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Will Love Make you Happy?

By Mehr Sohal


"Will Love Make You Happy?", an article written by Paul Dolan ('Psychology Today'), has further enhanced my understanding of psychological and social development. It introduces a perspective that I have never encountered before– love, of all forms, does not mean happiness.

Starting with love, itself, as an intangible emotion: what is love? Is love only a feeling? Well, according to the article, the definition of 'love' consists of four components:

  1. The beloved (you obviously need someone to love)

  2. The feelings that accompany love

  3. The thoughts that accompany love

  4. The relations with the beloved

I, for one, never even knew that the thoughts accompanying love are any different from the feelings. However, my more explicit learning of course is that both negative and positive feelings are a part of the package. As can be seen in the following line–"Rather than focusing on love as a route to happiness, perhaps it’s best to focus on being happy regardless of love, and then love and strong relationships will follow." This provides me with a fresh psychological perspective on how one can only be happy in a relationship– only if they are happy as an individual. The two factors go hand in hand, and you can not have one without the other. It also must be noted that while love is not happiness, " Happiness will, however, affect your success in love." I find this interesting as one usually depends on their parents, friends, and more as a source of happiness. We approach our loved ones with the notion that "they must make me happy, because they love me." But, it surprisingly seems that self-happiness is still necessary.

The work of Dolan also makes me question what exactly happiness is; as before reading the above article, I believed that happiness emerges from surrounding yourself with people you love. Though, now it appears that happiness is something that must come from within, and can not be given to you by other people in life. This has also led me to realize that many people–teenagers and adults–have the wrong impression of what happiness is, and how it enters your life. Which makes me wonder, how exactly has society fallen under this false impression?

The article has additionally given me new knowledge of the correlation between motivation and love. While knowing you are loved by several people can sometimes give you motivation and purpose in life to wake up every single morning; it is actually highly unlikely. Rather, one needs to be motivated to maintain relationships in the first place; motivated with the intrinsic reward of happiness and security. For instance, as mentioned by Dolan, "Love can also make us more likely to break our promises to our beloved." Hence, meaning that even though one tends to make promises to their beloved, they need to be motivated to actually keep the promises. You also need to be motivated or somehow driven to remain in a relationship, if you desire to, even amidst "a whole host of misery-making, problems, negative uncertainty, mismatched preferences, and broken promises."

Paul Dolan's insightful research article on happiness, love, and more, has left a very significant impact on me; and left me with several questions too! I hope it leaves an impact on you, reader, too. 'The Joyful Peach' is after all a positive platform, so I can only wish that you have come to the epiphanic realisation of the sheer importance of happiness. Love thrives on happiness.

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