Goal: To develop Cognitive Healthy Adult Mode behaviors that demonstrate you’re Loving Your Neighbor.

This has to be one of the most important entries in the Healthy Adult Mode series, and allow me to share why I’ve reached this conclusion.

Most human beings are relational beings, and as such we’d like to experience various types of love in abundance, along with (but not limited to) values like respect, importance, empathy, trust and support with family members within our home, and we’d like to experience fairness, understanding, peace, equality and empowerment in our relationships with others who reside outside of our home.

As you read in the previous post, in order to grow a fruitful and mature experience with others requires your willingness, skill and commitment to first grow and love yourself in areas of your life that deserve your assessment (to change), attention (to heal), and energy to create and grow internal (and eventually interpersonal) attunement.

To assist you in your effort to love yourself I suggested you employ the “Triple A’s of Loving Yourself” (Assess, Attend and Attune). Not only are these strategies a great use of your energy to cultivate love within yourself, but they also guide and empower you to identify therapeutic, healing and functional “2.0” (versus 1.0) principles that are beneficial to you when “uploaded” into your brain and consistently practiced in your behavior.

So I encourage you to be mindful of the Triple A’s of Loving Yourself (Assess, Attend and Attune) principles and keep them close-at-hand, as we’ll explore three more Healthy Adult characteristics and another quick reference guide to assist you in your effort to develop and maintain healthy and loving encounters with the neighbors in your life, again, who reside either inside or outside of your home. Ready to look at the three characteristics? Let’s start!

Healthy Adult Characteristic #1 – Inspiration: I really like the Dictionary.com definition of Inspiration, and here it is: Theology: (1) a Divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind or soul. (2) The divine quality of the writings or words of a person so influenced. (3) The drawing of air into the lungs; inhalation.”

I think they nailed the definition of Inspiration. You may ask “how so?” Glad you asked!

As I consider the characteristic of Inspiration in this Healthy Adult Mode series, especially when it comes to viewing this characteristic through the three parts or “lens” in this series (Part 1: A Loving God; Part 2: Loving Yourself; Part 3: Loving Your Neighbor), it’s my hope you’ll draw upon the wise insights and enlightened abilities from your Higher Power (Part 1) to focus your attention on mature, responsible and fruitful living (Part 2) to not only enjoy an internal good triangle of well-being, but also be inspired to live by these principles in all your affairs with others (Part 3).

Inspiration drawn from your Higher Power facilitates Awareness, and being aware affords you the opportunity to make enlightened, mindful, intentional, deliberate and purposeful thoughts and decisions for your well-being and for the well-being of others, which are key ingredients and processes necessary to love your neighbor as yourself.

Remember, I’m not suggesting anything new here. If you’re already practicing these principles for your own personal benefit (Part 2: Loving Yourself), then demonstrating what you’ve learned and internalized in your encounters with others will hopefully be manifested naturally in your actions with others. If it doesn’t then don’t dismay, because helpful insights are presented below and throughout this Healthy Adult Mode series to assist you to grow this skilled behavior! What matters most is that you’re willing to grow these skills and get better via practicing these principles of being inspired to turn around and inspire or “breathe life” into others around you!

Healthy Adult Characteristic #2 – Goodwill (Will):  The Healthy Adult characteristic of Will (the Greek word Thelema means and) encourages you to focus your choices, desire, determination and inclination, then exercise your will to act and create something specific and concrete, that reflects what you like, stand for and are inclined toward.

Good (the Greek word Agathos means and) encourages you to engage in benevolent behavior that’s useful, beneficial and advantageous toward another, where the outcome of your actions unmistakably reflect your goal is to promote their welfare (further defined as their well-being, health and happiness).

Taken together, I’d like to suggest to you that your expression of Goodwill toward another (your neighbor), means focusing your mind and directing your energy to create concrete behaviors that leave the other person not only feeling loved, but that you’re also committed to engage in actions that result in their well-being, health and within reason, their happiness.

