradoxes and anxieties of human love, one which is badly disguised.

As such, from this point onwards when I mention love the reader must keep in mind that I mean what Kierkegaard named as Elskov, love as feeling, "earthly love", that which you nourish for your lover or for your relatives or closest friends.

My thoughts are on love as an existential phenomenon, in its characteristics, in its vicissitudes. I do not intend to look at love as a salvation or as an explanation and cure for all mental disturbances. My stance is that love is indeed not only a condition of necessity of the human being but it is also one of the most fulfilling and gratifying existential realizations. However, it is just "one" of the conditions of existence and it is only "one" source of meaning: Fearing to love doesn't make anybody happy (Moraes, 2005), but to love is not in itself guarantee of happiness.

The reader might now question the pertinence of using Works of Love in this paper given the fact that this book focus essentially on the characteristics of Christian love and constitute a critique, ferocious at times, to love and friendship. Well, as further ahead the reader will have the opportunity to see, I believe the propositions presented for Christian love to be pertinent and fit perfectly in the attempt to understand earthly love.

Sint ut Sunt, Aut Non Sint (7)

One of the reasons why Kierkegaard (1995) drifted away from Elskov was because he understood that this, contrary to what the poets say, is not a love abnegated in favour of the other but, instead, a subtle form of "self-love" (8).

I am forced to agree with Kierkegaard (1995): "Erotic love and friendship are preferential love and the passion of preferential love" (p. 52). The one who is in love loves passionately the one who is loved, the one whom he prefers, thus, he is not doing anybody a favour, there is no abnegation, he is, on the contrary, merely satisfying his wish and his preference. "Just as self-love selfishly embraces this one and only self that makes it self-love, so also erotic love's passionate preference selfishly encircles this one and only beloved, and friendship's passionate preference encircles this one and only friend." (Ibid., p. 53). The I is merely loving that which he himself wants and desires and thus loving its own self. Even the admiration for the lover, which supposedly encloses no selfishness in itself, is self-love since I admire that who I love and that whom only I possess; in this way that admirable person loves me and only me and thus, even if in a non conscious way, I am also admirable for loving and being loved by such an admirable person. Love and friendship seeks self-realization and, according to Kierkegaard (Ibid.), also seeks to solve fears and necessities which have nothing of altruistic.

If love relationships are by nature a form of self-love then let us accept that and think how love can be in spite of this and the consequences of this characteristic both for the I and for the other.

A first consequence is that we are immediately faced with a paradox: The human being is by nature "self-centred" yet to love implies an encounter with an "self-other" which is absolutely Other Levinas, 1988, 1998 and also "self-centred" (the reader will find this most important paradox deepened in our chapter Hoc Opus, Hic Labor Est, pp. 17-19);

From the previous one, another consequence emerges: To love implies a series of relational behaviours and attitudes (sharing, trust, understanding, tenderness, etc.) assuming some degree of giving of oneself and some altruism which is contrary to our primary tendency of looking at ourselves. So, in this second consequence lies another paradox: To live a love it is necessary to give up to something which is intrinsic to our own nature (selfishness). And at this point, Kierkegaard's proposal of the "Christian love" helps us to understand this paradox of love and how we can love in spite of this.

Labor Omnia Vincit Improbus (9)

As the title itself discloses--Works of Love--, the main characteristic of Christian love is in action; it is a love that flourishes from hard and persistent work, sustained in the duty and fear to God.

According to Kierkegaard (1995), only an imposition with the weight of eternity could encourage men to fight his own selfish character. That is, in the holy words of Saint Matthew--You shall love your neighbour as yourself (cited in Kierkegaard, 1995)--, the "shall" echoes since eternity and imposes itself as a sacred duty which impels men to fight his tendency towards selfishness. Only as an obligation, by sacred commandment, does love become safe, otherwise it is run over by self-love: "When one shall, it is eternally decided; and when you will understand that you shall love, your love is eternally secured." (Kierkegaard, 1995, p. 34)

With this religious "strategy" Kierkegaard brings a solution to the paradox of loving despite our selfishness: By loving all in the same manner there is no preferential (selfish) love and the guarantee of the non sublevation of selfishness would be the fulfilment of the "Shall Love", that works as permanent attention to the return of selfishness.

