The LOVE impulse, a game that people play
I’ll start this newsletter with a BIG thank you for reading my thoughts and insights every month. I appreciate each one of you and I am deeply grateful for you, being my reader.
We are still in the month of Love so, I want to use every opportunity to show others my love and appreciation 🙂
We heard lots of theories, but love is still a mystery to us.Without having the arrogance of trying to explain the love, its rules or systems, I started to ask myself more about the way we react when we meet new people, when we connect to other human beings. How is our mind reacting, how is that transformed in feelings and bodily sensations? how do we cope with rejection?
We are relationships!
The head of Love
It’s fascinating to learn what’s happening in our brains as we feel accepted or rejected by people important to us. What’s happening in our brains as we experience a sense of connection and belonging or dis-connection and isolation. (You may have experienced reactions in your own brain as you even read words like acceptance or rejection or experienced either one so far today.)
While we hope it’s Love that makes the world go round, it IS human beings relating to one another that makes the world go round, either keeping it healthy and viable one generation to the next or threatening to destroy it.
Relating to one another, couples, families, or in larger social groups, is the most complex thing human beings do, more complex than writing a symphony or running a government or solving global warming, and the need to relate, to be emotionally and socially intelligent, has driven the evolution of the human brain to be the most complex anything in all of existence.
It becomes important, to understand what’s happening in our brains when we get in love with someone else, to understand what attachment theory and researches are telling us.
1. our earliest relationships actually build the brain structures we use for relating lifelong;
2. experiences in those early relationships encode in the neural circuitry of our brains by 12-18 months of age, entirely in implicit memory outside of awareness; these patterns of attachment become the “rules”, templates, the “known but not remembered” things of our relational lives.
3. when those early experiences have been less than optimal, those unconscious patterns of attachment can continue to shape the perceptions and responses of the brain to new relational experiences in old ways that get stuck, that can’t take in new experience as new information, can’t learn or adapt or grow from those experiences. What we have come to call, from outside the brain looking in, as the defensive patterns of personality disorders.
Fortunately, the human brain has always had the biologically innate capacity to grow new neurons – lifelong – and more importantly, to create new synaptic connections between neurons lifelong. All of us can create new patterns of neural firing from new experiences. All of us can pair old even maladaptive patterns with new, more adaptive, patterns of neural firing. All of us can all create new neural circuitry, pathways and networks that allow us to relate, moment by moment in new, healthier, more resilient ways. All of us can store those new more adaptive patterns in both the structures of explicit memory, making them retrievable to conscious awareness and conscious healthy functioning, and in the structures of implicit memory, making them the new habits of relating.
The researchers say that there are at least 3 independent neural pathways that are active:
1. Attachment networks
2. Caring networks
3. Sex networks
Each network uses different chemical substances, hormones and separate neural circuits.
The attachment networks determines the choices we make regarding the people to comfort us. They are the people we miss the most.
The caring instinct makes us to take care of the people we are concerned of. When we are attached, we bond to someone else, we take energy. When we care about someone else, we offer something, we offer energy.
The sexual networks, are simply sex.
All these 3 networks work beautifully together and at the end creates the reproducing impulse.
The attachment offers the cement to keep together not only a couple but also a family. The caring impulse, enables us to take care of the children properly and to teach them to take care of their own families.
Each of these neural networks, bonds people in different ways. When the attachment connect with caring and sexual attraction, we can see a deep love story. When one of these three is missing, the love is stuck.
The forces of affection existed before the rational forces. The love reasons always had been outside our rationality, even the manifestation of love has a great plan behind.
To be able to truly love someone else, is needed a complete social intelligence, a great marriage between the emotional brain and the rational brain. Only one, cannot create strong partnerships.
An interesting talk that you can watch is: http://www.ted.com/talks/helen_fisher_studies_the_brain_in_love.html
“Like attracts like” or “opposites attract”?
There were a lot of experiments made regarding the attraction theory.
In his book, “The attraction paradigm”, the social psychologist Donn Byrne, came to the conclusion that people are willing to allow someone they like some disagreement with their own views without that individual becoming less attractive.
The mathematical formula for liking would be:
Y = 5.44 X + 6.62
Y – the extent of liking
X – similar attitudes
For example two people who share 50% of the same views will score 9.34 ( 0.5 x 5.44 + 6.62) on a 12 point scale.
We are attracted to people who seem very much like ourselves because we assume that that a shared outlook and attitudes makes it more likely that the other person will like us in return, thereby reducing the risk that our advances will be rejected. In other words, we try to stack the cards in our favour as far as we can, by investing a lot of time and effort on those who seem as much like us as possible.
The halo effect
In close relationships, individuals tend to stress similarities of viewpoint in order to conceal or avoid sources of conflict. In different studies was proved that sometimes the similar attitudes of our partners are only assumptions that we made in order to comfort us, or to make us feel loved and appreciated to an extent.
Insights of the week: challenge your assumptions about your partner! ask your partner about the view that you think you share and be open to the answers:)
When we connect with other people, we make assumptions based on our first impressions (attraction).
If we feel attracted to another person, we tend to generalize the opinions we have about the person in a positive way, in order to prove to ourselves at first, that we are right. The feeling of being right becomes more important the the reality itself because who doesn’t really like to be right, isn’t it?
And it goes in the other way around too. If we don’t find the person attractive, we are more likely tempted to put the person in a negative spectrum.
Insights of the week: make new connections and expand your willingness to get to know the other person, without assuming the way is based on the level of attractiveness to you.
Interested about this topic?
Join us to our next meet up, movie time and discussions on aligntment in relationships.
Thank you for your commitment to your own development and attention.
Lots of love,
Keep exploring ~ Make connections ~ Share your discoveries