Friday, January 27, 2017

Love and the Brain

Admittedly, there are many different types of love. The love you have for a parent, a child, a spouse, a life-time best friend, or a pet appear to differ slightly—and it starts in the brain. Fortunately, the brain and heart are able to accommodate all of them, although it can be difficult at times to define which is which and even harder to set appropriate love boundaries. It seems that much of human love comes prepackaged with expectations for getting something in return. Parents want gratitude from their children; children, especially older children and even adult children, want money and gifts from their parents. Spouses and partners tend to have many expectations of each other, expectations that often represent wishful thinking and that no one is capable of fulfilling. There is a type of love that simply loves—with few if any expectations or demands in return. Loving is itself the reward, which is an ultruistic type of love and likely not often seen. Love is powerful. As Andrew Newberg MD pointed out, “(Love) has the power to alter the course of our lives, and even to change the course of history.”

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