I need to go back to a positive emotion and I have to admit I’m hard pressed to find a positive one starting with N so I am going colloquial phrase for my piece tonight. I’m nuts over my husband, my dogs, blogging and so many things that I’m not going to list them all. For those of you that don’t know this is a term for love and what a nice emotion that is to have on board.
Love covers such a gambit of different emotions. If I were to say I loved that meal it is a different love to that which I feel for my mother which in turn is very different for that which I feel for my husband. It can refer to strong emotions of attraction and attachment. As well it is a blanket covering kindness, compassion and respect for fellow humans, animals and nature. It is one of the most difficult emotions to define as a result of these multitude of usages.
One thing that is for sure – love is a positive emotion.
Robert Sternberg formulated a triangular theory of love composed of three facets. Firstly there is intimacy, sharing confidences and the like; secondly commitment – where there is the expectation of permanency and thirdly, sexual attraction and passion. He argued that all love has these components in varying degrees whilst the opposites of love such as hate and apathy share none of the components. So liking may only include intimacy, empty love only commitment and romantic love may include all three.
The saying “opposites attract” developed in response to the invention of electricity where positive and negative charges attract and psychologists of the time believed the same could occur with love. Subsequent research has found this not to be so. When I did psychology we learnt that people with long ear lobes are attracted to people that also have long ear lobes but in my case I have no ear lobes whilst my husband has large flappy ones. I don’t think it made any difference to us.
Erich Fromm postulated that love is not a feeling at all but rather a series of loving actions over time and is dependent on conscious commitment. Ummm. Tell that to those that go nuts over someone. I once had a battle-axe boss who made us quiver in our boots. She was totally work oriented so when she didn’t return from holidays the police were eventually sent looking for her. She had simply forgotten to come back to work as she was in love. I have seen her in recent years and she and the man she loved are still as much in love today as they were then.
My husband tells a similar story with the meeting of his first wife and I have heard numerous other tales much along the same track. Perhaps this is where the evolutionary theory comes in – that we fall in love so that we maintain monogamous relationships and therefore avoid sexually transmitted disease with the associated decline in fertility and increased childhood morbidity.
My theory on love of the romantic passionate kind is that you first should be happy in yourself and not need love to make you feel whole. Love when it comes enhances your happiness, it should not create your happiness. Love can be a stifling but if embraced in an open, nutty fashion love is indeed “a many splendored thing.”