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Is love at first sight true love?

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Love is said to be the primary force that bends us all together. It overshadows any other emotion, when it comes to momentum, intensity and the power with which it grasps our inner self, turning at the drop of a hat into an immanent flame that keeps exuding its glow, even after having been smothered. However, one should give a wide berth to what is called “fake love”, which apparently seizes the foolish ones into its claws, initially instilling into them the wrong impression of having truly fallen in love. Sooner or later, they will develop awareness of this delusion and own up to being one of the countless victims of the endemic virus named love at first sight.

To clearly emphasize my point of view regarding this topic, I draw a comparison between mating behavior at animals and humans, bringing in the limelight both similarities and differences.

To begin with, one should take a look at Maslow’s pyramid, which highlights the needs of every human being. The first three basic ones (physiological, security and social belonging) are shared with our inferior evolutionary scale neighbors. From the physiological respect, all creatures are driven by the surviving instinct, poised either over preserving one’s own body (the need for food and water) or towards ensuring the continuity of one’s species (the need for sex). Having landed on this point of reference, it comes forward as unequivocal that men and animals are akin to each other within the precincts of the biological urge of pairing. This urge is translated into the physical attraction, triggered by the hormones responsible for reproducing.

To put it straight, we should bear in mind, that when we “fall in love at first sight”, it is solely our bodies that call for liaison, not our whole nature. At this point, it is up to us to prove our intellectual superiority as humans, by passing over the automatic instinctual mechanism, triggered in our brains at the sight of a fine-featured fellow creature of the opposite sex. Our efforts should be invested into accessing the reflective part of the brain, the one responsible for analyzing and critical thinking. In other words, instead of plunging into the pitfall of classifying somebody straightforward as the “love of our dreams” and judging them only by their appearance, we ought to take our time to get to know that person better. None of our decisions and actions should rest exclusively on our unfiltered emotions.

According to Paul Ekman, a renowned psychologist who made groundbreaking research into the realm of human emotions, when we are gripped by an intense emotion, we interpret what is happening around us in a way that fits the way we are feeling, ignoring any prior knowledge about the situation at issue. Emotions change the way we see the world. We don’t seek to challenge why we are feeling a particular emotion; instead, we seek to confirm it, by ruling out any other information that might quench the indwelling flame. Suppose a boy meets a girl, who by hearsay is a very lazy and passive person. These characteristics contradict his personality traits, since he is a very diligent guy, always on his toes. Therefore, he might want somebody as active as him to spend some time with. Yet, it is her beauty that baffles him, making him develop an instant infatuation for her. He thus discounts her major defect (passiveness), which he would otherwise place great importance on. Our guy gets led up the garden path by his emotional spate.

When we are overwhelmed by an emotion, we enter the so-called “refractory period”, during which we automatically and unconsciously repel any information that could dwindle that particular feeling. On the one side, this refraction is useful, since it helps us channel all our forces into dealing with the problem at hand. When threatened to be physically harmed by a stranger with a knife, it is doubtlessly imperative to pit all our anger against him, till the danger has passed. On the other hand, in many real life situations, because of this refractory period we risk taking decisions we might later regret. If we get mad at our friend for being late for our meeting and hurl some insults at him, we are liable to pangs of remorse later, when we ponder on what we have done. The same happens with this first-sight-love feeling. During the refraction period we feel on cloud nine and virtually refuse to see our beloved one’s flaws (hence the adage “love is blind”). The challenge is to consciously gain control of our emotions once they begin to escalate and instead of lingering in the refractory stance, enter a reflective one. Once we have identified the signs of the mounting emotion (in this case, butterflies in the stomach, high heart beating rate or sweating are just a few of them), we take a step back and objectively look at the present situation. Is the emotion we are now feeling the best solution to our problem? Do we choose to let it loose or restrain it? It is us that decide and later endure the consequences or enjoy the benefits.

To draw a line and conclude, when you catch sight of somebody you label on the spot as attractive, you should take this event as a signal your body is giving you that it is worth approaching that person and learning more about her. Under no circumstances should you interpret this sign as genuine love, as you run the risk of being afterwards severely disappointed. Love means much more than sensorial fulfillment.



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