What’s LOVE Got to Do with It? Positive Psychology Poetry

Venice to Rome

Are you a “lover”? Stop and think about it a minute.

What popped up into your head? Sex, romance, savoring life, you loving, your being loved, or perhaps Valentine’s Day approaching.

Noted positive psychology scientist and author, Barbara Fredrickson’s new book, LOVE 2.0, sheds scientific light on the new definition of LOVE. She defines it as micro-moments of shared connection and PE’s, Positive Emotions. This is eye-brow raising. No longer is love defined as a long-lasting interwoven relationship. Some would say this is blaspheme. To me, it is fascinating and mind-expanding.

Fredrickson says physiologically, to make a relationship work, lasting romantic love is a myth. BEING in love and DOING in love are two different things. What is imperative? Awareness, constant openness to the other and working/playing together to keep those micro-moments fresh. Repeating thoughtful little things often and well as sharing new adventures. Like bits of sand, these actions build to create a stunning beach upon which you both can lie together and soak up life’s sunshine.

Love is fleeting unless you DO love. Not just BE in it.

Many people loose interest after the initial goo-goo ga-ga of romance, called limerance, has ended. The hots is not love.

And check this out. This will blow your mind. Love is like a hit of cocaine. It only takes you, biochemically, one-fifth-of-a-second to “fall in love”! This is a new research conclusion shared by Stephanie Ortigue, who has co-authored a review of neuroscience research on love. There are 12 different areas of the brain that fire up as the brain releases a cocktail of neurotransmitters. Your brain gets a similar high or “hit” as if you have snorted cocaine. No wonder LOVE is considered the grand daddy of all emotions. It’s an awesome amalgam of physical and emotional reactivity. You literally can’t think straight when Cupid’s arrow finds a path to your heart and head.

How long did it take YOU to fall in love?

Venice to Rome 2

What did you feel? Did you get that initial WHOA! feeling? Or did your love morph over time?

More stop-you-dead-in-your-tracks news on love: Fredrickson says love is not exclusive, nor does it belong to one person. What is the key gateway to love? Making eye contact, face-to-face. While telephone calls, texts and emails express love, being together is richer if you are talking about solidifying love. Touching hearts is literally a heady process.

More good news. Love fortifies the connection between your brain and your heart, making you healthier.

This one is amazing: Your immune cells reflect your past experience of love. Your small micro-moments of love can have disproportionately large biological effects. Focusing on your loving moments builds your CAPACITY to love. It is an ACTIVE process. Togetherness is one thing, but love adds to an upward spiral of health as well as improving your capacity to love.

Want to stay happy together?

Don’t take a loving relationship for granted.

You need to reactivate love every day. I know a couple who kiss 20 times a day. True kisses. They catch each other and look at each other in the eye and smile. This adds to their playfulness, happiness and joy. It may also extend their health and lives!

Love and compassion are the same. Love is not always happiness.

It doesn’t mean you ignore or suppress negativity. It simply requires some element of kindness, empathy and appreciation. Compassion is the form love takes when suffering occurs. Reciprocity is necessary for love to continue the upward spiral.

Fredrickson goes on to say simply upgrading your view of love changes your capacity for it. She offers you new lenses in which to define and see love in every interaction. Mindfully attuning becomes a new way of looking at your self and your partner. You matter. They matter. Learn this and your relationship will provide you a cascade of benefits. For your heart as well as your whole life.

To me, LOVE means connectedness.

Sharing, caring and being there. And tenacity. It took 25 years years for my love dream to come true: Ken gliding along with me in a gondola in Venice.

And love means hugs, lots of hugs.

Here is a poem about hugs a client gave me as a gift. I had it posted in my office for years. Enjoy!

Hugs for Everyone

~ Author unknown
Venice to Rome 3
It’s wondrous what a hug can do,
A hug can cheer you when you’re blue.
A hug can say, “I love you so”
Or, “Gee, I hate to see you go.”
A hug is “Welcome back again!”
And, “Great to see you, where’ve you been?”
A hug can soothe a small child’s pain
And bring a rainbow after the rain.
The hug! There’s just no doubt about it,
We scarcely could survive without it.
A hug delights and warms and charms,
It must be why God gave us arms.
Hugs are great for fathers and for mothers,
Sweet for sisters, swell for brothers.
And chances are some favorite aunts
Love them more than potted plants.
Kittens crave them. Puppies love them.
Heads of state are not above them.
A hug can break the language barrier
And make your travels so much merrier.
No need to fret about the store of ‘em
The more you give, the more there are of ‘em.
So stretch those arms without delay
And give someone a hug today.