Love At First Sight – How it Happens (by John Alex Clark)

Love at First Sight - How it Happens

The subconscious mind works in a very simplistic manner. In fact, this simplicity has been the cause of many misjudgements, stereotypes and wrong beliefs all throughout the ages. You see, our subconscious mind forms opinions without us even realising it. These then spill through to our conscious thinking and we react according to them.

Put simply, our subconscious mind is not perfect. It makes mistakes. And one such mistake (which is the focal point of this article) it makes is assuming that people who have similar facial features … have the same personality type. This mistake can directly affect the process of falling in love at first sight.

Let’s dig into details.

Let’s first clarify our definition of “love at first sight”. Here, I’m using the phrase ‘love at first sight’ as meaning falling in love with someone after seeing them for the very first time (and not necessarily having spoken to them).

Each of us has our own perception of beauty based on our own background. We all see beauty differently. To give you an example, if you were to see someone in the street who resembled:

  • A person you loved before;
  • A family member or relative that you really like; or
  • A friend you get along well with, etc,

then there is a strong possibility that you’d find him/her physically appealing, even if other people think he/she is just average. The subconscious has formed a connection between the physical appearance of this new person and a person from your past or in your circle (who looks like him/her) who has made a positive impact in your life.

You may be unconscious of the fact that this new person looks like someone else from your life who has influenced you in a positive way, but your subconscious will have picked up on it right away.

The Role of Impression Formation

Impression formation is the psychological term for the way the subconscious mind interprets facial features like this. We tend to relate facial features with characteristics. For example, you may have met a person who reminded you of someone from your past who you didn’t like (maybe a bully from school, or a teacher you didn’t get along with), and you found yourself not liking this new person very much because of it.

It doesn’t make any sense for the subconscious mind to dislike this new person just because he/she looks like a person you don’t like. But this is what happens. This shows us how illogical the subconscious mind can be.

We can also see this illogicality in the way our subconscious minds causes us to fall in love at first sight. People can fall in love at first sight if the new person they see looks like someone they once loved before or someone who had a positive impact on your life. The subconscious makes the opinion that because this new person looks like someone from your past that was good for you, this new person might be good for you too.

You see, the subconscious will always try to look out for your well-being, and this is what it is trying to do here. It is trying to make you attracted to this new person so that you will do everything in your power to get with them, and hopefully (according to the subconscious mind and its opinion), this new person will give you positive emotions just like the person from your past did.

Love At First Sight Has Nothing To Do With ‘Good Looks’

Love at first sight has nothing to do with good looks. If love were dependent on good looks, then we would all fall in love every time we walked down the street and saw good looking people. By the time we’d get home, we’d have fallen in love multiple times.

The real secret behind why we fall in love at first sight is because something in the way this particular person happens to look, has triggered a comparison in our subconscious mind to someone from our past who meant a lot to us. This is why I, for example, might fall in love with someone at first sight, while you might think they are just average.

When a person experiences love at first sight, he tends to think that because he “loved” the person the moment he saw her, it must be “destiny” and thinks that the person is “The One”. While thinking we have found “The One” can make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, if a breakup then occurs we would be devastated because we will think we have lost someone magical because of the magical way we just happened to be attracted to them when we first saw them.

The only one to blame for this is the person’s subconscious mind. If you have an ex from your past who you thought was “fated” for you because you fell in love with him/her at first sight, realize that there wasn’t anything really special at all about them but instead your subconscious mind just tricked you into becoming attached to them.

Unsatisfied Needs Can Lead to Love At First Sight

“Love at first sight” is sometimes interpreted as falling in love with the person upon meeting him for the first time (and not on the first time you actually “saw” him/her). In this case, something must have happened in the first meeting itself that triggered your subconscious into becoming attracted to his person.

I know this only too well because it happened to me! Here’s what happened …

Several years ago, I was at a party when I met this girl. We were talking away when all of a sudden, “boom” I fell for her. It happened really quickly. I fell in “love at first sight” and I loved that girl for a long afterwards.

It wasn’t until years later when I studied the psychology of love that I realised what had happened in that first meeting. It wasn’t “destiny,” “fate”. Nor was she “The One”. It was actually nothing like that. You see, I was at a low point in my life when I met her. I was in need of nurturing. And this particular girl was very friendly.

So, here I was with an unmet need in my life (I needed nurturing) and here was a woman who was giving it to me. My subconscious immediately recognised that this person could fix a problem in my life and bring me back in balance. And what did it do to make sure I would do everything in my power to bring this woman into my life? It made me fall in love with her. This would be a fail-proof way to make sure that I would try to get her into my life any which way I could so that she could satisfy my unmet need.

