Welcome to the latest BrainCurves Newsletter: our LOVE edition! Of course, the fact that Valentine’s Day falls in February was the catalyst for the topic, but I appreciate any excuse to talk about love given its amazing complexity and ability to impact upon our wellness.
From a psychological perspective, the concept of love is so rich, layered, and complex. It encompasses romantic intimacy, family, friends, pets, objects, places, and, YES, SELF-LOVE too! So, it is safe to say that this love thing is kind of prominent in our day-to-day being, a kind of bedrock and foundation for a thriving existence.
Love is a construct that has been the subject of (and muse for) many artistic, poetic, and philosophical gestures since the dawn of time, it’s almost like a preoccupation we humans have. What is it about love that elicits such a universal outpouring of sentiment? What IS this love that permeates our heart, minds, and souls - our dreams, fantasies, and imaginations?
Since love is difficult to conceptualize, we are left with our relationships (both with our ourselves and others) as its manifestation. In order to maintain optimum mind-body-brain wellness vis-a-vis love, it is essential that we spend time evaluating, nurturing, and honing all of our relationships. We must look at our relationships in order to best gauge how “well” we are truly living and loving.
A friend recently told me about an episode of the Bachelor television series that she thought would impact upon me as a psychologist who promotes increased self-love and self-acceptance. Forgetting for a moment about the psychological discussions on love that can result from a show that places people in the emotional struggle of “competing” to date one person, we’ll focus on one moment on a recent episode. One of the women, Lace, decided to leave the show by choice (not because she didn’t have a “rose” to accept) but because she admitted that she was not in the right place for love and that she needed to learn how to love herself first. Click to watch the clip.
Honestly, I’m blown away by the courage Lace displayed in self-evaluating her behavior on the show and recognizing what it might indicate about her emotional wellness. She communicated that, took a stand for herself, and made a commitment to take action to work through her difficulties before starting a love relationship.
Lace realized that the supposed opportunity that stood before her (a deep, intimate relationship with the Bachelor, Ben), was not really an opportunity until she was in a place in which she could allow a mutual, connected, honest, and authentic partnership to evolve with another person.
This month, let’s all take a note from Lace and commit to learning more about ourselves and how our relationships with others reflect our own personal wellness… and you don’t even have to do it on national television!
To help us get started on our journey of all kinds of love, in this newsletter I bring you:
- A review of one of my personal favorite books on this topic of love and relationships: Deeper Dating
- An oldie but goodie BrainCurves Blog post: Five Ways to Differentiate Between Healthy and Toxic Love and Relationships
- Some of my curated resources on this topic (see sidebar)
- In honor of LOVE: Sign up for our special February BrainCurves LOVE Bytes daily inspirational text message sent directly to your phone. Just text "braincurves" to 64600 to receive my favorite quotes reflecting psychological, spiritual, and neuroscientific elements of this intangible thing we call love.
- Jennifer Wolkin, PhD