We are Made for Love


As I mentioned in the previous post, the 2nd World Congress on Positive Psychology happened last weekend. I wasnt’ there, but that is what I found out: this year’s conference boasts 1,200 attendees from 62 countries, 50 symposiums and workshops, 400 posters, and 22 speakers from around the world. I’m very impressed with Kelly Erickson’s post on Greater Good about the presentation by Barbara Fredrickson on the opening day “Love: A New Lens on the Science of Thriving”:

” Fredrickson completely transformed how I think about love and connection. She first got my attention by: defining what love IS and is NOT. According to Fredrickson:

Love is NOT: sexual desire (there is love in sexual desire), special bonds (products of love), commitment (which is a decision), exclusive (love is not felt for just one person), and lasting (as with all other emotions, love is a reaction to changing circumstances). And, finally, love is not unconditional, in that it requires two preconditions: 1) safety felt when with another, and 2) connection in the form of co-presence, eye contact, touch, voice, etc.
Love IS: an investment in the well-being of others for others’ sake, and perceived responsibility for them and them for you (i.e., the feeling that others ‘get’ me/care about me, etc). Love, like other emotions, has a biological component.

Her resulting definition for love: an interpersonal, social situation with positive emotion marked by momentary increases in invested well-being in others, bio-behavioral synchrony, and mutual responsive action tendencies.

Taking a step back, Fredrickson gave an overview of the numerous positive aspects of positive emotions, especially the ways they make us feel connected to others emotionally and the way they make us better at taking others’ perspectives, which not only makes us more likely to help them but enables us to see past differences that may divide us, such as racial differences.

She then drew on several studies to highlight the behavioral and neurological effects when two people share positive emotions. The more connected two people feel—such as through sharing joy, gratitude, pride, laughter, inspiration, awe, etc.(!)—the more they will move their bodies in similar ways and the more their neurological activity will look the same.

So this sounds a lot like what she defines as “love,” doesn’t it?

In fact, Fredrickson proposed that when any positive emotion is shared between two people, the act of sharing that emotion changes it into one of love; in other words, love is any shared positive emotion.

Taking this a step further, she said that love is a single act performed by two bodies and brains. She concluded with a slide picturing two hikers on their journey to the top of a snow covered mountain: Love is the pinnacle of emotions, she argued. We are not “made to love,” she said, but “made for love.”

Read complete post http://bit.ly/oEVs47 .

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