The Strongest Emotion is Love

Psychologists say that love is the strongest emotion.

Humans experience a range of emotions from happiness to fear and anger with its strong dopamine response, but love is more profound, more intense, affecting behaviors, and life-changing. Love involves a drive for contact, and physical intimacy as primal as hunger and thirst, explains psychologist Zick Rubin. In his view, care for others elevates love to a higher level, making possible a society where people in love care as much about each other’s needs as they do their own.

Psychologist Elaine Hatfield identified two kinds of love. The first manifests in displays of compassion. Compassionate love is characterized by mutual respect, attachment, affection, and trust. In the publication Verywell Mind, author Kendra Cherry writes that “compassionate love usually develops out of feelings of mutual understanding and shared respect for one another.”

The once-a-century pandemic has elicited every emotion known to man, from sadness and fear to surprise. Yet there is ample evidence that the tragedy that has made 674 million ill and claimed 6.8 million lives at rates up to 10,000 per day — has strengthened our bonds of compassionate love.

Our thoughts and prayers extend to the tea community in China.

I correspond weekly with tea professionals and enthusiasts in hundreds of cities and villages in dozens of countries. COVID has wreaked havoc everywhere; the threat is rising again. China is now most at risk. Still, everyone is acutely aware of our vulnerability and human frailties from personal experience — often tragic and personal. Invariably those I contact express concern for my well-being and those I love.

I do the same, no longer as a perfunctory salutation but with heartfelt concern.

Tea drinkers are thoughtful, socially active people attuned to the needs and interests of others. They experience life deeply and appreciate its simple pleasures. The ritual and silent meditation that accompany a daily tea break encourage self-reflection. These times call for reflection as we count our blessings and consider the sacredness of our time on earth with those we love.

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Dan's Informal Signature



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