Do you worry about whether the people you love know just how much you love them? Perhaps you're anxious about showing love and find it difficult to do so. Maybe it makes you feel vulnerable, or you downplay your love because you're worried about rejection.
If you have a loving heart but don't know quite how to show it, you may feel like you're not good enough. This can happen in any important relationship in your life, but it's a particularly common problem in romantic partnerships.
Let's start by considering why love is so important. Firstly, as social animals, we all have a basic underlying need for close contact and affection.
When someone shows compassion and clearly demonstrates their love for us, it prompts the release of feel-good chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin. So, experiencing love supports our well-being.
In addition, love supports our personal growth and promotes self-acceptance. If someone is showing us compassion and empathy even when we're struggling, we get the message that we're unconditionally valuable.
While our confidence and sense of worth should ultimately come from within, these external indicators of our value can be crucial in helping us take the first steps towards self-esteem.
As well as needing to experience love, psychological research shows us that we also have a deep-seated need to love others. In fact, it turns out that we need this just as much as we need to receive love.
Studies measuring well-being and satisfaction show that we are reliably happier when we do something caring for others. This even applies to act of kindness we might do for strangers.
For example, one famous experiment gave participants money to spend on themselves or others. Those who chose to spend the money on others tested as happier!
Love, then, is important to us as both givers and receivers. With that in mind, let's turn to look at how to go about showing love to others.
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