What Is Love?

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what is love

Some say it is just a feeling. Others say it is beyond a feeling. Another set of people say it is a mixture of both. If it is beyond a feeling, what is it? What is love? Is love a mystery that cannot be defined? Or is it humans that don’t understand what love truly is? Questions, questions, questions. So, then, what is love?

This is one of the most widely discussed topics in our circles. We discuss it in our families, religious institutions, bars, work, and even schools. It only suggests that a large percentage of us are very much interested in love. Otherwise, why talk about something you are not interested in?

In addition to the essential needs of human existence, such as food, water, clothing, and shelter, we also need love. Psychoanalysts such as Abraham Maslow and John Bowlby regard love as a fundamental human need, asserting its importance alongside necessities like food, water, and shelter. Some argue that love is indispensable to our existence, as vital as the sustenance we consume and the air we breathe. If love is highly essential, then what is love?

What Is The Real Meaning Of Love?

what is love

What would your definition look like if you were asked to define love? Will it look like your experiences, or will you be unbiased? I have had the opportunity to interact with people who say that love hurts. In their opinion, love really does hurt because all they have experienced since birth is nothing but that.

But on a deeper level, does love really hurt? Or is it hurt people that hurt people in the name of love? It is safe to assume that such people will define love in a relationship as nothing but pain.

Love encompasses diverse definitions and manifestations, with individuals interpreting it differently, as I said earlier. Some equate love with reverence and admiration, whereas others view it as dedication, fondness, or allegiance. So, what do you view love as? I have realised that our perception of things can determine what we get in return.

In addition, depth and intensity often characterise descriptions of love, ranging from genuine affection to unwavering devotion or unreciprocated longing.

Did the previous sentence tell you something deep about two kinds of love? Does that explain why people say that love hurts while others disagree?

For me, the true definition of love is something that is selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional to the well-being of others. Furthermore, love is patient and kind and does not envy, boast, or dishonour others. However, love is more than just an emotion because relegating love to an emotion alone undermines what it truly is.

Furthermore, it does encompass a wide range of feelings, behaviours, and experiences. It can involve affection, care, intimacy, attachment, and deep emotional connection towards oneself, others, or even objects or ideas. Love can manifest in various forms, such as romantic, familial, platonic, or even love for one’s passions or beliefs.

It often involves empathy, understanding, acceptance, and a willingness to support and nurture the well-being and happiness of others, as I said earlier. However, the experience and interpretation of love can vary significantly among individuals and cultures, making it a subject of ongoing exploration and contemplation.

What Are The Attributes Of Love?

what is love

Before we look at the attributes of love, how about we explore different words for love? Love has numerous synonyms, including affection, passion, devotion, worship, and adore. Of course, there are many more words, but let’s make do with these for now.

So why should we briefly discuss the attributes of love? Discussing the attributes of love serves several vital purposes:

  •  Understanding Relationships

Many people lack an adequate understanding of relationships, so unnecessary pain is produced, and people’s hearts are broken needlessly. I believe that knowledge is potential power. So, exploring the attributes of love will help individuals better understand the dynamics and components of healthy relationships.

Respectfully speaking, many people do not know what healthy relationships look or feel like. So, by recognising the qualities that contribute to love, individuals can cultivate and nurture fulfilling connections with others.

  • Improving Communication

True love is ever ready to speak. Sounds funny, right? Discussing love’s attributes encourages open and honest Communication within relationships. Furthermore, it provides a framework for expressing needs, desires, and boundaries and constructively addressing conflicts and misunderstandings. How can a relationship be established if there is little or no room for Communication?

  •  Building Stronger Connections

what is love

Connections are what make relationships come alive. Hence, building a more solid connection with your spouse is urgently needed. Understanding and embodying the attributes of love can deepen emotional bonds and strengthen connections with loved ones.

Still, by prioritising qualities such as respect, Communication, and support, couples can foster greater intimacy, trust, and mutual understanding within their relationships.

  • Navigating Relationship Challenges

This is an uncomfortable truth, but challenges are a part of relationships. However, running away from them will not change the reality of things. So, discussing the attributes of love equips couples with the tools and insights needed to navigate challenges and conflicts that may arise in relationships.

Individuals can work through difficulties and emerge with more robust, more resilient connections by drawing on principles such as forgiveness, empathy, and commitment. You must remember that true love forgives and is always willing to let go.

  •  Promoting Self-Reflection

Reflecting on the attributes of love allows individuals to assess their own behaviours and attitudes within relationships. It encourages self-awareness and personal growth by prompting individuals to consider how they demonstrate affection, empathy, trust, and other essential qualities in their interactions with others.

We can only love others when we are better on the inside because if all you have inside are negative emotions, it is only natural that you should produce them. Besides, apple trees can only give you apples and not mangoes.

