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Heart of the Matter

Heart of the Matter

How to Find Love, How to Make it Work

Why is it that love seems to come easily to some people and not to others?
According to acclaimed author and psychologist Linda Austin, M.D., there is nothing fundamentally wrong with those of us who have difficulty finding and keeping love. However, there may be specific behaviors that we engage in, or do not engage in, that limit our capacity to love -- even ourselves. In Heart of the Matter, Dr. Austin identifies the five core behaviors that determine our ability to have successful, loving relationships, as well as the patterns of behavior that can subtly sabotage those efforts.
The Core Behaviors
1. Engage with the World Around You
2. Evaluate the Choices You Make for Love
3. Expand Your Safety Zone
4. Establish Emotional Independence
5. Evolve Consciously, Willfully, Healthily
Heart of the Matter teaches us how these five essential practices can deepen and transform our ability to experience profound and lasting love. In this fascinating guidebook, Dr. Austin walks us through the process of making small, specific changes that are bound to have huge ripple effects in our interpersonal relationships. Most important, Heart of the Matter demonstrates how to identify and use our strengths to our fullest advantage in seeking the love -- and lives -- of our dreams.
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  • Atria Books | 
  • 288 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743437721 | 
  • May 2004
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Read an Excerpt


So Just What Is Love, Anyway?

Love is an extraordinary word, an infinite container for all the wishes, fantasies, needs, and impulses we have for connection. It's a one-size-fits-all term that is applied to an enormous range of relationships and emotions. Charlie Brown said that love is a warm puppy. But love also describes the way you feel about your mate on your wedding day; it's the way you feel about a beloved relative who is being laid to rest; and it's even the desperate wish a child has to earn the affection of an abusive parent. We call it love when you surrender to sexual union with your... see more

You know what it feels like when "something's missing."

You sense a vague discomfort, a whiff of uneasy numbness that creeps up during quiet moments. Nonsense, you scold yourself. Snap out of it. There's no reason to mope. Don't let anyone notice. I have so much to be grateful for.

A few hours, a few days, pass. There it is again. That flatness. I feel like I'm just going through the motions. I hope no one notices.

Perhaps that feeling steals over you when you least expect it, at times when you really ought to feel happy. You may be in a decent relationship and can't quite figure out... see more

About the Author

Linda Austin
Photo Credit:

Linda Austin

Linda Austin, M.D., is a practicing psychiatrist in Bangor, Maine, and a Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical University of South Carolina. A frequent lecturer, she is best known for her nationally syndicated radio program, What's On Your Mind? She lives with her husband in Bangor, Maine.




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