In her new book, psychologist Barbara Fredrickson writes that love is not the tie that binds, the spark and trumpets that some romantics like me think it is. Rather it’s:
a “micro-moment of positivity resonance.” She means that love is a connection, characterized by a flood of positive emotions, which you share with another person—any other person—whom you happen to connect with in the course of your day. You can experience these micro-moments with your romantic partner, child, or close friend. But you can also fall in love, however momentarily, with less likely candidates, like a stranger on the street, a colleague at work, or an attendant at a grocery store.
What a relief. I have totally fallen in love with baristas and books. Actually, I fall in love with books all the time. I guess maybe she’s talking about sentient beings, though, huh? I love a lot of my close friends, and not like play cousins. So there might be something to this Love 2.0 situation.
I thought the story was going to be all gloom and doom for singles, since it essentially says that half of the people globally polled are love-starved and searching for a partner. Loneliness! Depression! Eat all the chocolate!
But that article and presumably the book actually end on a positive note, one that I try to live by. Frederickson says, “If you don’t have a Valentine, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have love. It puts love much more in our reach everyday regardless of our relationship status.” That’s more like it.