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All you need is “love” – a feeling for everything?
All you need is love, or at least that’s what The Beatles say in their lyrics. But is that really true? For our Valentine’s Day Special, we look at the phenomenon of love from various sides – from the perspective of science, the different phases and types of love.
Love is all you need
All you need is love, or at least that’s what The Beatles say in their lyrics. As this song is currently on repeat, and my headphones have been blasting it for quite some time now – ok, for probably two-three weeks – my sometimes-romantic slash but-questioning-everything self couldn’t help but go down the route of asking if this was it. Is this the answer? Is love everything that we need? Would this be true? Now asked, most people would probably point out other, more material things as all the things they need. So, is the statement that all we need is love right? Or is it just a projection of Paul McCartney and Co.’s romantic souls?
Is love important for the relationship of a partnership?
Scientifically speaking, it looks like this particular quote isn’t that far from the truth. There has been a significant interest in all things related to the topic. During the past few decades, love, relationship satisfaction, and how a romantic partner can influence an individual’s well-being have been researched. Analysing behavioural data, social psychologists studying love have been quite surprised by the influence this feeling has on us, humans. And here, we are not considering only pair bonds and romantic relationships.
What does affection, love, attachment lead to?
A deep dive into the topic of interpersonal relationships and the way love influences the emotional systems of humans brought important revelations to the surface. After years of deep research, scientists found out that love activates specific regions in our brains. The effect includes reduction in emotional judgment and reduces fear, depression and enhanced mood.
Love is one of the strongest feelings, and without feeling it, we can’t lead harmonious lives. Since we were born, we need to feel loved. We learn to form deep, loving bonds with our parents as babies. During early childhood, together with discovering the world around us, we begin understanding more and more about that feeling. In this early phase, we start feeling attached first to our parents and family and then to our first friends.
(Romantic) love and life
Later on, we further develop our understanding of the emotional union that love is, which can be tricky on its own, especially during the teenage years – but we have all been there – so there is no need for deep reflection on that period. As we get older, we start experiencing love in everyday life. We start understanding the many versions of the feeling and that there is a certain level of complexity. That there are various forms of relationships. Some are lasting relationships based on companionate love. Others are complex and not so deeply rooted. We start more fully understand that every one of us wants to be loved. Simply because we are made this way, we need to give and feel love to exist in all its different forms.
Passionate Love towards everything you do is the way
We need to love everything or at least most of the things part of our lives – from our job, hobbies, children, and pets – to our life partners – to lead healthy, fulfilled lives. When we love from beyond the material perspective, we see that this feeling has an even spiritual force on us. Life is worth nothing if there is no love – if there is no sense of belongingness, of being part of something bigger than yourself. Giving love and affection and receiving it all back brings us tons of happiness and heartfulness. Don’t believe it? Think about the last time your dog climbed your lap and fell asleep there, or when your child gave you randomly a hug, or even the happy walk to work every morning. The feeling of happiness just because you love your job and the things you do. The love you invested in what you love brought you all the warm feelings, right?
Although a lot has been done in terms of effort when it comes to analysing the interpersonal relations, the psychology of love still needs research. However, one thing is clear. To be at peace with ourselves and for our emotional system to be functioning properly, we need to live in harmony and significantly reduce the negative emotions surrounding us. This one can do only with the help of love due to the health benefits that the feeling has on us and our reward system. In order to bring our relationship forward – the one with ourselves – we need to come into terms with one simple truth: Love everything and everyone around you unconditionally as much as you can, expand your circle of love to the farthest it can reach – and don’t be afraid of that. And you know why? Simply because all you need is love!