For hundreds of years, the concept of love has been a favored topic of philosophers, poets, writers and scientists. Love is a complex mix of emotions, behaviors and beliefs that are associated with feelings of affection, protection, warmth and loyalty. It can be felt toward people, non-human animals, principles and religious beliefs.
Romantic love is the focus of many songs, movies and books. But scientific research suggests that love can exist in many forms, from platonic to familial and even the love for one’s country. Love also varies from person to person and culture to culture, which can make it difficult to understand and compare.
One thing is for sure: love can make us feel awe-inspired, and we often feel a strong desire to be near or involved with the one who captures our heart. However, just like all other emotions, it isn’t always pleasant and can lead to problems. And while we can’t control who loves us or how long we feel loved, we can take steps to increase our chances of finding and keeping true love.
1. Happy people are more optimistic.
Happiness researchers have found that people who are more optimistic about the future are happier than those who are pessimistic. It’s because optimists see more potential for success in their lives and believe that things will get better in the long run. In contrast, pessimists tend to see more difficulty ahead and are less likely to achieve their goals.
2. They take action to improve their circumstances.
Whether they’re trying to find the love of their life or simply enjoy a good mood, happy people know that it takes effort to create positive outcomes in their lives. They are aware of what they can and cannot control, and they put out there to meet other people in a way that makes sense for them (like joining a singles group or going to bars). And they know that it’s important to stay open to the possibility that love could be right around the corner.
3. They practice empathy.
As human beings, we are hardwired to care for our fellow villagers. This is why we have developed systems of care such as helping those in need, sharing our resources and donating to charities. And at the core of this caring is empathy, which is a feeling of compassion that arises when we see someone suffering. The feeling of love motivates us to help, which can be a powerful force for change. Think of the selfless acts of Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi and Maya Angelou, who were driven by their love for humanity.
To be a happy person, you need to practice empathy and understand that everyone is on their own journey. And you’ll have to work at it, too – but that’s how you grow. The Conversation AU is proudly supported by Deakin University. You can republish this article with full attribution and a link back to The Conversation.