When I was a little girl, I was very fond of a bubble-gum called “Love is”. Every package contained a drawing and an example of an act associated with love- for instance “ love is squeezing lemon in his tea”. I found these little drawings very appealing, however at that point couldn`t quite appreciate the link to love.
Later I found out that this understanding is something that evolves in a course of a lifetime. This is what the fourth part of the “Positive Psychology” course focuses on.
Following the introduction to positive emotions and the benefits from that experiencing them bring, the focus shifts to perhaps the most important one– Love.
…So what IS love?
Some common perceptions of love are:
- That it is exclusive
- Without finding it we are incomplete
- It is a sort of an achievement
- It involves serious commitment.
Our existing views inarguably serve us well, but Love is such a profound emotion that it deserves to also be looked at through a different lens – the one of Positive Psychology.
Positive Psychology looks at Love as a positive emotion that we mostly co-experience in the company of others. It has to do with investing in the well-being of another person without anything at stake. It is also the feeling that “you get me” and “I get you”.
The scientific definition of Love reads: “interpersonally situated experience marked by momentary increases in shared positive emotions, behavioral synchronicity and mutual care.” The subsequent “products” of love are improved rapport with the person, forming social bonds and commitment.
According to emotional science and more specifically Positive Psychology love blossoms every time when two people connect over a shared positive emotion. This is closely linked to the concept of “Positivity resonance” which effectively is a “co-experience” of positive emotions; a micro moment of connection when a positive emotion unfolds for both of you, between and amongst you at the same time.
Similar to its siblings from the positive emotion family, love also has a “broaden and build component” -it has a momentary effect based on which we build and expand.
Now that we cover the positivity psychology view of love let`s think about the practical insights:
1) The experience of love is dynamic and not static, and it is in our hands to maintain it.
2) By paying more attention to the little positive emotions that we co- experience and that we sometimes trivialize we can improve the quality of our relationships, but also our well-being.
4) Love is not a relationship status – it is a verb, and an action that requires attention. Your attention.
I`ll end here with a quote by Ursula Le Guin:
” Love doesn`t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; re-made all the time, made new”