In summary, discussing the attributes of love serves as a valuable tool for promoting healthy, fulfilling relationships and fostering personal growth and self-awareness. It encourages individuals to prioritise qualities that contribute to love and to cultivate meaningful connections with others based on mutual respect, understanding, and support. I hope you see the need why I had to include this.

Dear reader, having read to this point, what does love mean to you? Looking at the attributes of love we briefly examined, are the things discussed above present in your romantic relationship?

What Does Real Love Feel Like?

what is love

Many may wonder, “What does real love mean in a relationship?” So they ask, “What is love?” or “What does real love feel like?” Real love, often described as genuine or authentic, encompasses a depth of emotion, action, willingness, and connection beyond fleeting infatuation or superficial attraction. Of course, some pleasant feelings accompany love, which is why we love to love. So, do you have any idea what they might be? The answer lies below.

  • Unconditional Acceptance

Real love involves accepting someone for who they are, their flaws and all, without trying to change them or impose conditions on their worthiness of love. However, true love pushes you to be a better version of yourself.

  • Deep Connection

Authentic love fosters a deep emotional and spiritual connection with another person, creating a bond that feels intimate, strong, and profound.

  • Mutual Respect

True love is built on mutual respect and admiration, where both spouses value and appreciate each other’s thoughts, feelings, and boundaries. In other words, real love doesn’t disrespect.

  • Understanding And Empathy

Real love involves empathising with your partner’s emotions and experiences, seeking to understand their perspective, and supporting them through both joys and struggles. It is called genuine love because it endures.

  •  Growth And Support

This love encourages personal growth and development, with both partners supporting each other’s dreams, goals, and aspirations.

  • Security And Safety

Genuine love provides a sense of security and safety, where both partners feel emotionally and physically protected in each other’s presence. Of what use is staying in a relationship where you are being abused?

  • Trust And Honesty

what is love

Real love is characterised by honesty and transparency, where both partners feel comfortable being vulnerable and sharing their deepest thoughts and feelings without the fear of being judged.

  • Joy And Fulfilment

This love brings joy and fulfilment to both spouses’ lives, enriching their experiences and creating lasting memories as a couple. Real love has no form of sadness in it.

  • Commitment And Loyalty

Real love involves a commitment to each other’s well-being and happiness, with both partners remaining loyal and dedicated to nurturing the relationship through good times and bad. And happy are those you find this.

  • Peace And Contentment

Authentic love brings peace and contentment, knowing that you have found someone who loves you unconditionally and shares your values, dreams, and aspirations. And most importantly, it doesn’t cost much.

Ultimately, real love is a transformative and profoundly enriching experience that brings out the best in both spouses, fostering growth, connection, and mutual fulfilment in the relationship.

So, for those still asking themselves, “What is love?” If these things are absent, you should know that what you are experiencing isn’t anywhere near the real meaning of love.

Different Types Of Love

The conversation about what is love cannot be concluded without looking at the different types of love. There are diverse kinds of love that exist in human relationships and experiences. So, let’s look at a few of them.

1.  Romantic Love

Many of us are used to this kind of love and probably have been waiting for me to discuss it. The time is finally here, and it will be worth the wait. Feelings of passion, attraction, and intimacy between partners characterise romantic love. It often involves physical affection, desire, and a deep emotional connection.

However, romantic love is typically associated with romantic relationships and may lead to commitment, long-term partnership, and marriage. So, is this what is love to you in this context?

2.  Familial Love

what is love

Have you ever heard the expression, “family over everything”? I guess you have. My explanation will help you understand why that statement is true. Familial or family love refers to the bond and affection shared between family members, such as parents and children, siblings, and extended relatives.

Familial love is often unconditional and enduring, rooted in shared experiences, memories, and a sense of belonging. Many of us have also experienced this kind of love on a broader scale, thanks to our parents and siblings.

3.  Platonic Love

Platonic love is non-sensual and non-romantic affection between friends or acquaintances. It involves emotional closeness, trust, and mutual respect without the desire for physical intimacy or romantic involvement. Platonic love can be significant and supportive, fostering companionship and emotional connection.

4.  Self-Love

Self-love, also known as self-care or self-compassion, refers to caring for and nurturing oneself. It involves accepting and valuing oneself, recognising one’s worth and inherent dignity, and prioritising one’s well-being and happiness. Self-love is essential for personal growth, resilience, and mental health. You can read my article 50 Self-care Ideas for a Bad Day to know more.

5.  Unconditional Love

Unconditional love is love without limitations or conditions. It involves accepting and caring for someone unconditionally, regardless of their flaws, mistakes, or circumstances. Unconditional love is often associated with parental love, where parents love their children regardless of their behaviour or actions. Although this is rare between couples, it can also be their reality.

6.  Spiritual Love

Spiritual love transcends the physical realm and is deeply connected with the divine or a higher power. It involves feelings of awe, reverence, gratitude, and a sense of interconnectedness with all beings. Spiritual love may inspire compassion, forgiveness, and altruism towards others.

