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?
Kidness – that's it.
My husband is very kind. I try to be kind. Together we're a good team.
When he's weak, I'm strong. When I'm lost, he stands by my side.
Together we're in balance. For me balance is harmony – love.
Kindness is key.. as is empathy and putting yourself in the other person's situation.
Thoughtful post. Thanks!
Where do you find these articles? I don't know if I would ever come to this conclusion on my own, but it sure sounds very reasonable to me.
I also think that kindness is important in all aspects of our lives.
Thanks for always sharing information that just happens to be perfectly timely for me!
I think this is very true and that it applies to not only our love relationships but to friendships and other relationships in life to an extent.
Cora L. Foerstner says
Interesting. I'm still digesting the how we feel about ourselves in the loved one's presence … ummm. Kindness is key to all relationships. Kindness can turn an enemy into a friend.
@BLOGitse I love balance and I agree, kindness is why I picked my husband. Intelligence too, of course.
@LadyFi I didn't realize that kindness was on most women's minds, as I see young women wanting "exciting" men, and generally they cannot be defined as "kind."
@Noexcuses I like to research articles and am glad you enjoy. Thanks for your comment.
@Jeanie I agree, and now that I'm an empty-nester, I also see how my 16-year-old gave me gifts related to growing and appreciating different things.
@Cora I'm curious about your comment, "kindness can turn an enemy into a friend." Perhaps a blog post on your part?
I think kindness is important but in love, often kindness is missing or isn't a primary factor. Otherwise, how many abused wives or lovers? You have it right when you say that love is, in a lot of ways, a reflection of how the other person makes us feel. And if it makes us feel good about ourselves, that feeling will last long after love fades or changes. And the memory of love can keep us going long after the other person is gone or has died, or even moved on to someone else.
Robert the Skeptic says
So is Davis saying that when we feel good about ourselves we find love or love makes us feel good about ourselves?
I would agree that kindness and intelligence play a major role, I would add humor as VERY important as well. However I am skeptical of the notion that we love someone for what sounds like selfish reasons.
The way I sometimes describe my partnership with Nancy is that the two of us add up to something larger than the whole. One has strengths were the other has weaknesses, either one of us would be less successful without the other – and this is in a myriad of levels. It's sometimes as if we were one. Quite remarkable, actually.
Very thought provoking post! I can see how it's easier to fall in love with someone that makes you feel better about yourself. I also feel you have to have a pretty decent amount of self esteem to add to the mix.
I agree with Robert that humor plays a big roll in marriage… mine anyway. And I think this concept applies to friendships, too.
thanks for this!
Madame DeFarge says
I shall try to remember this the next time I see my snoring, burping, clothes abandoning on floor, dirty dishes next to dishwasher, husband.
Miss Footloose says
Very interesting, Sonia. I'll take kindness and intelligence anytime. A sense of humor is good too 😉
Whenever one of these research reports comes out, I'm amazed at how wrong our ideas and perceptions often are.
3Fortune Indonesia says
well life is too short, so just do your best to someone you love cause you'll never know when your time is up.