The interesting thing about this characteristic of Christian love for understanding the nature of earthly love is, in my opinion, in this imposition, this duty, this "Shall", that we must embrace in case we want to keep this love alive. This is so because just as in Christian love so too earthly love only seems to last while the lover places for him or herself the will, the imposition and the task of opening up to that love and fight hard for it. The only difference in relation to Christian love is that this task (this "duty") in earthly love does not sustain itself primarily on a religious imposition (external imposition) but on intentionality instead (internal "imposition" or self-imposition). Meaning that, although it does not have to be an external imposition, love does need an internal imposition, love needs the lover to "impose" (consciously or not) upon himself the "Shall", the duty and the task of giving up a bit of himself (of his self-love) and to fight arduously and constantly to maintain that love: Only in this way can one understand how is it that two people may love each other without falling into a purely selfish relationship.

Kierkegaard (1995) criticizes the poets for singing a love which is mere sentiment, mere contemplation and fruit of chance. This love doesn't even seem to depend upon the lovers; instead it would depend, in fact, upon the flow of destiny. But if we look carefully, what are then love without this "shall" that grows within lovers? Only if the lover chooses for himself the will, the task, of continuously fighting to maintain that relationship, only then will that relationship last. That love which "falls from the sky" and that dies simply because "there was no longer any flame between us", this is the love of those who want no responsibility, of those who are in "bad faith" (Sartre, 2003) or maybe of those who are simply naive. This understanding which at first might seem banal to the reader is nevertheless fundamental: The point is to restore love, in all its extension, to the sphere of intentionality.

However beware, we are not saying that love happens because I intellectually choose so but, instead, because I predispose myself, because I open myself, to it and because I want to risk, fight and act in order for this to happen. It may not be a conscious choice, but to love and to maintain myself in love depends--within our limited freedom and life constrains--of me.

The consequences this view of love implies for psychotherapy are far too obvious. Given that love is connected to our intentionality then the client (and also the psychotherapist) can't but acknowledge the responsibility one has as to the way love happens in one's life, being fundamental to explore one's ways of being and one's assumptions concerning this condition of necessity. In the next chapter we shall look in greater detail at the consequences of this view of love.

Ipso Facto (10)

But the one who brings love along with himself as he searches for an object for this love will easily, and the more easily the greater the love in him, find the object and find it to be such that it is lovable.

(Kierkegaard, 1995, p. 157)

Love ipso facto love. Those who are open to love and who live it can easily find it; who withdraw will have difficulties finding it. Once again, dear reader, notice the presence of intentionality! The clinical repercussions of this insight of Kierkegaard are multiple, but we shall start by the beginning, by the enchantment.

Usually we hear that to find the one and only is something that "just happens", out of a happy coincidence, something which is beyond ourselves, as in the metaphor of the Cupid. In which case Kierkegaard (1995) states with irony that "... then, the task is to be properly grateful for one's good fortune" (p. 51), as if in the romantic mentality "... the task can never be to be obliged to find the beloved or to find this friend ..." (Ibid., p. 51).

If we take "task" and "obliged" to be not a divine imposition (as does Kierkegaard) but instead as the "imposition" of intentionality, we will then understand that also in love there must exist a will, more or less conscious, so that a passion may take place. I do not mean to say that such enchantment lacks the presence of all past experiences, which will influence the characteristics of the chosen one, what I do in fact defend is that one may only possess eyes, which can see those same characteristics in the chosen one, if there is openness to choose him.

Consequently, to fall in love or to isolate oneself, depends on intentionality. In the same way, to fall out of love, according to Kierkegaard (1995), only happens because "we" drive away from love, because "we" cease to invest. He who accuses destiny of sweeping him up in love, of causing him to fall out of love or of condemning him to isolation, hasn't understood that destiny originates in himself.

Isn't this what happens to some clients? They rebel against the world for not having somebody, without noticing that even the psychotherapist is kept as "a nobody" despite the intimacy and time they share. It is with great surprise that they become conscious that just in the same way as they keep the therapist at a distance so too do they keep love at a distance from its possibilities: That's when they find their responsibility--their intentionality--in their lack of love.