Doesn’t sound very romantic does it? But that’s what my subconscious mind did. And that’s what it does for lots of people out there. This is how and why the subconscious mind makes people fall in love.

Final Thought

What we’ve gone through in this article may not be the view of love which you would have liked to read about. But this is simply how love works. But there is a positive to be taken from this. A big positive.

If “The One” has just dumped you, or if there is an ex from your past that you just can’t get over, you should be able to see now how irrational it is to be longing for someone who your subconscious simply tricked you into falling in love with.

When you understand how love is really induced in you, it can free you from this type of pain where you find yourself still in love with someone that you can’t have.


About the Author: John Alex Clark

John Alex Clark is a Relationship Coach & NLP Practitioner from Dublin Ireland. He is also an entrepreneur, a motivational speaker, and an author.

His background in relationship coaching, neuro-linguistic-programming, science, psychology and perhaps most importantly – innovation, have created a unique skill-set which he has concentrated mainly in the field of love psychology. He is recognized as the world’s leading expert in the field of Lovemaps (the field of study into how to make someone fall in love with you).

He is the founder of the relationship advice website www.RelationshipPsychology.com and is the author of the two best-selling relationship programs:

•   THE LOVEMAP CODE: How To Make Someone Fall In Love With You Using Psychology; and

•   THE ERASE CODE: How To Get Over Anyone In Less Than A Week Using Psychology

His book THE LOVEMAP CODE is the first book to be released on the topic of Lovemaps since Dr. John Moneys (the man who coined the term Lovemap) death in 2006 and marks a major step forward in our understanding of this field.

You can find John Alex at RelationshipPsychology.com, and check out the main sections of his website “How To Make Someone Fall In Love With You” and “How To Fall Out Of Love With Someone” …and learn more about him at About Me.

22 Comments

David

We are so desperate to explain everything in physical, scientific way. There is number of cases that this theory does not fit in any way. Brain and cognitive functions are only reactions to something that is pulling your strings. There always will be a hard problem.

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Don

I think I had the same feeling before. I have been in love with women almost the same look. Kumbe it was the subconscious mind controlling.. Now I wanna know how to erase the subconscious thoughts and images

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BEATRICE

I a guy and i deeply fell for him so i told my friend and she said oh!he is handsome, and cool so i will talk to him and text you his number.everything succeeded so i called him and he was asking a lot of questions,like,how and what comes into my mind for me to fall at the first time of seeing him?i dont no what to do and say/tell him.can someone help me out?please.

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Carla

I believe “love at first sight” can happen in two ways:

When someone has some inner healing to do, maybe isn’t aware of it or is avoiding it, and then projects that need onto someone else, hoping that person will come into their lives and “save” them or “heal” them, so they don’t have to do any of the difficult inner work themselves. This is what you’re talking about in this article and usually this backfires very badly.

The second is when someone is whole by themselves, is happy living their life, has done the inner healing and is in a good place in their lifes at all levels. Then you can meet someone very special, maybe even a deep soul connection, and what happens in that “love at first sight” is a recognition. They recognize each other. But this recognition can only happen when you’re open and ready, and this can lead to a life-long healthy relationship.

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Lily

I’ve never believe in love at first sight until I met this guy. Before we even knew each other’s name we were complete strangers. The moment our eyes met, it was as though all time stopped, there wasn’t anyone else around us (although there are) & you can’t hear anything else. The world just stopped in a way. In reality it was a few seconds but the attraction was so strong that I know for sure it wasn’t just me who felt it. Alas, there has not been any progress from then now. We’re both single, btw. Sounds unbelievable (trust me, I’m cynical of love at first sight. Have always felt that it only happen in dramas) but wait until you encounter it… It is very magical for the lack of a better word… guess it can be a matter of the right person at the right place at the right time

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Lourine

Hello, my name is Lourine and I met this guy, who was an invited worshipper, in my church. It was my first time that we saw each other. He was leading the choir, and I ended up leaving before the service was over because I was getting a bit late so I didn’t get the chance to talk to him neither did he.
When I saw I felt something so special in me and up to now I can’t seem to get him out of my mind.
I’ve really been hoping to see him again but I haven’t. How can I handle my situation?

