The Nature of Love

Sunday, July 13, 2014 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments


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As much as the cynic in me believes that it’s an evil marketing ploy to make us waste money on Hallmark greeting cards, the analyst in me will try to amuse you with my thoughts on love. This won’t be a very organized post, true to the nature of love which is not very organized either.

We don’t love qualities, we love persons; sometimes by reason of their defects as well as of their qualities.
-Jacques Jacques Maritain
First of all, I do not believe that guys and girls can be “close” platonic friends. The keyword here is “close”. The differences in perception of what’s close and what’s not is the reason why one will have a crush on another, while the other person doesn’t. A guy and a girl can certainly be platonic friends, if they both feel they are not that “close” to the other person. But as soon as one feel “closeness” to the other person, one will start to breed romantic feelings. 

The best situation is that both of them feel the “closeness”, and they go on and start a relationship. Of course, this doesn’t happen all the time. The reality is: attraction isn’t a choice. Just as one can’t help falling in love, one can’t logically decide to love someone. Since it isn’t a choice, it’s not about age, looks, wealth, family background, …etc. You can list all the qualities you want, but that’s not why we are attracted to one another. We are attracted to those who makes us “feel” good inside. It’s an emotional response that we have when we encounter another person. You can’t convince somebody to feel attraction for you. We’ll save ourselves a lot of heartaches if we can accept this fact, and wait for somebody we like that’s attracted to us naturally. 

Two things about human nature makes this hard to do: 

1. We don’t like facing reality when we feel butterflies in our stomachs. 
2. Grass is always greener on the other side, we love what we can’t obtain. 

In fact, the later is the exact reason why you can’t write an epic love story with a happy ending. Think Romeo and Juliet, Gone with the Wind, Titanic, …etc. While it’s easy for anyone to imagine there’s someone out there who will light up your world and reach your inner being, it’s ultra hard to convince anyone that two people can find each other exciting after having kids, diapers, bills, dishes, …etc.

The thing I have come to realize is that there is no magic pill in life. If you lean on somebody in hopes that they will fill that void, sooner or later things will break. Nobody can/will light up your world forever if you can’t light your own world, and nobody will ever be able to understand you as much as you can with yourself. As cliche as it sounds, the greatest love of all really is learning to love yourself. Make peace with yourself, and be comfortable in your own skin. 

Perhaps the biggest irony of it all, is when you don’t count on somebody to fill that void, it makes you attractive in eyes of others. This is also true for making friends, we all like to hang around people who give off positive vibes. Like I told my friends after watching The Aviator, it’s truly sad that people who need to be loved most make it so hard for others to love, while we all love those who don’t really need it. 

Here is the truth about attraction, the only lasting way that you can make somebody be attracted to you is if you feel secure and confident inside. Now, the good thing about my crazy theory is: Let’s suppose I am wrong about how to create attraction. The only way you can prove me wrong is by improving and loving yourself until you let go of all your insecurities. If you truly reach that point in life, then you ought to do just fine on your own even if you don’t find someone special to love you.

Back to the topic of love and attraction, I like taking a step back and look at its beauty from a larger perspective. It’s part of the process in which men and women get together and form families, which is really to create and take care of life. Love is a miraculous process. Think about it, you exist today, because of the thousands of generations before you mated and took care of their offspring. In addition, everyone of us is the result of a lucky genetic drawing out of millions of sperm cells.

The subject of love is so complex that I can’t really write everything all at once. Perhaps I will elaborate more of it in the future, especially some of the interesting topics in evolutionary psychology.
This was love at first sight, love everlasting: a feeling unknown, unhoped for, unexpected–in so far as it could be a matter of conscious awareness; it took entire possession of him, and he understood, with joyous amazement, that this was for life.
-Thomas Mann

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