Holly Anderson

Psychotherapist providing therapy to individuals, adolescents, children and families in Kansas and Missouri. 

WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?

What’s love but a second hand emotion? ... Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken.
— Tina Turner
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February can be a complicated month because of the celebration of Valentine’s Day. There is a range of views about Cupid’s big day. For example, there are those who “love” to celebrate the idea of “love” with significant others, kids, families, and friends. On the contrary, there are also those who feel that Valentine’s Day is no more than a commercial holiday created to get us to spend money. Maybe you have even heard others say, “My spouse knows I love them without needing a card.” And then there are those for whom love is too painful of an emotion and this holiday is one preferred forgotten. As Ms. Turner asks, “Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?”

Regardless of your stance on Valentine’s Day, love is something that humans have been created to notice. We sing, write, yearn, complain about, desire, and crave, that feeling called love. We notice the lack of it from a caregiver, significant other, or a friend. Another word that describes the experience of love is connection. Even in clinical terms, not feeling any connection can mean something very important diagnostically.

But why is the feeling of love or the experience of connection such an important thing?

The answer is that we are wired for it. Our neurobiology has us wired for feelings of love and connection from birth.

Our developing brains start the journey with connection and love very early on. “Attachment theory” explores this with children and mothers with decades of research and has found that when children and mothers look into each other’s eyes, dopamine and serotonin (the feel-good hormones) are released which creates a warm, fuzzy feeling of love through connection.

But even with all the data, what if we feel unloved, missed, and insecure? 

How do we change and improve our missed connections or insecure attachments?

The answer is through connection, the very thing that can cause heartache.

Dr. Brené Brown, in her book, Daring Greatly, explores that it is only through daring greatly that we can create connection and learn to live wholeheartedly. She asserts that emotions like vulnerability are a part of the process in learning to live wholeheartedly.

There are no ways to hot-wire connection and the feeling of love without vulnerability. Vulnerability is essential in connection. The very thing that in the past might have hurt us or led us to feel unlovable is impacting our experiences of love and connection.

Dr. Brown’s research is foundational to relationships and supportive of the therapeutic experience. Therapy is exploring not just the light but also the dark parts of us, the parts that felt the loss of connection and the shame around our concepts of ourselves.

Ms. Turner’s song “What’s love got to do with it?” even explores this pain in connection. But to answer her question: “What’s love got to do with it?

Everything.

Love is the secret sauce in a wonderful meal, the cherry on top, and it’s the winning ticket. Love is what carries us through loss, and it’s what can bring us to our knees. The depth of our love can speak to the depth of heartache and pain. Connection and love are essential in this human existence.

Therapy is a great place to explore our wants, longings, and heartaches. In doing so, it makes it all the sweeter when we can celebrate the journey and progress together, in connection.

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Want to know more about the Daring Way™  process? Contact me to explore setting up an individual therapy session to integrate Dr. Brown's work in your life. Also, look for more information coming soon in the groups tab with intensives and groups starting this Spring! 


Brené Brown (2012). Daring Greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live. New York, NY: Penguin Random House.

Holly Anderson
Marriage and Family Therapist