🎶What is love?🎶
If you grew up in the 80’s I am sure you are now bobbing your head and dancing to the excellent beat of a song by Haddaway. You can’t help but have that song jump in your head when someone says that phrase. All because of 🎶Love, It’s exciting and new, Jump aboard we’re expecting youuuuuuuu, The LOOOOVE BOOOOAT! 🎶Sorry, sometimes I do lose myself in a 🎶silly love song🎶.
We hear about love all the time. Have you really sat down and pondered what love is at the root of it all? That is what I wanted to look at today. Love and how can you feel more of it towards as many people as possible.
Love at its Base
As Jon Milton says in The Devil Advocate about love, “Overrated, Biochemically no different than eating large quantities of chocolate.” How is that possible? I am not a biochemistry person, but I am starting to understand what is meant by that. I know this isn’t perfect, I help people with emotions, but I am not a doctor in any way. Yet from what I have come to understand, there are a few feel-good neuroreceptors, and a few feel bad neuroreceptors. These are designed to capture certain “hormones” that are released by the brain.
A few of the more well-known hormones that our brain enjoys are the following.
This is often called the love molecule. You experience a massive rush of Oxytocin when you see your child for the first time. Several Events cause oxytocin to be released into your bloodstream, from Sex to Birth and all through a relationship. Oxytocin has the effect of allowing us to build trust, empathy, and a stronger bond with our loved ones, and is used for us to relax.
You also get an increase of Oxytocin when simply gaze into the eyes of someone you love. Even dogs get an oxytocin bump every time they look you in the eye. So do dogs truly love us? I would say yes!. It builds that connection even more. So if you want to connect with your loved one on a deeper level, spend some time just looking into the eyes of each other. Do it for 5 -10 minutes. Yeah, it feels weird at first, but it becomes more and more natural the more you do it.
We also get a bump when we approach a new group of people, and they accept us. This also explains why we are often so apprehensive about approaching a new group of people, and we come up with excuses not to join a group. We are afraid that we won’t get that bump of Oxytocin we are craving.
Serotonin is the hormone that is released when we are accepted by a group. When you can make someone smile, that is this happy molecule hitting our brain, serotonin has been linked to memory building. If you have a vivid memory, you can thank serotonin for that.
Serotonin is also found to be linked to eating. Which explains why we use eating as a community experience. We have an increased enjoyment of the food but also the added emotional connection by being in a group of people.
We also have serotonin released from exercise, which is one reason getting outdoors lifts our mood so much. You get both exercise and the needed bright sunlight to increase your serotonin levels.
When we don’t have a lot of serotonin in our systems, that are where the effects of depression and anxiety come from. We also get irritable, or a feeling is a restlessness.
If you are a video game player, you know what dopamine does for you after fighting through a hard level. That sense of accomplishment from doing something difficult and thought maybe you would never beat, and suddenly, you succeed! That sense of relief and happiness comes from dopamine.
Dopamine is pretty much your reward hormone. When you do something, and that sense of satisfaction you receive is thanks to dopamine. It is released during sex and when you can make those around you smile. It lets us know that all is good.
Dopamine also can be your downfall. This is what cigarettes and tobacco do for us. It produces a large amount of Dopamine and gives us that satisfying sensation. Sugar does the same thing too.
This is a case of too much of a good thing. This dopamine rush is what addicts chase. They need it more than the drug itself. It’s just that we tie the sensation of dopamine to a particular event. We can overdo it, but if you are willing to Combine the denial of dopamine in your body, you will adapt and find rewards in other parts of your life.
So is Love just a large amount of chocolate? No, that is a serotonin and dopamine bump. While love is those with Oxytocin added for better connection to others.
Back to the original question: what is Love?
We can look to the old guys of yesteryear who sat around and did a whole bunch of thinking. They have plenty of thoughts as to what love is.