Edna, when she was sent to psychotherapy, was convinced that nobody could love her: Body, face and reputation marked by years of drug addiction, HIV positive, Hepatitis C and two small children, were more than enough ingredients to scare away anybody intending to become a friend or a lover, or so she thought! She had become a bitter woman, isolated and trapped in a deep depression, not being able to open up not even to the love of her children. However, throughout the sessions--and by noticing my true and deep interest (love) in her, in spite of her many "faults"--she realized that the facts she presented to sustain her belief that nobody would love her only sustained an excellent excuse to keep her closed to love. Previous to her drug addiction Edna had already construed the idea that nobody would ever love her. Tired of being rejected, ignored or mistreated she decided, even if not consciously, to stay away from love, parental love included. Love had a taste of suffering and the physical problems strengthened her certainty that she would always be rejected; but the physical problems served mainly as a perfect alibi to cover up for her fear of loving.

In summary, to fall in love or to remain in love is only possible "if love abides" (Kierkegaard, 1995), i.e., if we open ourselves to love and if we fight to keep that love alive. If we hide it or if we do not look after it, it will dissipate and with him all our ability to love that which surrounds us.

Omnia Vincit Amor (11)

Two other important questions for the understanding of the nature of love, with importance for psychotherapy arises in the Second Series of Works of Love (Kierkegaard, 1995), chapters II e III, under the titles: "Love Believes all Things--and Yet Is Never Deceived" and "Love Hopes All Things--and Yet Is Never Put to Shame".

These chapters talk about two basic mechanisms that underlie the fear of opening up to love: To believe versus to mistrust the other(s); to hope versus to despair for the relationship.

Kierkegaard says that to trust or to mistrust and to hope or to despair are not a matter of knowledge or ingenuity. The believer and the hopeful know as much as the suspicious and the unhopeful, the difference lies in wanting or not to believe or in wanting or not to trust, based on belief and faith. It is so because to believe and to hope are not based on a cognitive conclusion, they flow from a choice of opposite possibilities posed by knowledge. But since this knowledge is never a certainty, to be right or to be wrong are, then, two opposite possibilities with the same possibility of becoming real: Thus, trust/distrust, hope/despair is a personal decision and not a conclusion of objective reasoning.

However as Kierkegaard (1995) asks: Which is the worst mistake? Trust and/or hope and to be wrong or mistrust and/or despair and to be wrong?

Those people who incur the second mistake do not risk and consequently protect themselves from the disappointments of love. These people are not mistaken, betrayed or let down, but they cannot live the fulfilment of love. Bonded by mistrust and lack of hope, their attention turns to the little problems, to the little mistakes, to little flaws of the other or of the relationship, leaving no space to love. These people do not suffer the disillusion but they also do not love. Edna is a good example of somebody in this mode, however if Edna has protected herself from pain of disappointment, she sank even more in the pain of not having love.

According to Kierkegaard those people who incur the first mistake, despite being wrong, are never mistaken, because those who loved and remained in love have lived the happiness and joy of having loved and that nobody can ever take from them. Thus, nobody can mistake them because love remains in them. "The one who loves preserves himself in love, remains in love, and hence in possession of the highest good and the greatest blessedness, and therefore is certainly not deceived!" (Kierkegaard, 1995, p. 239).

Although I agree with Kierkegaard, in what was mentioned above, I wouldn't be as optimistic as to speak of separation, of betrayal and of loss as something of minor importance given that you remain in love. This makes sense given the characteristics of Christian love, yet in earthly love, even remaining in love, if the person loved, he/she cannot avoid suffering tremendously if that same love comes to an end.

Eli, Eli, Lamma Sabacthani (12)

Well, in earthly love there is no safety net, all we have left is faith, the will to launch ourselves in spite of the uncertainties. The inflated wish and the constant requests of profess of love are, according to Kierkegaard, the reflexion of people's awareness of this insecurity of love. Earthly love and friendship being a part of an imperfect and finite entity, reflects its finitudes.

There are no certainties but there is also no way to objectify or measure that love. On the contrary, as Kierkegaard (1995) reminds us, to objectify or to compare love is already to step out of it. Again a paradox: The need to possess certainty (because it is uncertain and has an end), but impossible to objectify and fading away in the very moment of objectification.

Kierkegaard (1995) teaches us that love manifests by its fruits, by the work of love, through the dedication that we apply to it. There is no action or word that gives us certainties that there is love there, but in case there is, then it will manifest: "It depends on how the work is done." (Ibid, p. 13). But this manifestation arises as a fruit of love--spontaneous--, since if the intention is to demonstrate then, in that moment, I am no longer loving but seeking to demonstrate that I love.

