My theory draws on two of the points that we talked about in class.
The first point is one of the main points of Love 2.0. Namely, micro-moments of harmonious connectivity between two people create a chain of positivity resonance.
The second point grew out of our discussion about the relationship of fear to love. Love is an opening of oneself. Fear is a narrowing. Feeling safe is one of the prerequisites for love.
On the first point, remember how we talked about whether or not love needed to be reciprocal?
It seems to me that the answer is "Yes and no." On the "yes" side, it is clearly a reciprocal connection that creates the positively spiraling feedback loop that Fredrickson names positivity resonance. After all, the connection is the avenue for the ascending and accelerating resonance!
On the "no" side, each of the parties involved in the potential connection must open to the connection independently. If they were both to play "chicken" to see which one would open first, they may never get to the reciprocal part!
So, you might say that love involves giving primacy to the desire to invest in the well-being of the other. This sets the stage for the possibility of a reciprocal response - which quite often happens spontaneously on both sides!
That's the first point: That the wonderful positivity resonance that fills our minds and bodies with exhilaration and happiness comes about because of a reverberating connection.
The second point, the point having to do with fear and its dampening influence on our ability to love, was part of the background for the various thought exercises provided for us in the second part of the book Love 2.0. I shared background on how we think, on anchors, on negativity biases, and on the power of priming. The thought exercises in the book are a way for us to prime our minds to the positive. We need the priming because the human mind is biased to pay about five times greater attention to the negative than to the positive.
Here's where gratitude comes in. Gratitude is using our slow thinking conscious brain to anchor on the positive. When we practice doing this over and over, eventually, it becomes a habit. Over time, our awareness of the positive moves from the slow-thinking conscious brain to the fast and automatic unconscious one.
Here's where my theory kicks in: All that positivity out there that we are not noticing because it's not threatening? I think of it as a potential connection in open offer. When I notice it and appreciate it, my attention and thanksgiving become the reciprocation that closes the connection. Suddenly, positivity resonance comes into play! There is love!
We spoke of the micro-moments of connection we felt when watching a sunset. When we see something awesome and are struck with the splendor of the moment, aren't we being grateful?
The thing about positivity is that it doesn't have to be intense in order for the resonance to begin. Why does food taste so good? Why are there flowers? Why are children and puppies so much fun to watch? Why does it feel good just to breath? Why does doing the right thing make one feel happy?
My theory is that there is a great unrequited love in open offer to us. When we are grateful, we are reciprocating to the love already offered, a love that is waiting for us without fear. Our gratefulness closes the connection for the resonance of love.
Reading the article made me grateful, and in reciprocity, I write to you all!
Today is Memorial Day. Let us give thanks to the many who have given their lives for us. And let us remember their families, friends and communities, whose sacrifices did not end in battle's death.
Thank you for reading this.