Hi there! Welcome back to the blog! As Valentine’s Day is soon approaching, we may find ourselves spending more time contemplating what love is and how it fits in our lives. Apart from delicious heart-shaped candies, frilly decorations, and all the niceties we are so accustomed to, love can be viewed as the main method of survival. In contrast to other animals in the animal kingdom, humans are pretty unremarkable in terms of physical strength, therefore in order to survive we need to be in groups. To survive in groups, we need to forge connections with others; enter love.
Developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth put forward the definition that love is an affectional tie that one person forms between him/herself and another specific person. This tie binds individuals together in space and endures over time. Why do humans love though? While love plays a role in procreation, which is essential for the survivorship of our species, it is much more than that. If we look at it from a child-caregiver perspective, love exists to ensure that the caregiver stays in close contact with the infant for warmth, protection, nutrition, and keeping the infant safe in general. Though nowadays we are less likely at risk of being attacked by a bear in the wild, we still need to be around other humans, especially at times of illness, loneliness, et cetera. In essence: lack of connection and closeness increases risk for mortality.
How do I know what actual love is? In the simplest of terms, love is a reciprocal connection between two individuals outlined by friendship, respect, and genuine care for the other’s well-being. Note the vast difference between love and other “knock-off” versions of the sentiment, such as possessiveness, abuse, disrespect and unreciprocated feelings.
Do I need love to survive? Yes and no. Yes in that we are wired to forge enduring connections with others. However, in situations where we find ourselves victims of mistreatment under the guise of “love”, this is when we need to reconsider. Another way to look at love is to imagine it as a route taken by two individuals; it is not about herding, rather, walking along side by side.
If you or anyone you know are going through any of the above-mentioned experiences, or are having difficulty functioning in a manner you deem appropriate, you may want to consider seeking talk-therapy to help provide clarity and assist in alleviating this concern. To continue this conversation, feel free to reach out with any questions, concerns, elaboration requests, or private consultations. Additionally, if there are other topics you would like me to post about in the blog, send me your recommendations. I can be confidentially reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (647) 493-2991. Until then, remember: We are wired for connection, not isolation. See you next Wednesday!