The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them; there ought to be as many for love. – Margaret Atwood
I heartily recommend Barbara Fredrickson’s latest book Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, do, and Become.
Frederickson’ previous book Positivity (see July 2012 e-newsletter “Positive Emotions Build Resilience”) presented her pioneering research on the power of positive emotions to overcome our innate negativity bias and improve our health, relationships, optimism, creativity, and resilience.
In Love 2.0, she suggests that love is not limited to romantic, sexual love, unconditional and enduring forever. Fredrickson suggests that love happens moment to moment to moment, whenever three conditions are met: the sharing of positive emotions (there are many that contribute to the feeling of love) between two (or more) people when there is a biobehavioral synchrony (shared eye contact, gestures, body language in sync with the other) and a sense of mutual concern and care. She dives into the biology of love to explore how this mirrored positivity resonance is the most fundamental drive in human beings.
“Love unfolds and reverberates between and among people – within interpersonal transactions ….Love alters the unseen activity within your body and brain in ways that trigger parallel changes within another person’s body and brain. More than any other positive emotion then, love belongs not to one person, but to pairs or groups of people. It resides within connections. It extends beyond personal boundaries to characterize the vibe that pulsates between and among people. It can even energize whole social networks or inspire a crowd to get up and dance.
“These are powerful, energizing moments. Your body was designed to harness this power – to live off it. Your ability to understand and empathize with others depends mightily on having a steady diet of positivity resonance, as do your potentials for wisdom, spirituality, and health.”
Frederickson draws on her experiences, as a researcher and as a human being, presenting her work in several meetings with the Dalai Lama, deepening her own practices of loving kindness and compassion.
In Love 2.0 she suggests practices of:
- Reflect on Social Connections
- See Yourself as the Target of Others’ Love
- Narrate Your Day with Acceptance and Kindness
- Use Your Own Suffering as a Cue to Connect
- Meeting Another’s Good Fortune with Love
- Reconstruct Your Yesterday to Uncover Opportunities for Love
- Redesign Your Job Around Love
Fredrickson will be speaking at U.C. Berkeley on Friday, October 18, 2013, sponsored by the Greater Good Science Center. Free to register; inspiring to learn about love.