About the happiness of being allowed to love.
In Memoriam Ingeborg (06.03.1940 – 16.08.2021).
One year ago, her life came to an end. She had always made it easy for us, our children, grandchildren and me, to love her. Even now, my heart is filled with good feelings. It is beautiful and comforting to be allowed to love.
In the many years, we have lived together, I have learned how important it is not only to be loved. It is probably even more critical that I can love and also be allowed to love. The fact that nothing can stop me from loving makes my life rich and gives it meaning.
Ingeborg’s life was rich despite difficult times, for she loved many and much, just as she loved the flowers in her garden.
In retrospect, I am convinced that our relationship had a decisive influence on my work with people. The crucial skill of a counsellor, to love people, probably came so naturally to me because I had learned the ease of loving in my dealings with her.
Even today, I feel it is a privilege and an enrichment to be allowed to work with people and to accompany them for part of their journey.
I found early inspiration for this in Carl Rogers and his humanistic, person-centred psychology. He and his students worked out the importance of empathy in dealing with people. For me, it is inconceivable without love for people.
It was only late in my life that I came across the book „The Origin of Humanness in the Biology of Love“ by Maturana and Verden Zöller. They convincingly state that the ability to love was the decisive factor in our becoming human as speaking beings living in social associations. Furthermore, they say we will only survive as humanity if we lead our lives as loving beings and deal with our counterparts cooperatively and lovingly.
Of the many great texts on the meaning of love, I would like to mention two more here.
One is the beautiful „Song of Songs / Shir-haShirim“ (Song of Solomon).
The other is the Pauline text, in which he describes that everything we do and say without love is just empty ringing.
For the field of coaching and counselling, this is undoubtedly true. However, methodologically faultless action without love is also just empty ringing and at best ineffective.
I am grateful to my late wife Ingeborg that I experienced the tremendous power of love in my relationship with her and that I was also able to experience how strengthening it is to be allowed to love.