What Is This Thing Called Love?

In an earlier life where I explored things scientific I was always interested in the answer to the question, “Why?”  Why do things fall?  Why do rainbows have color?  Why do we need calculus?  Why is the square root of negative 1 ” i “?  Why does Valentine’s Day fall in the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere?  What is this thing called love?

Ah love.  Just like crisis it is something we all experience.  Unlike crisis it is something we all desire.  Like crisis it makes our comfortable world shake, to quote Queen’s Freddie Mercury’s Crazy Little Thing Called Love, “like a jellyfish”.

It is interesting that 2 hit songs about love equate it with being “crazy” – Queen’s previously mentioned 1981 song and Patsy Cline’s quintessential love song Crazy.

Crazy

I’m crazy for feeling so lonely

I’m crazy

Crazy for feeling so blue

I knew you’d love me as long as you wanted

And then some day

You’d leave me for somebody new

Worry

Why do I let myself worry?

Wondering

What in the world did I do?

Oh, crazy

For thinking that my love could hold you

I’m crazy for trying

And crazy for crying

And I’m crazy for loving you

Crazy for thinking that my love could hold you

I’m crazy for trying

And crazy for crying

And I’m crazy for loving you

It is interesting that as an ode to love’s irrationality the song compares being in love to being crazy.  The song’s comparison predates current research that has shown love and mental illness to cause similar chemical changes in the brain.  In fact these brain chemistry changes closely parallel the changes that induce the stress response we learned about in HEART that lead to crisis.

So what is this thing called love?  Should it be listed in the DSM-5 as a mental disorder? Should we relegate it to the greater minds of musicians, poets and fiction writers?  Should we go into quarantine when we feel ourselves falling into it?  Nah not so much.  As the Tin Man found out, hearts can be broken meaning that love carries a certain risk and reward.  Yes, broken hearts happen but there is also that euphoria and joy that accompanies the act a being in love and being loved.

It is interesting that love has a chemical parallel to crisis.  Chemistry aside, like crisis love represents danger and opportunity.  Going a step further the argument can be made that love follows the tenets and fundamentals of crisis intervention that we learned in HEART.  “Say what John?!”  Let me explain.  Experiencing love is a process.  Yeah, there are the popular rules of wooing and romancing but that is the bailiwick of the creative minds, the proponents of proper etiquette and talk show hosts.  We are all too familiar with at that stuff.  What we may not be familiar with is that the basics of crisis intervention apply also.

The first tent of crisis intervention says that we are equals with the person in crisis.  The same is true of love.  Ideally, in the loving relationship, there is a sharing that occurs.  The term “sharing” requires equality between the parties allowing them both to experience the happiness of the loving process.  If we think of those times when our hearts were broken we will invariably see where one of the participants set the value of their needs above those of the other.

The second tenet that maintains the person in crisis determines the pace of the interaction and can make their own choices and decisions.  The same is true of love.  The lover and the “lovee” participate in a dance where neither leads.  When one leads the other the dreaded words “Maybe we are moving too fast” are spoken and heartbreak ensues.

The tenet of mirroring is also important.  Think of those tender moments when we speak of the good feelings we are experiencing with those we love.  Such things classic poems are made from – Lou Reed’s Perfect Day illustrates a shared pace and reflection.

Just a perfect day

Drink sangria in the park

And then later, when it gets dark

We go home

Just a perfect day

Feed animals in the zoo

Then later a movie, too

And then home

Oh, it’s such a perfect day

I’m glad I spent it with you

Oh, such a perfect day

You just keep me hanging on

Just a perfect day

Problems all left alone

Weekenders on our own

It’s such fun

Just a perfect day

You made me forget myself

I thought I was someone else

Someone good

Oh, it’s such a perfect day

I’m glad I spent it with you

Oh, such a perfect day

You just keep me hanging on

You just keep me hanging on

You’re going to reap just what you sow

You’re going to reap just what you sow

You’re going to reap just what you sow

You’re going to reap just what you sow

Then there are the fundamentals we learned about.  Just as they govern a successful intervention they also provide a framework for the love process.

Acceptance in the loving relationship means we accept the person for who they are and we will not judge their quirks.  After all it is probably their quirks which attracted us to them in the first place.  If we judge the quirks and find them not acceptable we change the person and a broken heart is sure to follow.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T plays a large role in the crazy thing called love.  If we can respect the person for who they are things go smooth and dare I say it – True love may follow.

Once we accept and the person we love for who and what they are we enter into an empathetic relationship with them.  Love becomes a shared feeling and those of us who may have experienced “true love” know all to well how fantastic that feels – the ever popular walking on air.

When the loving relationship encompasses acceptance, respect and empathy then we can embrace the fourth fundamental of hope.  All love entails the hope the relationship will survive, thrive and be everlasting.  After all who wants a broken heart?

Hmm.  Is it just me or do others notice that affairs of the heart, this crazy thing called love, is governed by the basics we learned in HEART?  Just an observation that may help us move beyond the craziness that love can be and leave us Walking On Sunshine!

I used to think maybe you love me, now baby I’m sure

And I just can’t wait till the day, when you knock on my door

Now every time I go for the mail box, gotta hold myself down

’cause I just can’t wait till you write me, you’re coming around

I’m walking on sunshine (whoa oh)

I’m walking on sunshine (whoa oh)

I’m walking on sunshine (whoa oh)

And don’t it feel good (HEY!) Alright now

And don’t it feel good (HEY!) Alright now

All right now yeah! (HEY!)

I used to think maybe you love me, I know that it’s true

And I don’t wanna spend all of my life just waiting for you (just waiting for you)

Now I don’t want you back for the weekend, not back for a day, no, no, no

Baby I just want you back and I want you to stay

Walking on sunshine

Walking on sunshine

I feel the love, I feel the love, I feel the love that’s really real

I feel the love, I feel the love, I feel the love that’s really real

I’m on sunshine baby yeah

I’m on sunshine baby yeah

I’m walking on sunshine whoa

I’m walking on sunshine whoa

I’m walking on sunshine whoa

And don’t it feel good hey alright now

And don’t it feel good hey alright now

And don’t it feel good hey alright now

And don’t it feel good hey alright now

I’m walking on sunshine

I’m walking on sunshine

I’m walking on sunshine

I’m walking on sunshine

I’m walking on sunshine

May all of you have a fine Valentine’s Day and don’t forget to walk on sunshine even if it is a little chilly out.

 

 

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