A Poke In the Eye

By Greg Baer M.D.

July 6, 2011

Dan was irritated that Cheryl was "constantly" offering him advice about a great many things.

"But I'm just trying to help," Cheryl said. "He's always doing stuff, or making decisions, without all the information he needs, and I'm just trying to help."

"So really, you're just trying to love him, right?" I asked.


"Kind of like a hug."


"If each time you reach out to hug Dan, you poke him in the eye with an extended finger, do you think he'll feel loved as a result?"

A look of shock came over Cheryl's face as she realized what she'd been doing. Then she laughed. "Okay, I get the point."

Each time we're "trying to help" or love someone, we need to consider whether it's a gesture that the other person would like. Sure, there are times when people actually need a poke in the eye, as in the case of a wise man telling someone a difficult truth they need but don't want to hear. But such times are the exception. On the whole, people don't feel hugged when we poke them in the eye.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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