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Love Is Not An Emotion

--by Barbara Frederickson (Oct 22, 2018)


Love, defined as micro moments of positivity resonance, may thus be the most generative and consequential of all positive emotions. By virtue of being a single state, distributed across and reverberating between two or more brains and bodies at once, love’s ability to broaden mind-sets and build resources may have substantially greater reach.

Love, then, is not simply another positive emotion. Rather, it is the momentary phenomenon through which we feel and become part of something larger than ourselves. Meaning in life may thus emerge not from the grand and unrealistic utopian ideals of “happily-ever-after” love, but from what art historian Nicholas Bourriaud calls the “day-today micro-utopias” of shared positivity. Seeing love as positivity resonance also blurs the boundaries that surround the concept of emotion.

Many, if not most, scientific descriptions of emotions locate these affective phenomena within individuals, confined within one person’s mind and skin. By contrast, the concept of positivity resonance aligns with perspectives offered within cultural psychology that position emotions as unfolding between and among people as they interact. Seeing emotions as properties of individuals may indeed be a myopic by-product of the Western tendency to perceptually extract focal objects from their contextual surround. By contrast, positioning love as a dynamic process that unfurls across and unifies two or more interacting individuals offers parsimony to accounts of the social and societal functions of positive emotions.

Seeing love as positivity resonance also holds practical implications for how people might strengthen their relationships, families, and communities. Striving to improve these directly can be like telling a complete stranger “trust me” in the absence of any trustworthy actions. By contrast, knowing that relationships, families, and communities grow stronger to the extent that positivity resonates between and among people reveals the value of planning for and prioritizing positivity. Creating activities and safe contexts that allow real-time sensory connection and support the emergence of shared positive emotions becomes the pathway to build social bonds and community. This guidance may be especially valuable within contemporary urban cultures that propel people toward multitasking and technology-mediated social connections. As novelist Ursula Le Guin put it, “Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.”

Excerpted from here.

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9 Previous Reflections:

 
On Nov 20, 2018 Quacinda Jodyne Topkok wrote:

What is LOVE is one of the Greateat Questiins anyone can ask of themselves. The answer is foundational to one's life experience.  I understand  LOVE to be LIFE it's self. And to experience life we only have THIS moment. One breath away doesn't count - a moment, even a split second ago is the past.. and LOVE is not there. The future has t happens yet even if it is imagined, and LOVE is not there.   When I think of something larger then myself I think of not just ME.. but everything around me.. EVERYTHING  [that has been] created. I am part of the universe and a viable part of it just because I am alive.  Ive been asking the question of 'Who am I?' Since my childhood. When I was born I just existed without thought, without shame, without aim to impress anyone... When I was happy I was at peace, when I felt pain or unhappiness I expressed it genuinely.  I did not hide my feelings. I was completely authentic.  But as I grew I discovered the world of  See full.

What is LOVE is one of the Greateat Questiins anyone can ask of themselves. The answer is foundational to one's life experience. 

I understand  LOVE to be LIFE it's self. And to experience life we only have THIS moment. One breath away doesn't count - a moment, even a split second ago is the past.. and LOVE is not there. The future has t happens yet even if it is imagined, and LOVE is not there.  

When I think of something larger then myself I think of not just ME.. but everything around me.. EVERYTHING  [that has been] created. I am part of the universe and a viable part of it just because I am alive. 

Ive been asking the question of 'Who am
I?' Since my childhood. When I was born I just existed without thought, without shame, without aim to impress anyone... When I was happy I was at peace, when I felt pain or unhappiness I expressed it genuinely.  I did not hide my feelings. I was completely authentic. 

But as I grew I discovered the world of communication and learned how to make others happy. 

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On Oct 27, 2018 Vandana wrote:

 as i reflected on love, which is who we are at our natural core and hence the resonance of it with all things natural. I also realized that on a practical level, the two ingredienets that make love present for me are being inspired by something, someone, and feeling protected or safe in its surrounding. It is easier to resonate with love when these ingreditents are present. In their absence, a viel of sorts appears and I have to generate these ingredients from within for love to stay emerged. 