Again, this can seem like a tall order, but remember, if you’re already engaging in loving behavior by making decisions to treat yourself in this manner then it may not be that difficult to extend these same behaviors toward the neighbors in your life. Are you willing to do so? Are you willing to allow your God to inspire and assist you to think about, then demonstrate specific and concrete behaviors toward others that reflect you have their overall well-being in mind when you interact with them? If so, then you’re well on your way toward loving your neighbor by demonstrating Goodwill toward them.

One final thing to keep in mind when it comes to exercising your Will. The meaning of Thelema infers no one is twisting your arm nor demanding benevolent actions from you. This is not the case. Thelema infers you are focusing your desire and choosing to act because you want to please and create joy as an outcome of your actions directed toward the recipient.

To me, this takes the power back because the expression of Goodwill toward another is totally in your control; no one forces, coerces, or manipulates you to act. You get to choose what actions you’ll demonstrate that constitute goodwill toward your neighbor, but keep in mind your insightful, wise and benevolent actions are better helped and possibly accomplished with the inspired involvement of your Higher Power. How so? Here’s a personal example.

My God helps me to discern what virtues and values are to be part of my decision making process, and my God helps me to balance my actions to make sure I’m not overextending nor underperforming in my actions with others. This balance helps me to be at peace within myself about my response toward others, but it also helps me to make sure I’ve done what I reasonably could do to effect peace with my neighbor. Could you see how the application of these principles could help you in your effort to provide appropriate expressions of love to your neighbor(s)?

Finally, uploading this “2.0” inspired and more informed decision making process to love my neighbor as myself means I’ve had to rewrite some of the ways I’ve thought about and operated with others, which leads us to the final Healthy Adult mode behavior in this post, which is called Cortical Override.

Healthy Adult Characteristic #3 – Cortical Override: Dr. Dan Siegel defines Cortical override as “the capacity of the cortex, especially via the pre-frontal region, to coordinate and balance the input from the subcortical regions, often inhibiting impulse and emotional dysregulation.”

To me, what this means is that the higher thinking parts of our brain aren’t going to get short-circuited (when we most need that thinking part!) by a surge of emotion that may originate from the lower parts of our brain. This doesn’t mean that our thinking supersedes or overrides our emotion. Not at all!

Practically, and I dare say for most of us, what precedes the need for a Cortical Override is when I or another person are involved in conflict and subsequently overcome with so much emotion (called Emotional Flooding or Dyadic Dysregulation) that I/we may get stuck in defensive, insensitive and maladaptive episodes of hurling hurt toward each other.

A Cortical Override helps me to skillfully “get my head above the water of an emotional flood to see clearer” then use my uploaded “2.0” communication tools, as well as other psychological strategies (grounding, emotional self-awareness, time outs and conflict resolution, etc.) to help me to “come to my own assistance,” and when accomplished, to come to the assistance of the relationship. In this manner your emotions are listened to then integrated into your thought processes, so you could make informed, rational and better decisions, which ultimately help you to accomplish your task of loving your neighbor effectively!

When I counsel with couples who love each other but get stuck in horrific dyadic dysregulation experiences and need a cortical override, I’ve found myself educating them about the benefit of a cortical override then saying, “remember, we simply want to work so that your brain and mind positively impacts the brain and mind of others, and when you do that well, you’re creating good Interpersonal Neurobiology.”

So what follows are the Triple P’s of Loving Your Neighbor. The Triple P’s are Prepare, Peace and Passion. We’ll talk about other forms of Intimacy (Spiritual, Intellectual, Emotional, Relational, Genital, etc.) in other posts, but for now, I’d like to introduce the Triple P’s of Loving Your Neighbor so you’ll have some tools to use to cultivate good conflict intimacy when conflict threatens to flood your efforts to build relationship bridges and enjoy connection. Having good tools to repair relationship ruptures is a great way to cultivate love with your neighbor, especially when it’s a neighbor with whom you share a bed and an intimate relationship!

