Why do we love? Most of us would give reasons related to qualities we see in another person but perhaps not how the other person makes us feel about ourselves..
After reading this article, in Psychology Today, I gained a different perspective on why we fall in love.
According to Hank Davis, Professor of Psychology at the University of Guelph in Canada, “We don’t fall in love with a person because of their qualities, per se, rather, we fall in love with ourselves in their presence. In other words, we fall in love with the version of ourselves that we become when we are around them.”
“Love is deeply, even primarily rooted in our feelings about ourselves, and secondarily about our loved one.”
When we feel good about ourselves we attract other people, yet when we’re sad or depressed, we build up an imaginary shield which keeps people away. This happens to all of us, and sometimes it takes forcing a smile to get the communication going again.
Professor Hank Davis continues:“If, for example, I normally perceived myself as relatively unattractive or unintelligent, but I felt good-looking or smart in my lover’s presence, I am likely to get hooked on her. I might go on about how beautiful, smart or enticing she is, and I might actually believe those things, but the truth is it’s the new improved “me” I have fallen in love with. This may be a version of myself I hoped to be all my life and if she is the key to finding it, I want to be around her more and more.”
Does this mean that when we fall in love with someone, they see our potential and over the course of a long-term marriage or relationship, we strengthen those qualities? I think that a healthy relationship does bring out, and perhaps even pushes us (whether we realize it or not) to bring out the best in ourselves.
“Kindness is the strongest indicator for a successful long-term relationship,” according to Professor Arthur Aron in Discovery Health.
“Kindness and intelligence, are extremely important in the process of falling in love. And attractiveness is not connected to these things. These two attributes are things that people learn about someone from knowing them over time. Intelligence is important in all aspects of life, especially in love. But kindness is the strongest indicator for a successful long-term relationship.”
So why do we love?
Perhaps our reasons are selfish in that we want to feel happy and good about ourselves, however, isn’t it important to feel good about ourselves in order to share our love with others?