In the same way as love can only be transmitted by those who love, only those who love and allow themselves to be loved are capable of feeling and recognizing love where it exists. Only those who open up with hope and trust in love can live it and feel it.

Thus, to want to have certainties amidst the uncertainty seems to be human. Yet, from what Kierkegaard tells us, the result is that he who, due to his insecurity, obstinately seeks proof or recognition of love is not able to enjoy and manifest love.

Ana turned to psychotherapy when living in a tremendous anxiety. She was 36 years old, hadn't dated for four years and all her previous relationships could be accounted for, according to her, as a failure. For five months she has had a new boyfriend and was living a merciless fear of losing him. She thought that if a new failure occurred then she wouldn't have another chance to love. With this fear Ana constantly searched for evidences of love from her partner: She constantly watched him, submitted him to rigorous interrogations, analysed his gestures and attitudes during sexual intercourse, etc.. Ana could only live this anguish desiring certainty, which prevented her from giving herself openly and enjoying the love her partner offered her. The worst about it was that in this impossibility of giving and receiving love due to fear, she was indeed close to the experience of love and even cultivating the grounds for separation to occur! It was only after two years of psychotherapy that Ana could find some balance between opening up to love despite the impossibility of possessing certainties.

The uncertainty is an essential condition to love and the work of love here is to bear that uncertainty, remaining as much as possible in love. To love and to have faith. And the more one loves the more love seems to bear fruits: Certainties? Not even Christ, fundament of Christian love, had certainties in God's love--Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani--, setting Himself the example, in my humble opinion, of the true nature of love: Impossible to have eternal guarantees, but still living it.

Hoc Opus, Hic Labor Est (13)

No guarantees ..., uncertain! But what is the fundament of this uncertainty which is intrinsic to love? Where does this uncertainty sprout from?

Let us return to the first paradox which results from the characteristics of love (see p. 7): Love implies an encounter and proximity, but encounter and proximity between two self-centered egos, two distanced egos, each one exiled in its own I (Levinas, 1988).

I believe, dear reader, that the uncertainty of love sprouts essentially from this tremendous paradox: Intimate, profound, close encounter, between those who by their nature cannot meet: "Proximity is not a state, a repose, but, a restlessness, null site, outside of the place of rest ... No site then, is ever sufficiently a proximity, like an embrace." (Levinas, 1998, p. 82). Thus, if already in the epiphany of the Face does the Other give me the dimension of the absolutely other, what certainties may I have of that person, always foreign and a mystery to myself? Extraordinary! What an absurd and insurmountable paradox! I need love, proximity, but the Other can never be "sufficiently a proximity" to me, because the Other, his interiority, is always an enigma, an absolute subjectivity, to me! How can I be with that who always remains foreign to me? How can I trust in that who for his "ethic resistance" (Levinas, 1988), is always unknown by me? How can I be certain of his feelings, intentions and attitudes, if his "I" hides itself, enigmatic, always beyond the skin of his Face? And even if he wants to show me his inside, and I to him, our languages will always be mutually foreign, unrecognizable by the other, for they are born in this exiled "I" which recognizes all only from the "I".

As the reader can see, Levina's concept of radical alterity allows us to shed some light on a series of problematics which underlie love relationships. Becomes more clear the reasons why love cannot be objectified, why it cannot be demonstrated in any way but through its fruits--because I can never be certain of what goes on in the mind/heart of the Other. One can better understand the reasons why the uncertainty can consume us, for it is difficult to trust the inapprehensible and to believe in a relationship which depends not only on me but also on some Other whose interiority remains always a mystery to me.

However, is that not our existential condition?! Love offer this inextricable paradox. Yet, is there anything more beautiful than launching oneself into the "desire" (Levinas, 1988) of approaching the unapproachable and of receiving tenderness and care from that enigma? The wonderful seems to be precisely in this endless walk towards proximity; each day I can discover a new dimension of that infinite, each day I can feel one millimetre closer and yet ahead of me lies a whole eternity to be known and whole eternity to come close to.

No, I do not want love the amalgam which is every neighbour; better the anxiety of loving only some, even if I may lose them, even if it is not eternal, even if sometimes they make me suspicious, even if they make me despair, even if their dissimilarities may confuse me!

