Is there someone you love so much that you would build a monument to last for eternity? Helen Fisher, an anthropologist who studies love, tells a story of a Mayan King, who built a temple for his beloved sometime in the middle part of the first millennium (C.E.), in what is now known as Guatemala. King Hasaw Chan K’awil later had his own temple built to face his wife’s temple, so they now face each other for eternity.
Love is real
What does love mean? Is love like these Mayan royals experienced real? Fisher says it is real, and that humans need love both to survive and to thrive.
According to Fisher, love is a need and a significant source of creativity. People sing, dance, and write music for love. They tell myths and legends about love. Romantic love seems universal for humans and inspires much beauty.
Love can be painful
Love—or mainly the loss of love—can cause pain. While the feeling of love is experienced physically as a warm sensation in the chest or heart, the term “heartache” truly describes the physical experience of losing love.
What if I think I am in love?
Despite the potential for pain, most people agree with Julia Roberts’ character Shelby in Steel Magnolias, when she said, “I’d rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”
Being in love feels special—like you have received a gift that doesn’t stop. You will feel happy, lucky, and grateful to the universe. Love feels safe, like you are wrapped in warmth that you never want to let go of.
If you love someone, ask yourself if he or she might love you back. If the answer is yes, talk about it with that person. Share your feelings of warmth and caring. Share how he or she has become your inspiration. Create. Write. Paint. Dance.
Learn to be honest with your emotions
This is especially important for men to learn to do. Talk with your partner about what you are feeling. Share who you are on the inside, in order to be known by the person you love. Let your partner know what makes you happy and what makes you sad.
While love might sometimes feel scary because you are allowing yourself to be vulnerable, let yourself fall in love and enjoy one of the great experiences of being alive.
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More by William Feuerborn