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 in which 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 380 million ill and claimed 5.7 million lives at a rate of 10,000 per day — has strengthened our bonds of compassionate love.

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 rises and eases. Still, everyone on earth is now 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 worldwide are thoughtful people, socially active, and attuned to the needs and interests of others. They experience life deeply and appreciate simple pleasures. The ritual and silent meditation that accompanies a break for tea encourages self-reflection. These times also call for selfless reflection as we count our blessings and consider the sacredness of our time on earth.

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Dan's Informal Signature



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