By Melisa Valenzuela
Love was the topic for the East Los Angeles College Psi Beta club meeting held on Valentine’s Day.
Club members discussed healthy versus unhealthy relationships, love’s effects on the brain and the importance of self-love and self-compassion.
Professor Ryan Godfrey, co-advisor for the club, gave a brief but thorough presentation on the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships. Based on research done by psychologist Dr. John Gottman, Godfrey explained these characteristics; concentrating more on the unhealthiest such as criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. If a relationship uses any or all of these to solve its problems, it could mean trouble. “All couples have conflict. But it’s not the conflict that’s unhealthy, it’s the way the conflict is resolved that indicates a healthy or unhealthy relationship,” said Godfrey.
Daniella Valdez, the club’s historian, presented love’s effects on the brain. When people fall in love, things begin occurring in the brain such as the release of endorphins and other “feel-good” chemicals and the shutdown of the neural pathway responsible for negativity. A racing heart and sweaty palms are also examples of love’s effects. These effects tend to fade once the love between a couple matures from passionate love to compassionate love. Passionate love is based largely on sexual and physical attraction while compassionate love involves companionship and mutual respect and trust. Significant others, however, are not the only ones who need love.
“Self- compassion is being kind to oneself when dealing with personal shortcomings while self-love is appreciation for oneself,” Layali Hamideh, Psi Beta’s president, said. She passed out a handout containing six “self-esteem activities” or habits that everyone should consider practicing. These habits include speaking kindly to oneself, taking a personal break during the day to relax or be creative and identifying and replacing negative thoughts. For single or lonely people, “it’s important to emphasize self-love especially on days like Valentine’s Day,” said Hamideh. Exercising self-love habits and changing thoughts to achieve a more positive perspective on life can be beneficial to all, not just the lonely.