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It’s okay to fall in love easily

It’s okay to fall in love easily

It’s okay to fall in love easily
March 13
09:00 2020

Growing up, we’re told by well-meaning adults to not wear our hearts on our sleeve or to not let our hearts rule our heads. We’re told to express love privately and with the bare minimum of kindness. As we age, friends and peers tease us for being emotional or catching feelings for someone. 

Isn’t the whole growing up process supposed to entail learning from the joys and missteps of love? Aren’t we supposed to explore our emotions and sexuality during our life without fear?

The societal phenomenon of closing off our emotions, with media and dating apps contributing to this, has created a generation of emotionally unavailable individuals not open to experiencing love in all of its forms. So, yes, it’s absolutely okay to fall in love easily. This isn’t limited to romantic love, but also platonic, familial, altruistic and other forms of love derived from Plato, Aristotle and other readings. 

We’re all familiar with romantic love due to the media and societal obsession with the L-word, yet some are unfamiliar with the concepts of platonic, familial and altruistic love. Platonic love, as described by Merriam-Webster, is “a close relationship between two persons in which sexual desire is nonexistent or has been suppressed or sublimated.” Next, familial love refers to the love between parents and children, or more simply, a family member. Altruistic love is the universal love or devotion for strangers, nature and the world derived from the moral practice of altruism. 

Biochemically, love produces a chain reaction of hormones, proteins and neurotransmitters that are responsible for pleasure and positive feelings in the human body. The brain signals our sex glands to release testosterone and estrogen, then dopamine and norepinephrine to stimulate the brain, similarly to a cocaine high. These neurotransmitters are what produces those butterflies in your stomach when you see your crush: elevated heart rate, diminished attention span and obsessive thinking toward your significant other. 

In addition to love’s impact on our bodies, love can help our mental health. The quality of an individual’s relationship can predict the likelihood of developing a major depressive disorder, according to a 2013 University of Michigan study. These findings can be applied to family members, friends and significant others as well. 

There are numerous studies about the impact love has on our bodies, mental health and behavior. A 75-year study found that “the warmth of relationships throughout life has the greatest positive impact on “life satisfaction”’ and the “two pillars of happiness” are love and learning to cope with life while not pushing love away, according to the Harvard’s Grant Study and researcher George Vaillant’s “The Triumphs of Experience.”

In relation to altruistic love, the concept of “helper’s high” is based on practicing selfless acts that produce endorphins that provide a mild high and stimulating the parts of the brain associated with pleasure. 

Despite the evidence in favor of love’s positive impact on people, there is an understandable number of cynics due to our warped view of love through entertainment media. 

As children, we see romantic love onscreen in Disney movies and other children’s shows. But as we age and start to consume other forms of media, such as romantic comedies or dramas, we suddenly see that falling in love is unattainable or a silly daydream, that our prince or princess is never coming to sweep us off our feet. 

We observe that love is a fickle and uncompromising concept, so we tell ourselves to lower our expectations and not be fully invested in a relationship. Falling in love is viewed as being too emotional or childish, despite our innate need to give and receive love. 

Yet, sometimes you just know. My father knew the moment he met my mother that he was going to marry her. “It was love at first sight for me and I remember thinking to myself, I’m going to marry this girl,”’ he would say. 

After a month of dating, my mother moved back to Houston and the pair dated long distance for four years. Later, my father proposed and moved to Houston from Wichita, Kansas to work and be with my mother. My father followed his heart and although my mother did not experience love at first sight, her love for my father grew as time passed. My parents will be celebrating 26 years of marriage this November. 

Your significant other might not be your soulmate or life partner, but relationships have the ability to teach you lessons in regards to compassion, communication, empathy and understanding your needs within a relationship. 

Yes, breakups and heartbreaks happen, but as Frank Delaney wrote, “Every pain is a lesson.” Relationships, failed or not, are learning moments that can help individuals become better partners for future relationships. 

Falling in love can be full of joys, missteps and life lessons. Allow yourself to experience all those mushy feelings and learn from your former, current and future partners or family and friends. As the Beatles song goes, “All you need is love.”

Featured Illustration: Ryan Gossett

About Author

Sarah Berg

Sarah Berg

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1 Comment

  1. Aunt Sherry
    Aunt Sherry March 14, 14:39

    Wonderfully written!!! I am with you Sarah on putting yourself out there. Definitely better to have ‘loved and lost, than never to have loved at all’. Each experience is a learning opportunity – some times as simple as ‘I’m not making THAT mistake again’. That’s one of the benefits of growing older, so many learning opportunities!!!

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