Worried you are too focused on love? You Are Not Alone AND There’s a Reason Why!

Jennuine Captures

I am a bit of a brain nerd.  I can’t help it, I find the human brain fascinating!

Usually when I share this passion with my clients or family and friends, the initial response is “uggghhhh, really?  I don’t want to feel like I am back in school, I just want to know why I feel this way.”  But once I give my cliff note’s version of what’s going on inside all of us, causing these feelings we want to avoid, hands down the response becomes, “ohhhhh, that‘s why this happens.  That makes so much sense!”

“So you are saying that understanding how and why our brains influence some of our most self-conscious causing feelings, behaviors, fears can actually improve our self-confidence?”  Yes, that’s exactly what I am saying! 

Education is Power

Learning about, and understanding, what’s going on inside of us totally takes the stigma out of what we are experiencing because we begin to understand that what we are experiencing is Normal!

How Does this Apply to Over Focusing on Love?

So often clients report being concerned about their fixation on finding, or improving, their love life.  And almost everyone of them says “I know I shouldn’t focus so much on this, and I should be OK with myself no matter what’s going on in my love life, but I just can’t seem to let go.”  Most also report feeling bad about themselves for having these feelings, shame for not being OK without a relationship, and harsh harsh self-judgment for being “weak.” Sound familiar?

Here’s my two-fold, you are totally normal, brain nerd spin on this.

First, from the brain nerd point of view our brains use love as painkillers.  Really, it’s explored in this this great article.  And here’s my cliff note’s version of how….

We have an “old brain” that is designed to do nothing but keep us safe.

It does the automatic things, like breathing, for us and it searches for, and tries to predict, danger.

In hunter/gatherer times this meant searching for physical danger’s like wild animals; but since our brains are unable to distinguish between physical and emotional pain, and in current times the threat of a wild animal attack is rather low, our “old brain” now spend it’s time searching for possible emotional hurt. With me so far?

The only way to get out of the constant searching for danger mode (ie, pain, disconnect, worrying about the future) is to engage our prefrontal cortex, or “new brain.”

Our new brain is where feeling safe, being in the present moment, our core-self, and connection with other people are stored (ie, painkillers).  It’s a wonderful place!

So, what’s our most direct line to getting to our “new brain” and into these wonderful feelings of safeness, grounded-ness, and connection?  Why, love of course!

Love, like all other natural painkillers, is stored in our “new brain.”  Thinking of, focusing on, and dreaming of love allows us to connect with our “new brain” which gives us all the painkiller benefits of our “new brain.”  Love allows us to relax, let our guard down, and just be; something our “old brain” cannot let us do.

Now, from a self-esteem + brain nerd point of view….

In most self-esteem material you read loving yourself “no matter what” is the definition of self-esteem.  Hence, wanting something you don’t have, like a relationship, is not loving yourself.  Well, guess what?  We are designed, in both our old and new brains, to want to connect with other people!

Craving a relationship and connection is what makes us human.  It means we are alive.  It means we are healthy (and normal); and it means your brain is just working towards a pain-free, grounded, safe, secure life.

When we look at it from this angle it makes so much sense why we fixate on love in our lives, doesn’t it?  I mean, if offered any kind of natural, already produced by your body, no side effects way to deal with pain wouldn’t you take it?   That’s all you are doing when you dream about, focus on, search for love in your life.

So the next time you find yourself daydreaming about love, and thinking about how much you’d like a relationship, skip beating yourself up or putting yourself down for this normal and natural chemical reaction that we all have.  Instead, learn to embrace this desire, celebrate it, and continue to work to better understand it.  As with anything in life, the more you understand it, can read it, and connect to it- the safer, more grounded, more secure you will feel.

(Brain nerd in cliff notes version isn’t so bad, right?! {wink})