5 Love Lessons From 'Silver Linings Playbook'

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bradley cooper silver linings playbook
This insightful rom-com can teach us a lot about love.

Healthy relationships take work and awareness. Merriam-Webster defines a romantic relationship as an emotional attachment between individuals (a meaningful relationship). In other words, relationships require two people to interact in certain ways to make the emotional connection meaningful.

The Oscar-nominated film Silver Linings Playbook introduces us to messy relationships and messy lives. The relationships and characters are incredibly sensitive and humane. It is a romantic comedy that highlights the best and worst behaviors of people in relationships.

Silver Linings Playbook is a story of love, loss and everything in-between. The main character is Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper). The story starts with Pat's release from a mental hospital after being treated for bipolar disorder for eight months. We find out Pat nearly killed a man who was having an affair with his wife Nikki (Brea Bee).

Nikki gets a restraining order against Pat after the attack. Pat's goa, for month,s was to become the man Nikki wanted and reunite with his wife. Pat's thinking was noble, yet grandiose, which fits with his bipolar diagnosis and symptoms. Yet, Pat found that living with a sense of hope after experiencing the despair of losing everything — his wife, job, home and freedom — provided meaning for him. He vowed to look for the silver lining from every experience, learn from it and move forward.

A friend of Pat's introduces him to Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence), a woman with a sordid past. Pat and Tiffany connect immediately, discussing the various psychotropic medicines they have been on to help them deal with their mental health symptoms. We learn Tiffany struggles with depression and is dealing with the unexpected death of her husband.

Pat and Tiffany begin to spend time with each other and find they can be themselves with each other. They don't pretend. They are honest, and tolerant of the others quirkiness and idiosyncrasies. Both are messes emotionally yet are able to connect with the "crazy" in each other.

Here is what we can learn from Silver Linings Playbook about meaningful relationships:

1. Accept people for who they are. Embrace the quirks and emotional baggage your partner brings to the relationship. Tiffany and Pat accept each others' emotional baggage. Pat learned to stop idealizing Nikki and accept the reality she had moved on. He also came to appreciate Tiffany for her thoughtfulness and accepting him as the man he was already. Keep reading ...

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Teresa Maples

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Teresa Maples MS, LMHC, CSAT, CMAT

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