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Angie

Always t! ake a second or third look before you leap. I have been married to my husband for nearly 3 years. I dated him for a long time though just to make sure. I did have a very special pull toward him the first time we met. I just wanted to make sure and there is nothing like the security of knowing that the person is the one for sure. It is so much better than just going on blind trust or a feeling. I realized in the end that I wanted to be with him, not because I couldn’t live without him. I wanted to be with him because I wanted to be with him it hasn’t all been bliss but pretty close. I look better than I have in years and all my stress is mostly gone. No more searching. He is here.

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Qriiz

If “The One” has just dumped you, or if there is an ex from your past that you just can’t get over, you should be able to see now how irrational it is to be longing for someone who your subconscious simply tricked you into falling in love with.

When you understand how love is really induced in you, it can free you from this type of pain where you find yourself still in love with someone that you can’t have.
~~~
Dude, you really need to work on your “Ending”, I like your article, it’s factual. But while it’s good to know how it happen, it doesn’t have to do with actually doing something to it.
Emotion is always irrational, love even more so. Being told how stupid and irrational it is, won’t change how we feel about it. As someone who have love and lost, as an adult, as a human, you should have known that unlike in cartoon being told “Let it go, it’s stupid.” won’t make our feeling (pain most likely) magically disappear, it make us want to punch the idiot that said that in the face. You can only wait for time to make it a distant memory. Even then it’s never that simple.

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Stephanie C.

This was a real eye-opener 😀 I’ve wondered for a very long time how people (myself included) could fall so heavily for a person, oftentimes without being able to name a single reason why. It was baffling.

But as I read through this, a few things immediately began to click while remembering my own experiences with “Love At First Sight”, and this gave me some much-needed insight. Thank you very much for this article 😀

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John H

A friend and I went to celebrate another friends 30th birthday party. As we walked in I instantly felt a gaze hit me. We locked eyes for only a moment in real time, but it seemed like an eternity. As I met new people at the party, it seemed we both unconsciously moved closer and closer to each other until we were sitting next to each other. I felt like i’ve known her all my life.

Long story short, we both share many of the signs of Love at first sight:

-We both want to know every single thing about each other.
-We both feel like we’ve known each other for years even though we’ve only known each other for a couple months.
-She is not my usual type and i definitely am not hers but we both have an incredible attraction to each other.
-We have what we call a ‘magnetism’ for each other. Just like in the movie Hancock, where Hancock has lost his memory, he always finds his way back to Mary.
– we both cannot stop thinking about each other
All of these feeling are mutual and we talk about them each time we talk to each other.

Sounds perfect right?

I am married with a baby on the way. I love my wife and have loved two other women in my life, but have never felt this way before and can’t understand how this is even possible?

I cannot disagree with anything this article says. Maybe it is my subconscious. But none of the reasons it would be my subconscious apply to this situation.

She and I bothwant to just go our own ways to live out our lives, but have found daily life impossible to cope with.

I don’t know what to do.

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Uduak U

Do not allow yourself to become a slave to the twists and turns of Feelings. In a lifetime we have the capacity to develop feelings for a ton of people. But we cannot just pursue all of them! That would be insane. You are married now. You need to apply boundaries and self control in order to protect your sanity and your integrity and marriage.
What you focus on will grow and grow. So deliberately focus on your wife and your feelings for her will grow. Starve this other lady out and the feelings will die. I wish you all the best.

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Anonymous

Its real. I once was walking through a crowd, he was walking the oppositw way towards me through the crowd as well. As we got nearer it was like time slowed down, i heard no noise, saw nothing else but his face, he was also looking at me directly in the eyes, we didnt smile but instead it was like we were in awe and as we walked past each other our eyes still fixated. We looked nowhere else. After that I felt this intense feeling of oh my god who is he he is beautiful and mysterious, i have to know him. And by the way he has no resemblance to anyone in my past. So after that moment i could not get that image of us walking past each other out of my head. Nothing else mattered and i kept thinking where is he. So a bit later on I went outside bymyself and it was like my body knew which direction to go in becuse i was walking straight towards him without even knowing. As i looked up he was standing a few metres head talking to his friends. He saw me and turned my way and started walking straight towards me…without sayinh a word to each other we embraced and i felt this comfort. We embraced for about 10 seconds at least before saying hi im so and so. And we smiled at each other and felt so at ease. It was like our souls knew each other. I dont know. After introducing ourselves we spome for a while and i said i had a