The Triple P’s of Loving Your Neighbor are also suggested to get your mind in a constant state of inspired and insightful living and relating that’s safe and brimming with the use of good 2.0 strategies to help you to not only communicate well and solve problems, but also to use the best of your cognitions to create an environment conducive for the cultivation and growth of love!

The Triple P’s of Loving Others: PREPARE, PEACE and PASSION by Dr. Ken McGill 

Use this quick-reference chart to prepare your mind to create then employ the best cognitive (and spiritual and emotional) strategies to generate peace and passion with those you love. As mentioned in previous posts, give yourself time and grace to develop these worthwhile tasks, which leads to the production of sweet, beautiful, tasty and nutritious love! 


P: Prepare a place in your home, head, and heart where silence facilitates calm to regulate your body, focus to hear your thoughts, awareness to identify your feelings and empathy to share with others.

R: “Re-mind” yourself and use communication tools (Time-OutABC’s of Conflict ResolutionPractical behaviors of Empathy) prior to your encounters to enhance your ability to create successful outcomes.

E: One of the greatest gifts you could give to others is to preview the Ten Steps for Emotional Self-Awareness tool. This tool increases your ability to be Safe, See others, and to empathetically provide Soothing behavior to others when appropriate or needed.

P: Remember your Purpose! It’s never to scorch the earth of your partner’s heart, but to communicate respectfully and to Differentiate, by giving equal value and understanding to your collective thoughts and feelings.

A: Since you’re reviewing valuable tools to prepare yourself for encounters and conversations you’ll have, I encourage you to review the “Triple A’s of Loving Yourself.” Do the Adult work to Assess where you need to change, Attend to your own Healing, and focus on growing Attunement with the other person(s).

R: Prepare to write/Re-write inclusive “Me to We” relationship narratives to grow relationships seasoned with the mutual practice of Adult values that leave others feeling affirmed, valued, dignified, understood and loved.

E: Have you Evaluated your plans and processes to ensure your Agape-oriented Virtues and Values are forefront in your mind, where their practice will lead you closer to versus further from your goal(s)? 


P: When you talk, be Patient with one another. The Latin word Patiens means “I am suffering,” so in your conversations make sure you listen to, sit with, and understand the deep thoughts, feelings, and needs of your partner. 

E: One skill associated with Empathy is to “project yourself into what you observe.” Practice “Empatheia” by being curious and inquiring about the passion and suffering of others to know and comprehend it.

A: Acceptance (Nasar, Bahar) is accomplished when you’ve looked at and taken into your mind and heart the credible viewpoints of another. Do you understand, take in and accept the truth of another? 

C: Internal and interpersonal Peace is facilitated by the demonstration of Compassionate behavior that conveys your heart (and all of your innards!) is safe with me.  Are you demonstrating compassion? 

E: Encouragement, Empathy, Effort, Emotional Restitution, Equality and Esteem are all Empowering E’s that create peace and connection in a relationship. Make sure you incorporate these powerful E’s!


P: To the Ancient Greeks, Epithumia is the word used to describe all of the emotions of a person.  In your conversation(s) with your neighbor do you understand their hopes, dreams, fears, mistrust and goals? 

A: Use your energy to produce an “Awakened Mind,” which leads to enlightened, deliberate, mindful and intentional thoughts and decisions that considers the mutual well-being of yourself and others. 

S: Build/rebuild relationships by creating Secure Attachments. Secure Attachments are built with the practice of behaviors that help your body, mind, soul and spirit feel SafeSeenSoothed, and Secure.

S: In addition to the above-mentioned 4 S’s, what other S’s will you focus on developing for mutual benefit: Support, Solitude, Simplicity, Service, Spirituality, Sensuality, Solutions or Self-Control? 

I: Having one’s intimacy needs met are prime motivators of their behavior. Are you engaging in the Adult Mode work of  Intimacy Building Behaviors to build a positive upward spiral between you two?