7.  Compassionate Love

Compassionate love is characterised by empathy, kindness, and altruism towards others. It involves caring for the well-being and happiness of others and may include acts of service, generosity, and support.

Compassionate love fosters a sense of connection and solidarity with humanity and promotes social harmony and cooperation. The world needs this kind of love now more than ever.

8.  Passionate Love

Passionate love is intense and consuming, characterised by strong feelings of attraction, desire, and infatuation. It often involves physical chemistry, excitement, and obsession with the object or person of one’s affection. Passionate love may be experienced in the early stages of a romantic relationship but can evolve into more stable forms of love over time.

Having briefly looked at the diverse types of love, I hope the question, “What is love?” shouldn’t be a mystery to you any more. It is worth noting that each kind has its unique qualities, dynamics, and significance in shaping our connections with others and our sense of fulfilment and well-being.

5  Signs You Love Someone

what is love

Remember, our topic of consideration is “What is love?” So, let’s briefly look at a few signs that indicate you may be in love with someone.

1.  Think About Them Constantly

How frequently do you stay awake at night, lost in your thoughts of how they might be doing? When you’re in love, thoughts of the person you love tend to occupy your mind frequently, whether you’re together or apart.

You find yourself daydreaming about them, imagining scenarios with them, and feeling a strong desire to be around them. If you constantly think about a person, it is a sign that you love them. What is love if the thoughts of them do not flood your mind often?

2.  Prioritising Their Happiness

What is love if their happiness is not your number one goal? I wouldn’t be with anyone who wouldn’t prioritise my happiness. When you love a person, you prioritise their well-being and happiness above yours. You go out of your way to do things that will make them smile, even if it means sacrificing your own comfort or desires. Their joy becomes your joy.

3.  Feeling A Deep Emotional Connection

What’s the meaning of love in a relationship if this is missing? Love often involves a profound emotional bond. You feel connected to the person deeply, understanding them in ways that others may not. You share your thoughts, fears, and dreams with them, and they do the same with you.

There’s a sense of emotional intimacy and vulnerability that you both feel comfortable with. If all of the things mentioned above are present, it is safe to say that you love the person.

4.  Wanting To Support Them

When you love someone, it is only natural to support them in any area you can. If you feel a strong urge to support them through thick and thin, you love them. If you’re there for them during their highs and lows, offering a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on, or practical help whenever needed, you are deeply in love with them.

Lastly, if their successes bring you joy, and you’re always ready to encourage their challenges, what more sign do you need to verify that you care for them? All of these are signs that you love that person.

5.  Long-term Thinking

When you’re in love, you start envisioning a future with that person. You see them as a part of your life for the long haul and not just for the moment alone, and you make plans together, whether discussing future goals or dreams or even making commitments like getting married. Also, your vision for the future includes them as a central figure.

If you are probably wondering what defines love in a relationship, what I just discussed should paint a better picture.

5  Signs Someone Loves You

what is love

It’s only fair I include this in this article. Sometimes, it can be difficult to tell whether or not a person loves you. So, to end that confusion, let’s look at a few signs since we are discussing what love is.

1.  Consistent Effort

If a person loves you, chances are they will consistently put effort into the relationship. This could mean anything from remembering important dates to actively listening to you and making time for you in their life. Their actions consistently demonstrate that you are their priority and not an option.

2.  Genuine Interest

Very few people will do this if they do not love you. So, if they show a genuine interest in your life, thoughts, and feelings, it is suggestive that they feel something for you. Also, they will not hesitate to ask about your day, interests, and goals and listen attentively to your responses. When they try to understand you on a deeper level and support you in pursuing your passions, think no further; you have found the one.

3.  Emotional Support

Suppose they are there for you during good and bad times and offer a shoulder to lean on when you’re feeling down, provide encouragement when facing challenges, and celebrate your successes with genuine happiness; then they love you. Lastly, if they make you feel loved, supported, and valued, what sign do you need to tell they love you?

4.  Respect And Trust

One of the blocks for a healthy foundation in a relationship is respect and trust. So, if they respect and trust you, your guess is as good as mine. Also, they will trust your judgment, respect your boundaries, and treat you with kindness and consideration.

These are signs that they love you. And what if they value your opinions and decisions, even if they may not always agree with them? The obvious answer is because they love, respect and trust you.

5.  Everything Feels Exciting And New

When you’re with your new partner, even routine activities create a fresh sense of excitement and anticipation. For instance, you might find yourself eager to watch a sports game, even if it’s not your usual cup of tea, simply because it’s something your significant other enjoys. Love has a way of infusing everything with novelty and fascination, transforming the familiar into something thrilling and enticing.

If someone consistently demonstrates these signs, it could strongly indicate that they love you. So, if someone asks you, “What is love?” you would comfortably tell them what love is—all thanks to reading this piece. My ultimate desire is that you experience true love and nothing less.

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Many thanks to you for reading, and always remember that sharing is indeed caring!


what is love

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Author: Relationship And Life

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