Are you ready? The best predictor for well-being is…drum roll…love!
After my marriage, which had lasted the majority of my adult life, failed, I vowed to never fall in love again. I announced to myself, to the world, and to all interested parties that I was not willing to fall for love ever again!
Until one day, when I least expected it, one of my best friends—who I adored—kissed me and decided to move the moon and the stars in order to change my mind and make me fall in love just one more time.
The all-encompassing love that followed had a profound impact on my life and awakened me to levels of consciousness and self-awareness that I never knew were possible.
If you, like me, have found yourself disappointed and disillusioned by love, let me give you ten good reasons to reconsider!
- Love—a fundamental need
After food and shelter, one of our most fundamental needs on this planet is to connect with others. The way we see and perceive things is shaped by our connections. Research clearly shows that nothing appears to give us a larger advantage in life than a healthy primary relationship.
- Love as a predictor of well-being
A happy love relationship is one of the strongest predictors of physical and emotional health. People in healthy relationships recover faster from illnesses, live longer, and are less prone to disease and ailments than their single counterparts.
- Love’s survival benefit
Having a secure attachment to a special one also appears to offer us a significant survival benefit through an apparent activation in our brain that diminishes threats in the face of situations that are perceived as stressful. At a time when stress is believed to be the epidemic of the century, love seems to be one of the most effective ways to neutralize its toxic effects from the inside out.
- Loves antidepressant and pain-relieving properties
Physical and emotional closeness is one of the most potent antidepressants and pain-killers. When we hold or touch the person we love, the hormone oxytocin is released into our blood stream. Oxytocin appears to have a significant impact on many central nervous system functions, including those modulating anxiety, depression, and pain perception. So, when you are stressed by your job, forget about Xanax. Make love instead!
- The power of love on your attachment style
If you happened to have been raised by parents who were not attuned to you, you probably developed an insecure attachment style. Although you had nothing to do with the creation of your insecure attachment style, it will determine the way you relate to others in intimate relationships. And trust me, I know from personal experience that we don’t relate in healthy ways when our attachment style is insecure. Research, however, shows us we can transform our insecure attachment style to a secure attachment style, which has the qualities of relationship harmony, bliss, and joy. But guess what? We can only accomplish that transition through the power of a healthy adult relationship. This is the most effective way to replace the relational pattern that was developed with our primary caregivers in childhood. (See Attachment Theory Review in the Science section, if you would like to learn more.)
- Love’s invaluable insight to self
A relationship with a significant other is the most profound mirror to our soul, which reflects not just our beauty, but also any wounds we carry that still need to be processed, healed, and released. If you pay close attention to your complaints about your partner and/or your relationship, you will get incredible insights about the raw spots in you that need your attention and healing. Don’t you think that instead of blaming and walking away from love when we experience past pain, we should actually be ever so grateful to love for illuminating the path to our complete freedom from pain?
- Love and self-mastery
Falling in love is an intense opportunity to practice mastery on so many fronts, because when it comes to love, the stakes are very high. For example, when our lover’s behavior is not what we would like it to be, it is the perfect opportunity to practice letting go of what we can’t control. Or, if we have been conditioned to be independent, and we are not comfortable asking for anything for ourselves, a primary relationship is the perfect space to practice how to state our needs in effective ways.
- Love’s impact on success
When we make an authentic connection to someone we can truly depend on, we can absolutely soar as an individual. Our confidence is at its highest, and we are more courageous in going after our dreams and aspirations. Studies reveal that people who are happily coupled have a significantly higher average income than their single counterparts. Paradoxically, it appears that this unique interdependence is a catalyst to our own self-love and independence.
- Love’s power to defeat fear
Love is the most potent antidote to fear. One of our biggest challenges in this information-overloaded era we are living in is that fear has become our BFF—our best friend forever. We see fear everywhere: in politics, news, displays of violence, school shootings, and terrorist attacks. Love and fear cannot coexist. Since feeling connected is a primary source of security in life, love is an incredible shield against fear.
- Love and happiness
Harvard University’s longest study of human development throughout history, which aimed to uncover the secrets to a fulfilling life, came to the following conclusion: “Happiness is love. Full stop.”
Knowing how many incredible gifts love brings to our lives, wouldn’t you agree that nurturing healthy love is one of our most important human projects?
However, statistics reveal that healthy love is challenged by high relationship failure rates. Join me next week for an empowering perspective on the reasons behind relationship failure. Learn how to open up avenues for solutions within your control, and give love another chance.