Just a little thought about love...
"Love is healthy and strong to the extent it helps us feel good about who we are. We want to be around this person because this person makes us feel valued. We want to support, encourage, and do things for this person because when this other person is happy and satisfied, it reflects on how we feel and how we feel about ourselves.
There are many clichés that have been created about love, but one which I find to be most profound along these lines is that statement “I love you because I love who I am when I am with you.”
The biology of love does not program how or what to do to make a loving relationship successful, but it does seem to help us understand that love is not a feeling, but a need. It is a self-directed need that can only become satisfied by making someone else feel good about themselves.
Love is not blind, though. It is not that love makes us oblivious to the flaws and shortcomings of the other person – for we all have our own shortcomings. But love inclines us to overlook those flaws and respect and honor the other person in spite of those flaws. When we are loved we know that someone respects us, flaws and all. We can begin to see how this human activity is associated more with the sense of reward than with mere feeling.
Love is seeking a reward, a reward of feeling good about who we are, reflected through the eyes of another person. This is true, I think, not just about romantic love, but most, if not all, of the myriad kinds of love.
When a parent successfully encourages and nurtures and respects a child and that child feels good about who they are – confident and strong – then the parent is rewarded. When a teacher nurtures a student into competency and high self-worth, the teacher is rewarded.
Love is seeking a reward, a reward of feeling good about who we are. The paradox is that we can have that reward only to the extent we give it to the other person, helping them feel good about themselves. We receive the reward of love through reflections in the other person’s eyes when they look at us." -Rev. Bruce Clear