Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye – H. Jackson Brown Jnr.
The heart has always been the symbol of love.
Love can make our heart seem like it’s fluttering or pounding hard against our chest, and ‘love-loss’ can make our heart ache and even break.
It turns out when you look at it scientifically; the emotion of love has nothing to do with our heart but in fact, it is linked to our limbic system, which is described by one of The Sci Show hosts, Michael Aranda, as the emotional centre of your brain.
Aranda explains that the limbic system controls all of our emotions, as well as our sex drive and when our nervous system sends out these sensory signals, they go to the limbic system then to our hypothalamus, he calls ‘the CEO of our body’, which is the part of our brain that controls all the unconscious processes of our body like breathing and digestion.
Armed with this scientific revelation, I decided to explore how the heart became linked with love in the first place and it seems the historical origin isn’t that easy to define.
There’s a belief the iconic heart shape, which bears no resemblance to the shape of the actual organ, is modelled instead from ivy leaves, often associated with fidelity. Some believe it comes from the shape of breasts or buttocks.
According to US author Evan Andrews on History.com the true origins of the heart shape might be much more straightforward.
He notes that some scholars have argued the symbol has its roots in the philosopher Aristotle, who described the human heart as having three chambers with a small dent in the middle.
According to this theory, the heart shape may have begun when artists and scientists from the Middle Ages attempted to draw representations of ancient medical writings.
No matter its origin, the heart shape and its link to love has grown stronger and stronger over the centuries and is now the most repeated design on St. Valentine’s Day and on love notes.
Could ‘love’ be the most overused word in the English language?
We are often very quick to use the word love when describing how much we enjoyed a meal, or a movie or a place we’ve visited; is this simply an over use of the word or could we genuinely love these things too?
I received thirty three million results on my search engine when I attempted to find out how many songs have the word ‘Love’ in their title.
Love is not about how much you say I Love You but how much you can prove that it’s true – Anon
It was the Ancient Greek philosophers, who first identified and named all the many forms of love, distinguishing between the love of a parent and off-spring, the love of family and friends, the love between pets and owners, platonic love, romantic love, love that grows out of friendship, universal love and uncommitted love.
These ancient philosophers also recognised that one type of love can be born out of another and many loves are intertwined.
I should say at this point that I would be the last person to try and give anyone else advice on love and how best to use it; in fact I would no doubt benefit from getting some tips myself.
Life is a flower of which love is the honey – French poet & novelist Victor Hugo
My first love
The first love of my life was definitely my Mum and that love continued to grow into gigantic proportions the older I became. She was the most remarkable woman in so many ways and I have much to be eternally grateful to her for. I’ve missed her every day of the last twenty five years since she passed away.
Love My Neighbours and Friends
No matter what happens in life, be nice to people. Being nice to people is a peaceful way to live and a beautiful legacy to leave behind – Anon
They say you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your relatives or your neighbours but it is important to maintain a cohesion community. Even if you don’t like a particular neighbour, showing some love towards them could make all the difference to maintaining harmony in the hood.
If that fails;
Be thankful for all the rude, obnoxious, and difficult people you meet in life. They serve as important reminders of how NOT to be. – Anon
True friends seek to help one another to live fuller lives. We can easily love authentic people who are honest, trustworthy, open and insightful.
Love My Country
My strong love of Australia comes from thankfulness. My parents and eldest brother came here as refugees in 1950, and I’m so grateful to have been born in the greatest country on Earth.
A love of country is what unites communities and propels us to help each other to achieve our common goals.
When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace – US musician Jimi Hendrix
My love life
I’ve fallen deeply in love a few times but I never seem to make the best decisions when it comes to the men in my life.
Broken heart aside I must agree with UK poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, who said, “’tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”.
True love doesn’t have a happy ending; true love has no ending – Anon
While it’s important to have good self-esteem and to take pride in ourselves, too much self-love can distort our ego to an unhealthy level that in turn changes our demeanor adversely, often making us not a nice person to be around.
There’s a big difference between ‘loving (not hating)’ yourself, and ‘being in love’ with yourself.
Seeing our own positive achievements and abilities and not dwelling on the negatives, is a healthy type of self-love.
To me, ‘being in love with yourself’, means you have an over-inflated opinion of your own status, or abilities and accomplishments, which is often accompanied by a mountain of arrogance.
It is, however, possible to be highly self-confident and have extremely low self-esteem, as we see in so many successful actors, performers and comedians.
Love of Money
Not all love has positive outcomes. The pitfalls of loving money are mentioned a few times in the bible including;
1 Timothy 6:10 – For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
The love of money can be a motivating force to drive us to achieve our goals but it can be equally as destructive if not kept in check.
Dr. Karol Watson, Professor of Medicine and Cardiology at the University of California in Los Angeles, told HuffPost. “A broken heart can really break your heart.”
Dr. Watson explains, “There’s something called broken heart syndrome. It’s got a technical term, Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, brought on by something emotional like the death of a child or loss of a loved one.”
“Basically you get this huge sympathetic surge of the hormones, it stuns the heart, and it stops functioning properly. So you end up with basically heart failure. It recovers, though not completely many times.”
It turns out when your feelings get hurt; your heart can get hurt as well.
Unconditional love is the ultimate love that we all crave. It comes without any limitations or conditions. I’m lucky enough to experience that with my nephew Matthew and it fills my heart and enriches me.
The best love is the one that makes you a better person, without changing you into someone other than yourself – Anon
Love itself is a vital part of human existence and I hope your heart is always filled to the brim with it…cheers susie
Susie Elelman AM – Author, TV & Radio Broadcaster