Due to the widespread influence of movies and TV shows, we have been socialized to believe that there is one (and only one) person that we belong with, our true soulmate. However, science suggests that it might not be true. To understand this better, let us first understand what love is and then delve into some tips on how you can find real, lasting love!
The Science Behind Love
Psychologist Dr. Barbara Frederickson in 2013 stated that love is nothing but a neurobiological response and refers to it as a “micro-moment of positivity resonance”. While that may sound complicated, it refers to a charge of emotional electricity between people that can be observed physiologically. These moments can be experienced by any two people – romantic partners, friends, family members or even strangers.
Love can be seen as boiling down to 3 basic components – mirror neurons, oxytocin, and vagal tone. This trio is often referred to as the hat-trick of love. When we are experiencing love, neurons in our brain called mirror neurons mimic the person’s we are connecting in a special way. Mirror neurons allow us to relate to others, make connections and share others’ experiences.
Oxytocin, known as the love and cuddle hormone, is released when people touch, hug or indulge in any form of physical intimacy. When it is present, it lowers stress, facilitates bonding and plays a crucial role in romantic attachment; it makes people more open to connecting with others and trusting them. People experience matching spikes in oxytocin when sharing a micro-moment of connection.
Finally, there is the vagal tone, which is the measurement of the heart rate in relation to the breathing rate that is controlled by the vagus nerve. People who have a high vagal tone are able to regulate their biological processes and their emotions and behavior better. They are more socially adept, can make positive connections with others more readily and, as a result, are more loving. Vagal tone works in conjunction with the release of oxytocin and the firing of mirror neurons and results in an “added boost of energy that comes from ‘feeling felt’ by the other person.”
These moments of “feeling felt” are physiologically identical and can occur between anyone, hence Fredrickson asserts that ‘true love’ is not just contained in long-term romance but can happen instantly, among anyone.
Tips to Find Longlasting Love
Don’t Focus On Finding Someone; Build A Relationship With Yourself First
We do not always need someone to love us to feel loved – in order for us to build lasting relationships with others; we must first have a loving relationship with ourselves. Taking care of one’s own needs and having a positive self-image are crucial pre-requisites to finding a romantic partner. Love yourself and treat yourself right before you expect others to – perhaps buy yourself the new pair of shoes you have been eyeing for months, or take that much-needed vacation alone or perhaps secure your own future by investing in good life insurance.
Do Not Try To Appeal To An Imagined, Potential Partner – Be Yourself!
Instead of trying to make yourself attractive in order to find someone and hence altering your behavior and appearance, celebrate the beautiful person that you are. This way you will appear naturally, and effortlessly attractive to others and will attract the kind of people who will love you for who you are, not just the superficial aspects of your appearance.
Make yourself more available and approachable
First impressions are quite important in building connections. People gauge others’ personalities in a few seconds and thus simply deciding to be more open to others and letting that show is enough to facilitate a micro-moment with someone, thus opening up the possibility of forming a relationship. Actions as simple as smiling and making eye contact can give the impression of being happier, more extroverted and empathetic.
Let go of your check-list of must-haves in your partner
While it is good to be clear on your likes and dislikes, being extremely picky about them can lead to a narrow world-view and thus create tunnel-vision which can, in turn, hamper your chances at love. Many a time, qualities that you will most appreciate and cherish in your partner are ones you did not even know you needed to be happy.