The last on the list of the four primary emotions is love.
Remember, humans experience four primary emotions: anger, fear, sadness, and love. All the other feelings are degrees or variations of these four.
The features of love vary from contentment to joy. Let’s have a look at some of them:
Strange as it may seem, love might be an emotion with which some people have difficulty. This may be because growing up:
- you acquainted love with something that didn’t feel good, such as being harshly disciplined (see first rule/message below) or inappropriate sexual behaviours
- there were “conditions” attached to any show of affection
- there were no verbal expressions or outward show of love
- it didn’t seem safe to love as the person or object disappointed you in some way (left, died, etc)
Let’s have a look at how this emotion might get a bad reputation. Here are some examples of rules/messages with some possibilities of resulting beliefs and thinking.
Rule/message: “I’m doing this for your own good.”(harsh discipline)
Resulting belief: Pain accompanies love.
Subsequent thinking: “I deserve whatever pain come with this relationship.”
Rule/message: “Don’t get too attached.”
Resulting belief: Love is fleeting.
Subsequent thinking: “It’s better if I don’t get too close to people.”
Rule/message: “If you (action/behaviour) then I’ll (love you/give a hug, etc)”
Resulting belief: Love is conditional.
Subsequent thinking: “I have to perform in order to be lovable.”
What are some of the rules/messages about love that you were given? Can you identify what beliefs were formed out of those? As we go through the Life Experience Chain, you will see how this results in isolation, tough exterior, superficial relationships, non-commitment.
PURPOSE OF LOVE
Love is designed to make a person feel whole, complete, worthy, to oneself and therefore safe to connect and be connected with others.
Love’s physiological reaction usually starts in the chest and bubbles warmth and lightness throughout the body. There is a sense of wholeness, well-being, and connectedness.
Behaviours sometimes manifested from love are: self –control, gentleness, generosity, patience, and playfulness.
Remember, Love is your friend, not your enemy. Its purpose is to help you be more aware. You will see this more clearly as we work through the links in the Life Experience Chain, examining triggers, choices and behaviours. You will learn how to identify the feeling of love from the other emotions and how to properly let love do the work it is intended to do.
As a child, you were not responsible for the rules and messages you received about the feelings of love. You do have a choice as an adult about changing those. You have the right to change them into helpful and manageable feelings that validate and empower you.
Choose today to start making changes. Change will occur as you continue to:
- Properly identify the emotions you feel.
- Begin to use them as they were designed to be used.
- Start to act on these new responses.
painful, intolerable FEELINGS helpful, manageable
illogical, self-defeating THOUGHTS logical, self-enhancing
irrational, damaging BELIEFS rational, healing
unhealthy, dishonouring healthy, trustworthy
given to me as a CHILD RULES AND MESSAGES created by me as an ADULT
Judith S. Carscadden