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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Love 2.0: Post#2--What is Love?

What is Love? Love is all around us—an opportunity that arises every time we meet with people and share a positive emotion. Three things happen when you’re in a loving interaction (a physical/nonverbal exchange in a safe setting): You share a positive emotion, there’s a synchrony of biochemistry and behavior between you both (like a dance), and you have a feeling of mutual care for the well-being of each other. Frederickson calls this trifecta of happiness “positivity resonance,” an amplified emotion that nourishes the care and concern for a relationship. “More than any other positive emotion, love belongs not to one person, but to pairs or groups of people” (p. 19). When people are depressed, anxious or otherwise preoccupied negatively, they’re hyperreceptive to threats, seeing them where they really aren’t present. And, when people feel unsafe, they get cut off from love. Indeed, love’s pre-existing conditions are connections—both co-presence in the same location and sensory connection. Such sensory connections come primarily through eye contact, followed by voice, touch, gestures and other nonverbals.  In fact, smiling is the quickest way to connect with another person. We have 50 different smiles that we as humans use (Paul Ekman, p. 21). Eye contact allows us to connect with each other, read intention and emotions, thus be better equipped for the interaction. To be in “love,” connect with eye contact. Moreover, you have to be present in heart and mind.  This interweaving of body and mind becomes what’s called intersubjectivity, what Dr. Spock (“Star Trek”) might call a “mind meld.”

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