O: Don’t get too “Other-Focused” when it comes to meeting your needs. Discuss if, what and how the other person could help toward need fulfillment, but remember, self-care is your responsibility, but…

N: …Do focus on how you could cultivate, Nurture then give and receive reasonable expressions of love to others! Use your energy to cultivate connection and nourishing outcomes versus withdrawal or retaliation.


X: “X” Factor: What are the relationship “2.0” values and behaviors that reflect an upgrade in how you think, talk to and treat each other?  What indicates you’re giving your partner gold medal behavior

T: Remember, its ok to schedule or call a  “Time-Out to take a Time-In” to deliver calm to your brain and body when you need time to generate insight regarding how to best cultivate love for each other.

R: Remember to Repeat any healthy suggestions that make sense to the two of you, as the repetition stimulates neuronal growth in your brain. Remember, the cells that fire together will wire together!

A: An “Awakened Mind” creates the “wow” because it loves uncommonly, brainstorms options other don’t see, infuses purpose with passion, commits versus resigning, and produces the extraordinary.

!: Please ensure the behaviors you produce and practice are heavily influenced by the 18 Healthy Adult Morals, Virtues and Values!  The practice of these characteristics builds up the recipient profoundly!

Suggested Activity: Spend some time contemplating the Triple P’s to Loving Your Neighbor. In your reflection, what have you discovered about yourself and your relationship(s) where the practice of these principles could assist you to author new, positive and constructive outcomes for yourself and others? What responsibility will you take and what specifically do you see yourself doing to facilitate the behavior changes suggested with the Triple P’s? Focus on these areas of improvement and growth, and make sure you celebrate the positive experiences and outcomes that accompany loving your neighbor as yourself!

Skill to developThe ability to demonstrate loving behaviors that repair and enhance your relationships.

Next: Emotional #10: Your Emotional Healthy Adult Mode Behaviors (Part 1 – A Loving God) or Table of Contents.

Thanks for reading this excerpt from Cultivating Love: Wisdom for Life. As time permits, please visit the other blogs written by Dr. Ken McGill: Daily Bread for Life and “3 – 2- 5 – 4 – 24” for additional information that could be helpful.

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About Dr Ken McGill

Dr. Ken McGill is an ordained minister and has been involved in counseling for more than 25 years. Dr. McGill holds a Bachelor's degree in Religion from Pacific Christian College (now Hope International University), a Certificate of Completion in the Alcohol and Drug Studies/Counseling Program from the University of California at Los Angeles and a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University. Dr. McGill received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Family Psychology from Azusa Pacific University in May, 2003. Dr. McGill's dissertation focused on the development of an integrated treatment program for the sexually addicted homeless population, and Ken was "personally mentored" by dissertation committee member Dr. Patrick Carnes, a pioneer in the field of sex addiction work. Dr. McGill authored a chapter in the text The Clinical Management of Sex Addiction, with his chapter addressing the homeless and sex addiction. Dr. McGill is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the States of Texas and California and Mississippi, and is a Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, through the International Institute for Trauma and Addictive Professionals (IITAP). Dr. McGill had a private practice in Glendora, CA (Aspen Counseling Center), Inglewood, CA (Faithful Central Bible Church), and Hattiesburg, MS (River of Life Church), specializing in the following areas with individuals, couples, families, groups and psychoeducational training: addictions and recovery, pre-marital, marital and family counseling, issues related to traumatization and abuse, as well as depression, grief, loss, anger management and men's and women's issues. Dr. McGill also provided psychotherapeutic treatment with Student-Athletes on the University of Southern Mississippi Football and Men's Basketball teams. Dr. McGill served as the Director of the Gentle Path Program, which is a seven-week residential program, for people who are challenged with sexual addiction, sexual anorexia, and relationship issues. Dr. McGill also supervised Doctoral students in the Southern Mississippi Psychology Internship Consortium with the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. McGill was inducted into the Azusa Pacific University Academic Hall of Honor, School of Behavioral and Applied Sciences, in October, 2010. Dr. McGill currently works as a Private practice clinician with an office in Plano, Texas, providing treatment with people who are challenged in the areas mentioned above.


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