Being a strange psychology graduate, I often find myself analyzing emotions, the effect they have, where they come from, and the meaning behind them. One I think a lot about is love. In honor of Valentines day I tried to post a blog with pictures while also discussing my thoughts on the concept of love. It wasn't really working. The problem is, I have too many questions and thoughts about love and so I am dedicating this entire post to my "love thoughts."
In reading about love, science claims that it is a dopamine chemical in the brain that is released that causes you to feel a feeling of need, thereby that "I love you" sensation. When I read this I also wonder, if it is all happening in the brain, why is love associated with your heart?
The answer to that question is that when most people feel love, they feel a tightening sensation in the chest, where the heart is. That makes it easy to say "in my heart I love him" because of the tightening in the heart. However, your heart doesn't really do any thinking or decision making at all. So I also wonder, why DO we feel a tightening in our hearts? Why is the sensation in our chest? Is it the heart that is so special or is the brain making my heart feel tight from the chemical release?
Have you ever heard someone say they love someone so much it hurts? Well I had and I thought I knew what that meant. Thinking about losing my husband makes me feel physical pain and I just thought that was it. However, the other day I went to get my daughter out of the car and she reached her hand out to me and my heart squeezed so tight it hurt. I could just feel how much I love her and I was taken aback. My chest stayed tightened with the painful love sensation for quite some time and I felt a desperation to always have her with me no matter what. I thought about that the rest of the day. What happened that made it so that my heart was being squoozed so much it ached? Why did it happen in my heart if it was a chemical reaction in my brain? Why didn't I feel dizzy or something like that instead? What is happening in my chest and what is causing it?
What makes it so that mothers instantaneously love from the moment they conceive for all eternity? When a person falls in love he/she is drawn to certain characteristics in another person that are deemed good and wanted. However, a mother knows few of the characteristics of the child being carried in the womb because they have never met in this life. How does that love happen?
Also, what makes one person drawn to another so that they feel that feeling of romantic love? A person can have all the characteristics I think are wonderful but I do not feel a feeling of need and undying devotion. My heart doesn't swell up with romantic love everytime I meet someone wonderful. What causes that romantic aspect of love? Why is it different for every person?
I could go on and on and on because I think about this often- it's fun for me. My one final thought is that I believe we will never be able to understand everything about love because it is a gift from God. That's why He can love perfectly, because love is from Him. The Savior embodies love and because love is godly, science will never be able to explain all of its complexities. I have always loved strongly and deeply and I'm greatful for this gift. Perhaps that's why I love Valentines Day, a day to celebrate love. Now everyone has some food for thought. We'll all be laying down wondering why we love the people we love :)
5 years ago