Love comes in different forms: romance, friendships or family bonds, and even our passions. It’s not just a feeling, it’s an emotion. Sometimes it can be hard to cultivate; perhaps you have some high barriers in place, you felt abandoned during childhood, or just find it difficult to express your emotions.
Insufficient levels of love can affect your personality and mindset. It can hinder the development of key traits, such as nurturing or kindness. Let’s take Scrooge for example; an old and bitter man who loves only his money but has no one that loves him. Now, I’m not suggesting that without love, this too is your fate — even pragmatism has its benefits. However, let’s uncover the mystery of what a lack of love does to you.
Touch is a huge marker of feeling loved; this encompasses sexual interaction, hugging or even a simple handshake. These moments of human interaction seem to go unnoticed; we subconsciously expect to make skin contact throughout the day, and we take it for granted.
There’s a reason why, when you’re feeling lonely or sad, you just need a hug. It releases oxytocin — the hormone that reduces stress — which reinforces balance in the body and safety. It’s this type of unconditional love that helps our brain stay sane.
Since lockdown, several people have reported that they feel more empty and are missing small moments of touch. So, wherever you are, if you have someone in your support bubble, go and give them a hug! If you’re living alone, without pets, self-massages are a great runner-up.
Feeling Unhappy or Unmotivated
Being alone and not having access to the same affection or love that we’re used to begins to take its toll on our mood. People lacking love therefore feel more depressed. This triggers a range of core beliefs such as worthlessness, or a negative outlook on life. Overtime, we become less motivated to complete tasks, set goals or prioritize our self-care.
Unconditional love is powerful and necessary when trying to overcome negative thoughts or feelings. Being able to express or share experiences with others allows us to feel connected; so an abundance of love helps us to both create and access more positive awareness. Without it, you feel less inspired and doubt your abilities, leading to low self-esteem.
Craving Love and Attachment
You may have started to realise that you’re lacking affection or love. This can introduce new traits to try and offset this loss. Studies show that you can become more controlling or demanding, as a way of trying to avoid more pain. This creates an insecure attachment bound by a fear of abandonment or being alone. It can also make you less trustworthy, or make an excessive amount of sacrifices for others as a way to please them.
We are surrounded by love and it’s themes; whether in the form of social media or the entertainment industry. It’s then rational to feel like you’re missing out, especially if you are physically alone. So you’re more likely to crave attachment and love to offset the negative feelings.
When we’re in love or have greater access to this emotion, we feel unstoppable. It’s a giddy feeling accompanied by being more driven and ambitious. However, lacking love often means we’re less likely to take risks. It feels, well, more risky. This is because your mind is less open to the idea of things going wrong, it cultivates a more negative mindset and fear of the worst-case scenario. The what if’s seem altogether more dooming.
Less touch or love inhibits the production of dopamine (the goal and reward pathway). This then has an affect on your career goals and work ethic. So you might pass up opportunities for promotion or suggest new ideas at meetings.
Higher Susceptibility to Neuroticism
According to research, “skin hunger” and lack of love can lead to greater anxiety and similar mood disorders. It’s been reported that many begin to suffer with Alexithymia — a condition impairing the ability to interpret and express emotion. It’s important to note that lack of affection doesn’t directly cause these disorders, but increases the likelihood of developing symptoms or triggering a predisposition to the disorder.
Despite the current circumstances, you can put more emphasis into generating more self-love. It’s a lack of self-love and feeling undesirable or worthy which can also affect your mental health negatively. How you treat and talk to yourself is also important, so put your phone down and get your daily dose! Try using positive affirmations, nourishing your body with good food and having a soothing bath.
A final note…
Affection and love are important mediators for our mental health and wellbeing. Lacking these elements can negatively affect our happiness, ability to work and physical wellness. During this time, it’s important to find alternatives or regular methods to boost your love-meter. Make love a priority, not a choice. If you need support finding your worth, reach out to WellBe who can help point you in the right direction.
Written by Naida Allen
WellBe is spearheading the way to a brighter future for corporate wellness. Our innovative portal is scientifically designed and tailored to each individual employee to improve their wellbeing. We specialise in a range of services from coaching and therapists, to meditation and reading materials. Our aim is to reduce workplace stress that costs UK businesses £42 billion per year. Get in touch with us by visiting our site wellbe.global for more information.