Counselor's Corner: The power of loving connections in a narcissistic world


In the past week I have heard the frustrations of many people who work to help others. Teachers, doctors, and many whose profession is to help other people have all been saying the same thing: young people and old people seem to be different today. Their patience is minimal. There is such a lack of respect and appreciation for others. If someone doesn’t get what they want immediately, anger and criticism pours out like a water hydrant that has just been loosened. If someone doesn’t get what they want immediately, someone will have to suffer by cruel words and judgmental attitudes.

It seems like criticizing the character of others without facts is the order of the day. Students can have temper tantrums when teachers expect work to be completed. Expecting someone to be respectful to those helping them is almost seen as something that should not even be considered.

Eye contact with other people almost seems like something from another century. We can be on our phones and electronic devices 24/7 and fail to notice what is going on around us. Each day I almost bump into someone who is on their phone while walking toward me.

Instant feedback and instant gratification seem to be the norm. I have even found myself texting to my wife who is in the other room. Alexa and Siri are now household words and help us with instant feedback, music, television and music. The ability to delay gratification seems to have disappeared.

Some of this might be a bit overstated but I think this nation and many other nations are verging on cataclysmic narcissism. Life must be all about me and everything in life must help me and center around me.

Everyone has experienced this. We can get very caught up in playing games on our phones. The latest text from someone becomes more important than listening to the person right in front of me.

There is an antidote to all of this. It is the Power of love, which takes place when I attentively listen to someone else and look someone else in the eye with a warm and compassionate smile and gently let them know I care about them. Every human encounter can be an encounter of love. This loving encounter slows me down and brings me into a personal relationship with someone else, brief or long as it may be.

Everyone needs loving attentiveness. It is what we must teach our children and demonstrate to everyone who crosses our path each day.

I really think that schools from elementary through college should have a ban on using cell phones until the day is over. It would at first cause consternation with every student but later it would help everyone to calm down and become attentive to teachers and to one another. Every family should have free time from electronic devices to speak and listen to each other for an extended period of time each day.

The power of love towards another human being by loving attentiveness disarms others and creates an atmosphere of loving acceptance. We all need to feel loved and affirmed. When we are loved and affirmed, we stop in our tracks to look at life deeper and to reflectively slow down. I have discovered that when I smile at a waiter or waitress and kindly and gently speak to them, we both benefit and experience a loving connection. This happens whenever I meet someone.

Life is always about loving connections. Loving connections are the power of love to distract us and others from living a superficial life and turn toward a life of depth, which is always a life of a loving connection with another person, with ourselves and with God.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is


Subscribe to the Legal News!

Full access to public notices, articles, columns, archives, statistics, calendar and more

Day Pass Only $4.95!

One-County $80/year

Three-County & Full Pass also available



  1. No comments
Sign in to post a comment »