Am I Loved? The Most Asked Question Of All Time by John D. Bieber is available now in hardback and ebook in all good bookshops and online. @JohnBieberBooks

Aspirations of love and of being loved are the constant waking schemes and sleeping dreams of all Humankind. Indeed, acting like a barometer for our mental health, the satisfaction or otherwise of our need to be loved is paramount for our wellbeing. In my new book, Am I Loved? The Most Asked Question Of All Time (Umbria Press, hardback and ebook available in all good bookshops and online), explores the undeniable fact that as the world’s only emotional beings, it is truly astonishing that we function through emotions that we do not remotely understand or control. Our emotions exist not to benefit us but to safeguard our genes, protecting the life within us. We spend our lives intent on surviving when fulfilment comes from loving and being loved. Nature’s Protections serve to liberate us yet we allow them to inhibit our lives without realising that the majority of our many emotional problems are solvable simply by a proper understanding of the human condition. The most asked question of all time is: Am I Loved?

Love is passion. Love is life, joy, fulfilment. But I’ve seen love dying. I’ve seen love dead.
Love: the magic thread in the human tapestry, the sliver of warmth and light in a dark, cold world. Love: the single thing that every human being longs for, that everyone alive on this planet absolutely needs. Yes, love: the glue that binds two people, the bond uniting families and friends, the single force that fuels all human coupling, affording grace to individual existence. I’ve witnessed love, experienced love and been deeply blessed with love in my personal life, but as a lawyer handling divorce I’ve seen what happens when it’s gone, lost forever like a dream that flies away. 

With love extinguished, perfectly good and reasonable people fall victim to feelings they’ve never had or imagined before. Things become ugly, tragic and distressing, rendering them incapable of navigating procedures based on rights and entitlements. They are simply too in thrall to their emotions to see the wood for the trees. 

This is what prompted me to write ‘Am I Loved? The Most Asked Question Of All Time’ explaining the human condition. Because I wanted to bring understanding to things we plainly do not understand. I wanted to offer the chance to enhance the quality of our lives. My conclusions shed new light on all aspects of human experience. Suddenly our lives make sense and our previous understandings seem wrong, for we can see now how we have been engineered and why, how we are intended to function and how we have previously got everything wrong. 

In my professional life as a divorce lawyer, I saw so many clients in a state of abject unhappiness, all of them vulnerable, sad and insecure, as were, probably, their spouses. Apart from the misery, all of them had one thing in common: they were in no emotional state to make life-changing decisions. 

Emotions are feelings that come to us fully formed, that drive all human intercourse and influence all thoughts, but, and this is a huge but, they are things which we can neither comprehend nor control. To understand how complex the problem is, consider this. Dealing with divorce I discovered two paradoxes. The first is that when people are called upon to take important decisions, they are in no emotional state to do so. The second is that when people are unhappily married they become emotionally divorced, whereas when they are divorced a surprisingly large number feel emotionally married. 

Such is the effect of emotions. And this fascinated me: at the very moment when people need their cool and sufficient detachment to make one of the biggest decisions of their lives, they succumb to their emotions. Their common sense and judgement desert them. 

And so follows a bad divorce after a bad marriage. The marital knot is cut when, in wisdom, it could so easily have been untied. These considerations prompted me to write a book on the emotional side of divorce. Entitled If Divorce Is the Only Way (1997, Penguin), it explains the advantages of pursuing a good divorce. Based on positive thinking with a reach target of moving on with minimum damage to the children and future relations between the parties, it has helped a lot of people.

When more adults in the United States than comprise the entire population of France are diagnosed as suffering from mental illness, substance abuse or dependencies, we can see that humanity has major problems. Looking at life as it is lived today, it is probably getting worse. 

That many people are unhappy, insecure and self-obsessed, that relationship breakdowns are rampant, disappointment and jealousy the norm, and that people, including children, routinely suffer as part of their daily existence, are indications of how wrong we have gone. We have got things so wrong that living the human story as we do, not understanding so much of Life, has blotted out from our conception all notion of how we could and ought to be, as if being as we are is how it is meant to be.

You see, even more than loving, needing to be loved is as much part of the human condition as Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s ‘breath, smiles, tears’. That need, that dependency on others, when you thought yourself so strong and self-sufficient, exists whether you are aware of it or not, can speak of love or have difficulty in finding it, or spend your life in search of it. Everyone needs to be loved even if they are/feel unlovable. 

That is why I ask the question ‘Am I loved?’ in great depth within my new book. It is the essence of every human being, the single factor that all human beings share, the greatest leveller on this side of death. Needing to be loved is genuinely your all-consuming need, its fulfilment or otherwise serving as a barometer for your mental health, its satisfaction essential to your wellbeing.