I think main factor of love is trust. The ability to empathise with others, have confidence that they will do the right thing by you.
But can this be taught? Is it engrained in human nature? Lost over time? Found through human connections and experiences?
Research has shown that there is a hormone that increases your ability to trust. (Zak, 2016) Oxytocin is released in both the brain and blood stream and only occurs in mammals. It was long believed the hormone was only found in females, released in childbirth and allowing for the nurturing of new life. However the recent work by Dr Paul Zak has shown that is resides in both sexes. His work has shown how it can be released, and how its release can be prevented.
The hormone allows for more personal experiences and empathy to occur. In particular it is released when we have a strong connection with someone. Dancing, massage, cuddling and prayer are all responsible for the release of oxytocin. However improper nurturing, stress and high levels of testosterone can prevent this release. This is why it was thought that only females had the hormone, but also why it is so important for us to be able to find away to assist its release.
Bring in Cuddlist.com. The website allows you to book a “therapeutic, non-sexual cuddle session with a certified professional cuddler”(cuddliest.com, 2016). The sessions aim to relax a person and allow them to unwind. More than just cuddling the cuddlists are trained to help a person open up, allowing them to talk about themselves and why they may need this time of personal connection and touch.
The idea has been amplified by services such as Cuddle Parties, where large groups of people meet up to share the experience of physical intimacy.
For a lot of people, these types of cuddling are the only time they get to experience physical intimacy, which is so relished by humanity. (Lippin, 2016) We do not have to be sexual in order to want to be held and felt safely secured in someone’s hands. When life moves so fast and anxiety and depression levels are ever increasing, the need for something that can decrease feelings of loneliness, combat fear, increase self-esteem, defuse tension, and show appreciation is ever more important. (Webb, 2013)
To me, love is the way we interact with other people. If we believe we can trust them, if we ourselves are trustworthy and wether or not we can empathise with others. There is a way to increase the positive way we connect with other people, through 8 hugs a day. (Zak 2016) Would you accept the challenge?
Cuddle Party, What Is A Cuddle Party?, California, viewed 25/9/2016. <http://www.cuddleparty.com/>
Lippin, A. 2016, Cuddlists response to the Washinton Post Article: When Proffessional Cuddlers Can Teach Us About Touch, New York, viewed 25/9/2016, <http://cuddlist.com/cuddlist_blog/cuddlist-response-to-the-washington-post-article-what-professional-cuddlers-can-teach-us-about-touch/>
Paul Zak: Trust, Morality – and Oxytoncin? 2011, Conference Recording, TEDGlobal, <https://www.ted.com/talks/paul_zak_trust_morality_and_oxytocin?language=en#t-495493>
Webb, S. 2013, Happiness Weekly, viewed 25/9/2016. <https://happinessweekly.org/2013/01/19/fun-facts-about-hugging/>
Williams, A. 2016, Pillow Talk With A Professional Cuddler, New York, viewed 25/09/2016, <http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/19/fashion/professional-cuddling.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Ffashion&action=click&contentCollection=fashion®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=2>