boyfriend already and he understood but we knew our encounter was not in vain and that we would see each other again…a couple year later we did…and we went on to become very good friends and have been ever since. You may ask why we never got together. It was our timing. When we met i was in a relationship. Then he was in one long one, and so forth. Also if we were together we would have broken our group of friends up but it never stopped us from telling each other how we felt about each other, and when we were together or with our friends we always felt love towards each other, and for a few seconds every so often we would gaze into each others eyes and tell each other through our eyes what we felt. 8 years later its never changed, it feels the same everytime we see each other, like that first time. Who knows maybe one day it will be our turn and the right time. So maybe im crazy but I still cant explain that first embrace encounter without knowing each other, no mutual friends, not saying a word till after holding each other…

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Sylvia

Yes, it’s true. I fell in love with a guy the first second I saw him. He did not remind me of anyone from my past (as I have never been close to anybody) and I had no “unfulfilled” needs at the time. I was balanced. He just opened me right up. And does so even today, even though we have never been together because of our respective situations. I do know, though, that he will be the man I grow old with. I am just allowing time to guide us.

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Miss Hopeful

I too had the same feelings and still have for a complete stranger that I had met on a train station in 2011. We both looked at each other and it was a totally unreal experience that I ever felt and had. I know that he too felt exactly the same. I have not seen him since because we lives miles apart. I know he thinks of me just as I think of him. I just know. I remember his smell, standing next to him and it took all my courage to not reach out and touch him. even though it was our only encounter, I think of him always, and I know he does of me, I just know it, I think I’m in love with him, I can’t get him out of my mind. I’m going back for another trip hoping to see him again.

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Lakhan

Very right Sir,
Your article really helps to forget the person who is not interested in me, and I cannot sleep or concentrate beacause I think that she is the one. Love at first sight is highly out of contorl. I always thaought I am a man who will never loave anybody, but I m devastated.
Don’t know how to get back to my normal hard life.

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Robbed_ofLife

Lakhan, I am in the same boat and after reading this article I believe it makes a lot of sense. However, even after knowing this, my irrational mind keeps me in a devastated state. I hear what is being said but I can’t let the hurt and pain go. Several points completely describe my situation, yet I still hold on.

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Anxiety is a sign that the brain has registered threat and is mobilising the body to get to safety. One of the ways it does this is by organising the body for movement - to fight the danger or flee the danger. 

If there is no need or no opportunity for movement, that fight or flight fuel will still be looking for expression. This can come out as wriggly, fidgety, hyperactive behaviour. This is why any of us might pace or struggle to sit still when we’re anxious. 

If kids or teens are bouncing around, wriggling in their chairs, or having trouble sitting still, it could be anxiety. Remember with anxiety, it’s not about what is actually safe but about what the brain perceives. New or challenging work, doing something unfamiliar, too much going on, a tired or hungry body, anything that comes with any chance of judgement, failure, humiliation can all throw the brain into fight or flight.

When this happens, the body might feel busy, activated, restless. This in itself can drive even more anxiety in kids or teens. Any of us can struggle when we don’t feel comfortable in our own bodies. 

Anxiety is energy with nowhere to go. To move through anxiety, give the energy somewhere to go - a fast walk, a run, a whole-body shake, hula hooping, kicking a ball - any movement that spends the energy will help bring the brain and body back to calm.♥️
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#parenting #anxietyinkids #childanxiety #parenting #parent
This is not bad behaviour. It’s big behaviour a from a brain that has registered threat and is working hard to feel safe again. 

‘Threat’ isn’t about what is actually safe or not, but about what the brain perceives. The brain can perceive threat when there is any chance missing out on or messing up something important, anything that feels unfamiliar, hard, or challenging, feeling misunderstood, thinking you might be angry or disappointed with them, being separated from you, being hungry or tired, anything that pushes against their sensory needs - so many things. 

During anxiety, the amygdala in the brain is switched to high volume, so other big feelings will be too. This might look like tears, sadness, or anger. 

Big feelings have a good reason for being there. The amygdala has the very important job of keeping us safe, and it does this beautifully, but not always with grace. One of the ways the amygdala keeps us safe is by calling on big feelings to recruit social support. When big feelings happen, people notice. They might not always notice the way we want to be noticed, but we are noticed. This increases our chances of safety. 

Of course, kids and teens still need our guidance and leadership and the conversations that grow them, but not during the emotional storm. They just won’t hear you anyway because their brain is too busy trying to get back to safety. In that moment, they don’t want to be fixed or ‘grown’. They want to feel seen, safe and heard. 

