Since you’re already thinking of the song, here you go:
A reader writes:
“Micro-moment of positivity resonance“?! Weak sauce. Weaker than most of the newfangled “scientific” approaches to The Subject of our Human Lives. What Fredrickson describes are what she purports to be a leading researcher of: positive feelings and emotions toward another. That’s not what we mean by really being in love with someone. Love is so much richer and deeper and can be anything but laced with positive emotions. T. S. Eliot gets it:
Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
We only live, only suspire
Consumed by either fire or fire.
Leaving aside the Christian framework, the thing that doesn’t ring true about the UNC researcher’s definition of love is that I am often most aware of how much I love someone in those moments when I like them the least.
For instance, when my children are at their most obnoxious, and least pleasant, I become acutely aware of how much concern I have for their own development and their own futures. When they engage in behaviors I would never tolerate in a person I felt no love for, my hopes for what is best for them supercede my own pain, and my own anger.
In essence, I often experience love most in a context where positive emotions are the hardest to be found. In fact, I’d define love as what’s left when the magic is gone, when the warm fuzzies disappear, etc. Love’s what’s there when anyone else would walk away. Because it’s easy to “love” when all is sweetness and light.
Another connected with Fredrickson:
This is the part that hit me the most about the article: “She means that love is a connection, characterized by a flood of positive emotions, which you share with another person—any other person—whom you happen to connect with in the course of your day.” (My italics) I’m in a gay threesome, and I could not agree more. People have always wondered how I get through the day without being jealous. How I used to explain my absence of jealous feelings was that I love everyone differently – my relationship with person X is different than with person Y, because they are different people and we are in different stages of our relationships. And I have always disliked putting people in a hierarchy; “person X is my best friend” has never really made sense to me.
Fredrickson’s description is a way better way to explain it. My best friend is whomever I am communing with at that point in time and getting enjoyment out of it – with whom I am sharing, even if it’s just for a minute or two. I’m focusing on THAT PERSON, and all others fall by the wayside at that very moment. My jealous feelings disappear once I realize that my partners have a right to the same kind of connections.
I am seven weeks away from marrying the love of my life. We’ve been together for eight-and-a-half years. We’re living in a weird period of impatient anticipation of what we’ve been working toward, what we want. Thus, we’re both prickly (and exhausted from final planning) right now.
Love, I’ve recently recognized, is that moment when you desperately need forgiveness from the one who inspires your best self for having just been, in some small, petty way, your base self.