17 Shades of Love

Being 17 years old allows for a view of the world I, and many I work with, would benefit from revisiting.  At 17 years old you have lived long enough to experience the full range of human emotions and challenges, yet not old enough to think you cannot positively impact your future.

On this past Sunday evening when J. K. Simmons concluded his Oscar acceptance speech, he implored everyone to call their parents!  It made me smile knowing the blog submission I had received a day earlier from my young adult guest blogger, Da’Naia Holden.  Go to the bottom to see renowned Positive Psychology researcher, Barbara Fredrickson’s, research based definition of love.


By Da’Naia Holden

There is one popular quote that comes to mind at the mention of the word love: “Love knows no boundaries.” Love has no limitations and love has no restrictions, but most importantly, the concept of love is timeless. You cannot put a time limit on love. You cannot control when love will develop and you cannot control whom you will love.

Lately, love seems to be one of the most important topics to me, especially with the approach of college. It has been decided that I will be attending Rider University, which is a mere ninety minutes from my current residence. The thought of moving away comes only as a fright to my immediate family. It seems that the love we have for one another was taken for granted in all of the years that we have spent together. With me moving away to college, the love we share has blossomed immensely, proving the point: “You cannot control when love will develop.” Similarly, love recognizes the interconnection shared in our familial relationships.

While the love my family and I share for one another continues to thrive, love is blooming between myself and the new friends I have made who will be attending college with me. Most people think it is rather ridiculous to believe that love could be felt between people who haven’t known each other for an extensive amount of time. For a while, I was one of the people who believed that. What I have come to realize is that love is not only an emotion, but love is a trait. Like any other characteristic trait, love can be identified within another person and just like any other characteristic trait, you can identify a similar trait within yourself.

In just a short period of time, I have met three girls (one of whom will also be my roommate in college) who I can now consider my close friends. I usually have issues bonding with someone in the moment of just meeting him/her because of my bold personality, but I was able to identify myself in these three girls. Whether I was identifying love or another characteristic trait is a mystery, but I know it was something meaningful. Love cares about your well-being and what becomes of you. Love recognizes that the other person should also be “oneself”. These three girls have given me advice and encouragement during the times when I needed it most. It feels like I have gained new additions to my support system, which is important now that my senior year is quickly approaching its end. So ultimately, what is love? Love is feeling comfortable around someone (or people). Love is the trait that connects yourself to another person. Love is compassionate. Love is authentic. Love cannot be manipulated. In essence, there doesn’t seem to be one set definition for the word “love”, rather, love seems to be whatever you choose to make it.

End note:

“Our latest evidence tells us that micromoments of positivity resonance fortify the connection between your brain and your heart, making you healthier day by day. “  Prof. Barbara Fredrickson, 2/14/13 The Daily Beast 

“Love is an interpersonally situated and socially shared experience of one or more positive emotions marked by momentary increases in:  1) investment in the well-being of the other; 2) biobehavioral synchrony; 3) mutually responsive action tendencies; which, over time, build embodied rapport (e.g., we really “clicked”).  Barbara Fredrickson, July 2011, in progress.  This work later became part of Fredrickson’s book, Love 2.0.

Feel the spirit of the season
About the author

Andrea Goeglein is part organizational psychologist, part entrepreneur, and all about success—your success. She understands both the pressures you face and the dreams that inspire you. Andrea merges her experience as a business owner with her training in Positive Psychology to provide effective, efficient and challenging personal development products and services. She combines an emphasis on objective assessment with an approach that is always powered by your spirit and guided by your goals. Her professional development offerings are based in theory and backed by direct business knowledge.

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