What is love?
As a noun, love is defined as a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. Also, a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend. Additionally, love can be defined as sexual passion or desire. It’s also a strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything.
As a verb, it is defined as having love or affection for someone. And, to have a strong liking for or take great pleasure in (book, food, music, etc.)
Other related words for the noun form of love would be, friendship, devotion, fondness, admiration, pleasure, affinity, caring. For the verb form of love, synonyms include adore, appreciate, cherish, enjoy, like, prefer, and want. It can be argued that none of those synonyms have the same depth of meaning as the word love conjures.
What is love? Is love an emotion, or a feeling, or a mood? Is love a misunderstood force of nature?
Is love an emotion? A list of emotions might include admiration, affection, calmness, excitement, joy, kindness, longing, lust, sadness, surprise. There’s quite an extensive list of emotions. And, love is on it. But, is love really an emotion? From Psychology Today, there are four components of feeling an emotion: 1) the situation you are in, 2) the details you pay attention to, 3) your appraisal of what the situation means for you, and 4) your response, including the physical changes, and your behaviors. Does love fit into this description? Or, would love be in its own category and subsequently include emotions? Maybe love generates emotions.
Is love a feeling? Firstly, what’s the difference between an emotion and a feeling? From The Emotional Detective, an emotion is “a hardwired and universal physical response to change.” Whereas feelings are “mental associations and other reactions to an emotion that are personal. Feelings are acquired through experience.” So, perhaps an emotion is a response and a feeling is an attachment you make to the response. Then, love as a feeling would be based on one’s experience or interpretations of their experience. So, does love create a feeling or does a feeling create love?
Is love a mood? A mood can be a quality of feeling, an emotional quality, or a general attitude. A loose interpretation is that a mood is a temporary state of mind. So, sure, love can be a mood. Or, love can generate a mood. To list emotions, feelings, and moods would cover many overlapping definitions. So, is love the mood or might the love produce different moods?
Is it a force of nature? Love is quite possibly the most powerful force we know. Gravity is the attraction between two objects. Love can sure have a gravitational pull. Love can certainly be quite influential and very persuasive. As an electromagnetic force, opposites attract. We’ve all heard that! Additionally, love can be strong. The love between those two made them inseparable. Lastly, love can also be weak. In science, a weak force is responsible for decay. We’ve all heard about a love that deteriorated or fell apart. Is love its own force of nature, or do the forces of nature describe what love can be?
This was supposed to be a short blog discussing what love is. Love arises from a feeling of connection, belonging, or oneness. Love can be felt for many types of objects and persons. Love can be platonic, romantic, religious, or familial. Certainly, there is another side to that very same coin. What love is not. To understand what something is, sometimes it helps to understand what it is not. To be brief, sure, people have gotten confused and misled. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs mentions love, belonging, and connection as basic human needs. However, connection and belonging are not love. Addiction is not love. Infatuation is not love. Obsession is not love. Possession and materialism are not love.
There are endless uses and expressions of love. You can have a love for food, drink, art, movies, or music. You may love a beautiful sunrise, a colorful sunset, the smell just after it rains, or the sight of a rainbow. You can have love for your spouse, your family, and your friends. You may love your school, your class, your teacher. With all of these uses, there are different levels or different meanings for the emotion, feeling, mood, or force of nature that you convey.
Over the years, so many have said or written or even sang about what love means to them. One love. Love hurts. Love stinks. Love is a battlefield. Love is blind. Love is confusing. Love is deep. Love is divine. Love is the answer. Love is everything. Love isn’t always on time. Love is everlasting. Love is eternal. Love is patient, love is kind. There’s self-love. Love can be conditional or unconditional. Love is contagious. Love is in the air. Love is overrated. Love is an illusion. Love is a mystery. Love is magic. Love is energy. It’s also been written that there are five love languages. And, from the Ancient Greeks, there are eight types of love.
At some point in your life, you must have voiced love in some manner or fashion about something or someone. I love you. I love you too much. Could I love you anymore? I love you to the moon and back. I love that place. I love shopping. I love shopping with you. I love Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall. I love my team. I love my dog. I love my bed. I love my house or my yard. I love the way you think. I love our discussions. And, I love that about you.
Love can have so many definitions and interpretations. And, it very well may be an unexplained, unrecognized, or misunderstood powerful force of nature. Love is a continuum. And we use the word love as an expression to describe – at some point in time – any one of these emotions, feelings, or moods, that love creates. I love that about love!
“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”
“’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
~Alfred Lord Tennyson
“Let us always meet each other with smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”