Love

The fourth inbornintention is Love.

Love and love distinguished and defined

To begin, I want to draw a distinction between the inbornintention “love” and the emotion “love”. To help reduce confusion, the inbornintention will be italicized (love) while leaving the emotion in regular font (love).

Love is the inbornintention to hold positive feelings for persons or objects outside yourself. Love, on the other hand, has to do with a very powerful emotion, the definition of which is best left to poets, philosophers, physiologists and assorted romantics.

The experience of love is one of many ways of expressing love. Love, like other emotions, may come and go but the inbornintention remains throughout life. Love and love are both constructive as they tend to build and enhance relationships, at least ideally. Love always does so, but, unfortunately, love can become destructive.

Love is a permanent part of our person-hood while love can be transient, ranging in duration from a lifetime to a weekend. The intent and capacity to express love always remains even though love may be knocked about repeatedly.

Loving another person may be the ultimate expression of love, but humans also have the capacity to love animals or inanimate objects. Several years ago, someone had the bright idea of marketing pet rocks. This entrepreneur probably made a fortune by tapping into love without knowing why the project was so successful.

Love and human dignity

The inbornintentions human dignity and love are closely related. The former finds expression in positive feelings and behaviors related to self while the latter is expressed by positive feelings and behaviors toward others. Just as human dignity is the evolutionary product of the need for self-preservation, love is the outgrowth of the basic need to attract a mate for purposes of procreation.

Love, love and hate

Experience may have taught you differently, but you were born without attitudes that encompass, for example, hate, racism, xenophobia or other negative attitudes; you came into this world free of such feelings. You must learn to hate while love is inborn. The more one hates and inflicts damage on self, others or the environment as a consequence, the unhealthier their mind has become.

Love, love and limerence

Limerence is a good example of how the feelings of love change. Psychologist Dorothy Tennov coined this term in 1977 which she defined limerence as “… an involuntary cognitive and emotional state in which a person feels an intense romantic desire for another person…”[i]. As great as this feels, the body chemistry that generates limerence will always diminish over time, and the original excitement and exhilaration will be lost. This can result in confusion, leaving the unfortunate sufferer to wonder what happened. After the abatement of limerence, a deep and abiding love might remain, or, absent the original excitement, one might find him/herself asking, “What did I ever see in that person? I must have been nuts!”

However, love remains and is always available for the development of new possibilities.

Love, love and mental health

Expressing love enhances life, adds to pleasure and contentment, promotes relationships and brings about a sense of well-being. Thus, it is mentally healthy to love.

[i]  Tennov, D. Limerence: The Experience of Being In Love. Scarborough House, New York, 1999.

Also see: Wikipedia: “limerence”

A question for your consideration and comment

How do you express love in your life?

You now have an acquaintance with the four inbornintentions and you have learned that perfect congruence with them would mean perfect mental health. Since this is impossible, I invite you to look at what brings you closer to, or drive you away from, the ideal: basic beliefs. These are the pathways to mental health.

Next step: Go to Understanding Basic Beliefs