During the storm, preserve your connection with them as much as you can. You might not always be able to do this, and that’s okay. None of this is about perfection. If you have a rupture, repair it as soon as you can. Then, when their brains and bodies come back to calm, this is the time for the conversations that will grow them. 

Rather than, ‘What consequences do they need to do better?’, shift to, ‘What support do they need to do better?’ The greatest support will come from you in a way they can receive: ‘What happened?’ ‘What can you do differently next time?’ ‘You’re the most wonderful kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen. How can you put things right? Do you need my help with that?’♥️
Big behaviour is a sign of a nervous system in distress. Before anything, that vulnerable nervous system needs to be brought back home to felt safety. 

This will happen most powerfully with relationship and connection. Breathe and be with. Let them know you get it. This can happen with words or nonverbals. It’s about feeling what they feel, but staying regulated.

If they want space, give them space but stay in emotional proximity, ‘Ok I’m just going to stay over here. I’m right here if you need.’

If they’re using spicy words to make sure there is no confusion about how they feel about you right now, flag the behaviour, then make your intent clear, ‘I know how upset you are and I want to understand more about what’s happening for you. I’m not going to do this while you’re speaking to me like this. You can still be mad, but you need to be respectful. I’m here for you.’

Think of how you would respond if a friend was telling you about something that upset her. You wouldn’t tell her to calm down, or try to fix her (she’s not broken), or talk to her about her behaviour. You would just be there. You would ‘drop an anchor’ and steady those rough seas around her until she feels okay enough again. Along the way you would be doing things that let her know your intent to support her. You’d do this with you facial expressions, your voice, your body, your posture. You’d feel her feels, and she’d feel you ‘getting her’. It’s about letting her know that you understand what she’s feeling, even if you don’t understand why (or agree with why). 

It’s the same for our children. As their important big people, they also need leadership. The time for this is after the storm has passed, when their brains and bodies feel safe and calm. Because of your relationship, connection and their felt sense of safety, you will have access to their ‘thinking brain’. This is the time for those meaningful conversations: 
- ‘What happened?’
- ‘What did I do that helped/ didn’t help?’
- ‘What can you do differently next time?’
- ‘You’re a great kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen, but here we are. What can you do to put things right? Do you need my help with that?’♥️
As children grow, and especially by adolescence, we have the illusion of control but whether or not we have any real influence will be up to them. The temptation to control our children will always come from a place of love. Fear will likely have a heavy hand in there too. When they fall, we’ll feel it. Sometimes it will feel like an ache in our core. Sometimes it will feel like failure or guilt, or anger. We might wish we could have stopped them, pushed a little harder, warned a little bigger, stood a little closer. We’re parents and we’re human and it’s what this parenting thing does. It makes fear and anxiety billow around us like lost smoke, too easily.

Remember, they want you to be proud of them, and they want to do the right thing. When they feel your curiosity over judgement, and the safety of you over shame, it will be easier for them to open up to you. Nobody will guide them better than you because nobody will care more about where they land. They know this, but the magic happens when they also know that you are safe and that you will hold them, their needs, their opinions and feelings with strong, gentle, loving hands, no matter what.♥️
Anger is the ‘fight’ part of the fight or flight response. It has important work to do. Anger never exists on its own. It exists to hold other more vulnerable emotions in a way that feels safer. It’s sometimes feels easier, safer, more acceptable, stronger to feel the ‘big’ that comes with anger, than the vulnerability that comes with anxiety, sadness, loneliness. This isn’t deliberate. It’s just another way our bodies and brains try to keep us safe. 

The problem isn’t the anger. The problem is the behaviour that can come with the anger. Let there be no limits on thoughts and feelings, only behaviour. When children are angry, as long as they are safe and others are safe, we don’t need to fix their anger. They aren’t broken. Instead, drop the anchor: as much as you can - and this won’t always be easy - be a calm, steadying, loving presence to help bring their nervous systems back home to calm. 

Then, when they are truly calm, and with love and leadership, have the conversations that will grow them - 
- What happened? 
- What can you do differently next time?
- You’re a really great kid. I know you didn’t want this to happen but here we are. How can you make things right. Would you like some ideas? Do you need some help with that?
- What did I do that helped? What did I do that didn’t help? Is there something that might feel more helpful next time?

When their behaviour falls short of ‘adorable’, rather than asking ‘What consequences they need to do better?’ let the question be, ‘What support do they need to do better.’ Often, the biggest support will be a conversation with you, and that will be enough.♥️
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#parenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparenting #anxietyinkids

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