LOVE IS A LIFETIME OF CHOICES
If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
Twelfth Night Act 1, scene 1, 1–3
Ladies and Gentlemen, as Shakespeare said it,
love is not in the upside.
Let us take a look at what happens in our brain in stages of romantic love -
1. Total eclipse of the brain: your brain releases hormones, especially testosterone and oestrogen (sex hormones), dopamine (cocaine), serotonin (appetite suppressant and mood enhancer), adrenaline (stress hormones) you feel exhilarated, breathless, moon-eyed, flying high, playful, blessed. You can go without food and sleep forever. You feel these feelings never before and never after that makes you shout, jump with joy, giggle till your tummy aches, forget work, forget friends, forget the world outside. The world is a rainbow and you are walking on cloud nine. It’s a trap. It’s nature’s camouflage to make sure human beings perpetuate their genes for the world to go on.
2. Friend Zoned: To many of us, friend zoned is a damning word. In the chemical world of love this is a word of stability. When the burst of powerful chemicals is over and things are calming down in the system, one has to venture out of the love nest because the body needs food, the mind wants sunshine and the soul hungers for other souls. What happens to love? Well, this is the stage where the thinking brain and the survival brain starts to act and relationships make it or break it. It’s not easy to go get food, it’s not easy to accept other people, it’s not easy to ignore another’s uniqueness and eco-system. This is where you make choices.
3. Love, Actually: When you can forgive the other’s idiosyncrasies, when you fight but choose to forget and forgive, when you see your mate as an individual instead of your Siamese twin, in that space between being you and being a partner, love actually happens. Maturity in any relationship comes from individuals making choices to be with the person because one chooses to.
The problem with feelings:
Please do not get me wrong. Feelings are important. Go ahead and feel all those feelings. But remember, there is a yang side to them, namely,
1.Feelings are not your thoughts.
2. Feelings change as you change.
The same hormone dopamine that gives you a heady rush when you think of your lover creates a feeling of co-dependency on your partner. Very similar to a drug addict. Withdrawal symptoms are as hard. Oxytocin ‘bonding hormone’ that makes you feel close to your partner is the same hormone that plays a definite role in ethnocentrism.
Love is a work in progress:
I read this somewhere “we fall in love by chance, we stay in love by choice.” Mature love is the choice to stay committed to a person, despite everything. In fact, every moment in a relationship is a choice. Love, therefore, is not a feeling but an action. Love is a continuous investment in something other than yourself. So next time, you are in doubt about a relationship, think about your choices. From there, think about the consequences of your choice you are ready to take. There should be no second thoughts.
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