On Oct 25, 2018 Jodyne wrote:

 I understand that we are made by love, and.. love is who we are. It is not something we get, it is something we give away. It is not just a feeling.. it is much more then that.. it is what makes life worthwhile and life has no meaning unless we are sharing it (giving it away).  So.. it is love coming out of us that fulfills our purpose, and not the feelings we have that we can experience when someone else gives us attention and love.  



On Oct 23, 2018 Hossein Faraji wrote:

 —

 

This is love: to fly toward a secret sky,

to cause a hundred veils to fall each moment.

First, to let go of live.

In the end, to take a step without feet;

to regard this world as invisible,

and to disregard what appears to be the self.

 

Heart, I said, what a gift it has been

to enter this circle of lovers,

to see beyond seeing itself,

to reach and feel within the breast

From Rumi fore you with thanks



On Oct 20, 2018 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

Meditating daily is my topmost prority. In a meditative state I feel and experience the divine presence - Love - the realization of the integral oneness with life. It creates positive resonance in me.The apparent boundaries of divisiveness and sepatateness get dissloved. It creates an oceanic feeling of oneness. In this meditative state, the boundaries created by the divided-self melt away. Such knowing brings deep joy and bliss in me. This is the TRUTH.  When I step out of the flow of such inner connectedness, I loose the touch of the underlying oneness. Feeling seperated from others by my critical and judgemental ways of relating to others creates negative resonance in me. Awareness of this negative resonance helps me to return to the state of positive resonance. Such positive resonance creates a ripple effect.  Others are touched by this and that creates hope in me in a world that is getting more divided in many ways. I would like to cconculde my reflections by quoting Ur  See full.

Meditating daily is my topmost prority. In a meditative state I feel and experience the divine presence - Love - the realization of the integral oneness with life. It creates positive resonance in me.The apparent boundaries of divisiveness and sepatateness get dissloved. It creates an oceanic feeling of oneness. In this meditative state, the boundaries created by the divided-self melt away. Such knowing brings deep joy and bliss in me. This is the TRUTH.  When I step out of the flow of such inner connectedness, I loose the touch of the underlying oneness.

Feeling seperated from others by my critical and judgemental ways of relating to others creates negative resonance in me. Awareness of this negative resonance helps me to return to the state of positive resonance. Such positive resonance creates a ripple effect.  Others are touched by this and that creates hope in me in a world that is getting more divided in many ways.

I would like to cconculde my reflections by quoting Ursula Le Gain, "Love just doesn't sit there, like a stone: it has to be made like bread: remade all the time, makes new".  

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On Oct 19, 2018 david doane wrote:

We don't become part of something larger than ourselves, we are always part of something larger than ourselves, and  the moments we become aware of that are special moments, typically aha moments, peak moments, love moments.  An important love is how we are when realizing and appreciating our union or oneness with all that is. It may be only a momentary phenomenon particularly if awareness of our being part of something larger than ourselves is a new awareness, and it may be an ongoing love if we abide in awareness that we are part of something larger than ourselves.  I think my first peak experiences were in looking into a star-filled sky and having an awareness of how big the unvierse is and my being part of something much larger than myself.  From there I have moved to a much more frequent awareness of our being part of something much bigger and greater than ourselves, and it's an awareness that fills me with awe and love and what Barbara Frederickson calls posi  See full.

We don't become part of something larger than ourselves, we are always part of something larger than ourselves, and  the moments we become aware of that are special moments, typically aha moments, peak moments, love moments.  An important love is how we are when realizing and appreciating our union or oneness with all that is. It may be only a momentary phenomenon particularly if awareness of our being part of something larger than ourselves is a new awareness, and it may be an ongoing love if we abide in awareness that we are part of something larger than ourselves.  I think my first peak experiences were in looking into a star-filled sky and having an awareness of how big the unvierse is and my being part of something much larger than myself.  From there I have moved to a much more frequent awareness of our being part of something much bigger and greater than ourselves, and it's an awareness that fills me with awe and love and what Barbara Frederickson calls positivity resonance.

Hide full comment.