For me, love is an emotion and it is what we as humans strive for. It is the ultimate emotion. There is no emotion you can feel, and the coolest part about this is you get to choose what you think, so If you want to feel love all the time, that is your choice.
Remember, nobody can feel your emotions; nobody can make you feel any emotion. Yes, you can, and will, have a thought about an action someone does. That thought is under your control. You can make that thought mean whatever you want it to be. Just know that it wasn’t anybody’s action that made you feel that way. You Chose to feel that way.
So with that premise, you can choose to love everyone. You can feel the euphoria and connection, acceptance, and joy that comes bundles with love. That is your choice, and it is under your power.
Love on Tap?
Yep love on tap. You can love anybody you choose. Even those you are not fond of. Ask yourself, how would you act if you could love even those folks you hate?
Now that sounds a bit strange, doesn’t it? Hate is often thought of as the opposite of love. Yet in all reality, it isn’t. The opposite of love is fear. Hate is a derivative of fear. The nazis feared the changes Germany was going through and so they chose to follow a mad man and point their fear at the Jewish population.
The black lives matter, people are full of fear; they are afraid they can never find a solution to what is plaguing them. So they are allowing that fear to turn to hate and are pointing their accusing finger to people who have what they wish to have. They fear they are not being heard. They see a lack of change in their grievances and fear that those changes will never happen.
How much more traction would their movement get if they turned away from fear. What if they chose to talk about the problems through a loving approach? There is a possibility that they may have people respond in a better light. Yet fear is a good motivator, though love sounds all airy-fairy is actually a better motivator.
So Could you love your enemy?
According to Dr. Martin Luthor King Jr. Yes, you can love your enemies. When you love your enemy, they become your friend. The interesting thing is your friends don’t have to agree with everything you say, think, or do. You can have a differing opinion on how things are done.
In today’s society, we have such a plague of tribalism going on that tells people that if they don’t fit into a particular slot, they can’t be accepted, and that is also out of fear. Fear that your mind might get changed. Fear that you won’t be accepted by the group you are currently in. Fear of irrational things. When in reality, You can be in many different groups and you can love whoever you choose.
Why wouldn’t you want to feel love? The feeling is such a better positive feeling in you than fear and hate.
Think of all those great feeling hormones that go through your body when you are feeling love. No one else can control that feeling but you. So what if you loved even your enemies in spite of what they do? They couldn’t stop you. Your emotions are your emotions. So why not feel great and at peace all the time, instead of walking around feeling horrible with a headache because your blood pressure is up.
So what do you choose? Do you choose to love all, or do you want to live in a world of fear?
Many times we will love people on the condition of what they do. Even though we say we love our kids unconditionally, we don’t show that love when they do something wrong. We yell and force our kids to do things. Fear often creeps into the discipline of our kids. Why do we yell at them when they are late? We often say it is because we want them to be responsible. Yet if we really look at the core of the anger, it is because we were afraid. They may have gotten into a wreck, or we are afraid of what the neighbors are going to think of us.
We let our egos get in the way, and we can’t fully admit that we got drunk at a party a few times too. Yeah, we understand the ramifications of that drinking better than Junior does. Yet we don’t help build understanding as much as we want to satisfy our egos. Because of that, we often show conditional love.
This is also the case when it comes to those around us. We could love them for being them, but we choose not to. We choose to fear what may happen if we listen to their discussions. Maybe they have a good point that could shift your entire thinking. Then what would your tribe think?
Forget the fear it will only hold you back. Try this for a week. Try just to feel love through the whole day. Yeah, it sounds like some hippy philosophy. It doesn’t make you a pacifist. It doesn’t make you weak or any of those arguments that your brain is telling you right now as you are reading this. That again is fear of the unknown talking.
That is the opposite of love, fear talking. What does love say? You can stand up for what you believe is right. You can lead your family. You can be a stronger man for loving all of those. Because you are still able to think. You won’t be led by the leash as you are with fear. Now go dance to some Haddaway.