All manner of things have been written about love: essays, plays, songs, books, poems, tweets and a thousand things more. Love is so incredible that even science is trying to explain it. That is what today’s article is about.
One of the first Positive Psychology courses I made was Barbara Fredrickson’s, the wonderful psychologist that enumerated the positive emotions. They are 10: joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, fun, inspiration, amazement and love.
Love is the last to be mentioned not because it is less important, but because it encompasses all the others. The most extraordinary thing about it is that it can be felt with other people. This is why it is so special.
Let’s connect with love, not only the romantic kind but all our love, through these emotions:
Love and joy: Love is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful sources of joy. When we fall in love and it is corresponded, clouds are but the ground floor of our joy, nothing embitters us and we want to spread our joy everywhere. The first time a son calls us: “mom” or “dad” and hugs us; Wow! The joy produced from that display of attention from our offspring is nothing but the greatest. Love cheers us up, revitalizes us. This relationship was easy and pretty evident.
Love and gratitude: It is difficult not to feel grateful when we are in the company of those we love and are loved by. That gratitude drives us to give back and correspond that love. It follows then, that we not only improve ourselves, as we want to give the best we can, but we improve our relationships, making them fairer and more complete, as well.
Love and serenity: When our life goes well, we feel serenity. We feel it when everything is as it should be. Loving makes life feel more complete, more whole, and that feeling produces tranquillity and serenity.
Love and interest: Normally, this has a very negative connotation, but here we are talking about a different kind of interest. Interest is related to something that makes us curious, something we want to focus our attention on. This is because when we love, our interest of knowing, understanding and pleasing our loved ones is undeniable, just as we feel really good when that other person is interested in us, what we like, what we dream of and our projects. In this case, love and interest get along just fine.
Love and hope: Hope is a curious emotion. While it is a positive emotion, it appears when things are not going alright for us. Hope is that certainty that, in spite of the vicissitudes, everything is going to turn out well, and love plays an important role in this. Love increases that feeling. Love makes us feel better supported, more powerful and makes much firmer our belief that we can keep moving forward.
Love and pride: Just like interest and cholesterol, there is good pride and bad pride. Bad pride destroys love, good pride stimulates it. The latter is what we feel when someone makes something extraordinary and gains our admiration or when we have achieved something worthwhile and our loved ones recognize our amazing feat. These feelings, admiration and acknowledgement, increase love and significantly improve our close relationships.
Love and amusement: Just like with joy, the link between these two is very easy to establish. Love improves our mood, our sense of humour and disposition towards new and very fun experiences. A part of love is extending wellbeing, and doing fun activities together is a very simple and effective way of increasing love, so sharing the fun is a very natural behaviour.
Love and inspiration: You can ask writers, musicians, poets and troubadours on this one. Love is, by far, the most inspiring feeling of them all. Love exposes us to a whole new world of sensations, emotions and traits we never thought we had inside ourselves. Love reveals our true self. It helps us know what’s most amazing about ourselves. This makes us feel more enlightened and inspired to develop these newfound aspects.
Love and awe: Awe is, personally speaking, one of my favourite emotions. I really enjoy being amazed. Being left breathless at the grandeur of nature or the magnificent feat of another human being. I have experienced that emotion many times with my children, when I looked at them and thought, at that moment, that there could not be bigger love and perhaps a couple days later realizing that yes, one can love more, and more, and more. The infinite capacity of loving is certainly one of the most amazing things there is.
Here ends my note of love but, first, here is a recommendation: feel, truly feel. Let love reveal itself. Do not pigeon-hole it, force it, keep a watchful eye on it, nor pretend to possess it, explain it or rule over it.
Let it reign and shine in all its splendour because, My Happies, love is all that you are.
Chao, I’m going to spread love around.