Besides, Kierkegaard himself teaches a formula to minimize the problems that underlie love: To bring to myself the responsibility of that love, to have faith in it and to work hard to maintain it!

Sit Tibi Terra Levis

Love seems to appear as an essential condition to existence. However we have seen how its onthic realization falls and immerses into an ocean of paradoxes that throw the lover into experiencing doubts, uncertainties and inevitably anxiety and even anguish. In order to avoid these feelings some people (more or less consciously) close themselves up to the possibilities of loving. And yet my clinical practice tells me that this closure to the possibilities of love only leads one further into suffering greater than the one closure seeks to avoid.

To explore phenomenologically the ways in which the client lives this existential condition and handles all the conditionings and paradoxes inherent to it is, in my opinion, an essential task of psychotherapy. But beyond this psychotherapeutic "exploration" the therapist himself must be able to open up to love his clients, working at "relational depth" (Mearns & Cooper, 2005), facilitating the experiencing of an intense bond within the therapeutic space and working through the client's responses to those feelings.

References

Cohn, H. W. (1997). Existential thought and therapeutic practice: An introduction to existential psychotherapy. London: Sage Publications.

Kierkegaard, S. (1989). Stages on life's way: Studies by various persons. Chichester: Princeton University Press (Translated from the original in Danish Stadier paa livets vei: Studier af forskjellige, 1845)

Kierkegaard, S. (1995). Works of love: Some Christian deliberations in the form of discourses. Chichester: Princeton University Press (Translated from the original in Danish Kjerlighedens gjerninger. Nogle christelige overveielser i talers form, 1847)

Levinas, E. (1988). Totalidade e infinito. Lisboa: Edicoes 70. (Translated from the original in French Totalite et infini. Essai sur l'exteriorite. Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1961).

Levinas, E. (1998). Otherwise than being or beyond essence. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press (Translated from the original in French Autrement qu'etre ou au dela de l'essence. Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1974)

May, R. (1969). Love and will. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Mearns, D. & Cooper, M. (2005). Working at relational depth in counselling and psychotherapy. London: Sage Publications.

Moraes, V. (2005). Medo de amar. Ed. L. C. Ramos Vinicious de Moraes (Track 7). CD Edited by Biscoito Fino.

Nietzsche, F. (1997). Humano, demasiado humano: Um livro para espiritos livres. Lisboa: Relogio D'Agua Editores. (Translated from the original in German Menschliches, allzumenschliches: Ein buch fur freie geister. 1878)

Sartre, J.-P. (2003). Being and nothingness: An essay on phenomenological ontology. London: Routledge Classics. (Translated from the original in French L'etre et le neant. Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1943)

Notes

(1) One of my client's outburst when talking about her adventures and disadventures in love.

(2) Hic Jacet Love

(3) Exception made to Rollo May (1969), but we will leave his approach for another opportunity.

(4) Reference to Friedrich Nietzsche (1997).

(5) You will be as Gods. The words the tempting serpent spoke to Eve.

(6) In this time, in contrast to in illo tempore.

(7) Be the way you are, or cease to be.

(8) "Self-love", by Kierkegaard, means selfishness or self-centeredness. Do not misunderstand self-love for the psychological meaning of "self-esteem".

(9) Perseverant work overcomes all obstacles. Fragments of two verses of the Georgicas by Virgilio (I, 144-145).

(10) Due to that same fact.

(11) Love triumphs of everything. First part of a verse of Virgilio (Eclogas, X, 69).

(12) My God, my God, why did you abandon me? Words in Aramaic, which Jesus Christ pronounced while dying in the Cross (Saint Mathews, XXVII, 46; Saint Marc, XV, 34).

(13) That's where the difficulty resides.

Edgar Correia is a Clinical Psychologist and an Existential Psychotherapist, based at the Infectious Diseases Department, Garcia de Orta Hospital, Portugal. Holds the Regent's College Post-MA Diploma in Existential Counselling Psychology and the Advanced Diploma in Existential Psychotherapy. He is a founding member of the Portuguese Society of Existential Psychotherapy (SPPE). He is a lecturer and supervisor on the SPPE course in Existential Psychotherapy. E-mail: edgar.correia@netcabo.pt Webpage: www.psico.logos.com
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