I am the last person on Earth who can claim to be an expert on the benefits that come with love and longterm relationships (I am still looking for Mr. Right), but what I can do is forward you as much valuable information as possible from people who, in fact, do know what they’re talking about. One of these people is Maria Popova, the brilliant Editor of BrainPickings.org. There are few blogs I hold in such high regard as Brain Pickings, and earlier today Maria reposted a gem of a story from a wedding she went to back in June.
It was the wedding of a very close friend of hers, and during the ceremony the sister of the groom happened to read an excerpt from one of Maria’s favorite books: A General Theory of Love. The book is described by its publisher as such: “‘A General Theory of Love’ draws on the latest scientific research to demonstrate that our nervous systems are not self-contained: from earliest childhood, our brains actually link with those of the people close to us, in a silent rhythm that alters the very structure of our brains, establishes life-long emotional patterns, and makes us, in large part, who we are. Explaining how relationships function, how parents shape their child’s developing self, how psychotherapy really works, and how our society dangerously flouts essential emotional laws, this is a work of rare passion and eloquence that will forever change the way you think about human intimacy.” And the following is the beautiful paragraph that the sister of the groom read at the wedding that day:
“In a relationship, one mind revises the other; one heart changes its partner. This astounding legacy of our combined status as mammals and neural beings is limbic revision: the power to remodel the emotional parts of the people we love, as our Attractors [coteries of ingrained information patterns] activate certain limbic pathways, and the brain’s inexorable memory mechanism reinforces them. Who we are and who we become depends, in part, on whom we love.”
Maria writes of how the bride reinforced this message when she added with the utmost eloquence: “Real, honest, complete love requires letting go.” Ohhh, be still my heart. I am picking up my very own copy of A General Theory of Love via Amazon right now and I’m officially relaunching my search for my Future Husband! And as Maria notes, this is one of her “5 favorite books on the psychology of love and the kind of read you keep coming back to again and again, finding a new layer of insight into a different stage or aspect of your life each time.” You can find out Maria’s entire Top 5 by visiting BrainPickings.org, and be sure to follow Brian Pickings on Facebook and Twitter.