You Are Who You Love

You Are Who You Love
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 29 March, 2023

Some people love you as you deserve to be loved, with respect, admiration, and unswerving unaffection. However, at some point, your life may have been marked by someone who said they loved you but didn’t do it too well. Indeed, unfortunately, in the world of love, we’re not all experts.

That said, for better or worse, a part of who you are is the result of all your interactions with those who’ve loved and still love you. Some do it better and others will be eternal apprentices. Moreover, the way you were raised and the type of attachment you grew up with builds a part of your personality.

Therefore, your history in the field of relationships and friendships provides you with good existential learning. While we all carry certain injuries around with us, we also have some beautiful memories. For instance, you keep your friends and enriching loves that brought out or bring out the best in you. These experiences are like chisels sculpting who you are now. That’s because love also models, transforms, and builds a good part of your psychological foundation.

“Show me who your friends are, and I will tell you what you are.”

-Vladimir Lenin-

Siblings can be unconditional friends and represent who we love
Friends are a part of who you are now.

Bonding, the secret of human development

At all times, your existence is marked by the people with whom you associate. Undoubtedly, there’ll be certain figures who are always present. Others might change over time for various reasons. Indeed, friendships, like love, can come and go. Only some of them are permanent.

Every emotional connection you build with these significant figures also builds a part of who you are. Who you love, who you share your life with, and who you trust all define you. It doesn’t matter that certain people are no longer there, something of them remains in you because they left an imprint, a kind of teaching in some sense of the word.

Psychiatrists from the University of California Thomas Lewis, (USA), Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon have written a book, A General Theory of Love (2020). They claim that love not only shapes us as human beings, but it’s the engine of our evolution and even our cultural and artistic manifestations.

“Love is a simultaneous mutual regulation, in which each satisfies the needs of the other, because neither can provide for their own.”

– A General Theory of Love, 2020-

Limbic resonance, the brain connection

The person you are today is nourished by every brain connection you’ve experienced, both in your past and present. You might think this idea sounds like science fiction. However, it’s neuroscience. We all experience limbic resonance. It’s the ability to share deep emotional states with others.

The University of California (USA) defines limbic resonance as a link in which many of our physiological responses are tuned and regulated with those of others. A limbic connection is mediated by empathy, love, trust, or compassion. It’s the relationship established between a mother and her baby, or a couple, or two friends who admire each other.

These psychobiological imprints leave a neurological trace. We can’t ignore the fact that we’re emotional beings who reason and that social connections are the pillar that sustains us as a species.

Who you love today and who loved you in the past conditions your personality. For instance, a child raised with the torment of yelling, abuse, and fear will be affected psycho-affectively from a developmental perspective. Moreover, their whole way of being will be influenced. Indeed, it’s common for these traumatic childhood experiences to shape a distrustful and anxious character, yet one who also needs love.

On the other hand, studies conducted by the Pennsylvania State University (USA) highlight that feeling loved in everyday life builds a more outgoing, less neurotic personality with greater psychological well-being.

We should remember that our way of being isn’t a rock that was carved in childhood and that never changes. In fact, the human personality is fluid and can transform. If you love others now and they offer you equally healthy affection, you can heal many of your wounds, thus improving your quality of life. In effect, who you love today forms the axis of your human happiness.

Some relationships leave problematic marks. However, knowing that this wound is there isn’t enough to heal it. You must work on yourself to repair it. One way of doing it is by remembering that you deserve to be loved and that creating new neural connections with people who truly love you can make you better and provide you with a better version of yourself.

Couple join hands and form a heart symbolizing who we love
Love is connection. Each connection leaves a cerebral imprint. It models your way of being, the person you are in the here and now.

What matters most is who you love today

We’re all victims and targets of deeply hurtful behavior at certain times in our lives. Cruel words, abandonment, aggressive behavior, and betrayals leave interior scars. Moreover, our brains and hearts keep score of them. Therefore, it’s worth considering the following:

It doesn’t matter who loved you so badly yesterday, it matters who loves you today. The person you are in the here and now is nourished by every interesting and healing conversation you have with your friends. Who you are at this precise moment in time is enriched by mutual care and the magical complicity of your relationships.

In fact, who you are today vibrates with every moment you share with the family you love, the children you adore, or the pet that brightens your days. While the social universe is extremely complex and not everyone who lives in it is beneficial to you, over time, you learn and realize the type of person you want to be.

One way to become who you want to be is to remember the love you deserve to receive. That’s the secret. Surround yourselves with those who bring light to your life and bring out the best in you.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Field, Tiffany (1985), Reite, M (ed.), “Attachment as psychobiological attunement; being on the same wavelength”, The Psychobiology of Attachment and Separation, Academic Press, New York: 415–454, doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-586780-1.50019-7
  • Harlow, H.F. (1958), “The Nature of Love”, American Psychologist, 13 (12): 673–685, doi:10.1037/h0047884
  • Lewis, Thomas (2020) A General Theory of Love. Vintage
  • Oravecz, Zita & Dirsmith, Jessica & Heshmati, Saida & Vandekerckhove, Joachim & Brick, Timothy. (2020). Psychological well-being and personality traits are associated with experiencing love in everyday life. Personality and Individual Differences. 153. 109620. 10.1016/j.paid.2019.109620.
  • Scarpa, A., Ashley, R. A., Waldron, J. C., Zhou, Y., Swain, D. M., Dunsmore, J. C., & Bell, M. A. (2018). Side by side: Modeling dyadic physiological linkage in strangers. Emotion, 18(5), 615–624.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.