Love Is a Behavior Before It’s a Feeling
An argument can be made that this holds true for all feelings, particularly the transcendent feelings. (These are the feelings we create in the absence of emotion.) For purposes of this blog, I will focus on the time old feeling we know and love, love.
If you are familiar with my writing, you know I believe it is important to have clarity before any discussion and this is achieved by establishing working definitions of words and terms that are relevant. Attraction, lust, and infatuation are not love. We need to be clear on this before we go any further. Attraction, lust, and infatuation can occur in the blink of an eye. Love takes longer, here’s why.
The adaptive subconscious processes can process eleven to twenty million bits of data per second. This is all day every day. When you meet someone, a stranger, there are things you are processing you are completely clueless about. We really don’t know why we are attracted to people or lust after them, and this tends to be ok because as we get to know them, we then decide if we like them or not.
The brain is just going off running patterns, schemas, etc. It can decide that you are attracted to this person, it can decide you will lust for this person, but this is not love. These are survival mechanisms to procreate. This is anxiety is so routinely experienced in our initial courting period when we meet someone we are attracted to. What this neurochemical and hormonal cocktail does is create the sensations in the body to produce a certain type of behavior. Loving behavior. This is a critical evolutionary construct because people need to be bonded and connected because humans might be the weakest most vulnerable species ever for their first five to seven years of existence. It is necessary for the survival of the species for little humans to have both parents together for its survival. Other animals are ready to run, swim, fly in no time. And they are on their own to fend for themselves much faster than humans.
As the “love cocktail” of chemicals starts to wane, and on average it wanes after three to five years in most, by that time the loving behaviors have become routines and habits and perpetuate the chemical cocktail. We tend to not know that our behaviors create our feelings so when the cocktail starts to wane, we believe something is off, so we change our behavior. This tends to be the beginning of the end. This is why marriage expert John Gottman states that when the feeling of love seems like it is dissipating, this is exactly when couples need to behave more lovingly, but few do so. Many people tend to go ‘looking’ for that animal attraction, lust, and infatuation’ elsewhere, subconsciously.
So powerful is this state in us that FMRI scans of the brain have shown that the love cocktail stimulates the same part of the brain as cocaine when it is taken. This explains why many of us speak and act as if we are high and out of our minds when we are ‘in love.’ When people go looking for the cocktail outside of their partner, it tends to only be a matter of time before they find it. The opposite behavior is performed and then everything becomes self-fulfilling.
How we move our bodies strongly influence what we feel. Our behaviors create feelings. This is how we operated for millions of years. Conscious thought is maybe ten thousand years old in our history. Some sages among us can expertly guide their feelings with nothing more than their thoughts, but few of us are sages.
Whether you believe in forever or not is not the purpose of this blog, but I do wish to bring to your attention that we are creators and not passive entities that life happens to. We can consciously be creators or subconsciously be creators. Our physiology is clear on this. If we leave it to the subconscious processes, we are throwing the dice of randomness but if we consciously choose to create, this is empowerment. Our behavior determines what we feel and we can manage our behavior which means we can manage and create what we want to feel.