On Love & Compassion: Lessons From Downton Abbey


On Love & Compassion: Lessons From Downton Abbey
Whether it is 1921 or 2013, love is a powerful promoter of the best impulses of the human spirit.

Lord Grantham insists that the police have been wrongly summoned and he bravely protects Thomas from the backlash of bigotry and homophobia.  Given his own pathetic expressions of prejudice while he and his wife were not on speaking terms, it seems obvious that his wife's love and support are grounding him, guiding him through the terrible grief of his daughter's death, and allowing Lord Grantham to be the leader Downton wants and needs.

As a therapist, the connection between love, connection and compassion is a common theme.  Obviously, a sense of love and connection is never a necessary pre-requisite for compassion; however, the relationship can be transformational.  I once worked with a client in her thirties who had never experienced a relationship that lasted longer than a few weeks.  By working through significant trauma from her past, and by examining her own pattern of choosing unsuitable, unavailable partners, she learned to make healthier relationship choices.  A few months into a relationship with the man whom she eventually married she reflected:

"I'm still the same person, obviously.  But knowing that I have such a wonderful person to talk with and enjoy at the end of each day hasn't just made me happier.  I'm gutsier.  A colleague made a racist remark at the office and I spoke out in objection.  And others chimed in to support me.  The old me had all of the same views, I just lacked the confidence to express them."

Whether it is 1921 or 2013, the Valentine's message is clear: love is a powerful promoter of the best impulses of the human spirit.

Elisabeth's book, Overcoming Your Parents' Divorce, was a finalist in the relationship category of the 2008 Best Book Award.  Visit www.elisabethlamotte.com to learn more and follow @elisjoy.

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Elisabeth LaMotte


Social worker, psychotherapist, blogger and author of "Overcoming Your Parents' Divorce"

Location: Washington, DC
Credentials: LICSW, MFT, MSW
Specialties: Communication Problems, Dating/Being Single Support, Divorce/Divorce Prevention
Other Articles/News by Elisabeth LaMotte:

Is Your Teen Or Tween Struggling Because They Feel Different?


If you have tween or teen daughters, it is highly likely that you have already heard an earful about John Green's bestselling novel and subsequently recently released film, The Fault in our Stars.  Even if you do not have teens or tweens, you would have to be living under a rock to have missed the hype about Hazel Grace, Augustus Waters, and their ... Read more

5 Things Movies Can Teach You About Breakups


A painful breakup is one of the most common reasons people seek therapy. Breakups are almost never easy and almost never mutual. Most people going through a breakup say they wish they could reverse their situation back into a relationship. However, as much as losing a relationship can hurt, breakups also carry the opportunity for important emotional ... Read more

Are You Ready to Unplug Your Love Life?


As a therapist working with adults in their twenties, thirties and forties, many of whom are single, I frequently discuss the way that technology affects dating and relationships with my clients.  I often wonder what the future will look like, and how much farther the internet revolution will infiltrate and impact the human experience of ... Read more

See More


Sign up for our daily email and get the stories everyone is talking about.

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.