What is Love?

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Love is patient, love is kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self seeking it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs”..  These well known verses from The Holy Bible is what we all aspire to be the perfect definition of what love should be.  We become unhappy and doubt being in love or someone being in love with us if one of these statements are lacking in our Love lives.

My definition of love:  Love, in its many forms, is a powerful feeling of profound affection for something.   This feeling does not necessarily need to be romantic by nature.  There are many different types of Love for example: Familial Love, Platonic Love, and Religious Love.  These all form part of the universal concept that is known to us as Love.  Love can also be described as feeling an emotional almost supernatural attachment to something.

The latest psychology surrounding love would be that based on the theory of triangular Love by Prof Robert Sternberg. Sternberg is a professor of Psychology in the United States and well-known author.  Sternberg developed and explained his theory of love to be triangular by nature. Love is made up of three components being Intimacy (the feelings one has of closeness and attachment), Passion (sexual attraction) and Commitment (long term commitment to enter into a longstanding relationship).  The nature and strength of the Love felt based on these components can vary throughout a relationship. This would depend on which one of these components develops stronger and which are present within the relationship at the specific time of assessing your love for each other.

It is possible that a different type of Love can be formed according to which combination of the three components are present in your relationship.   When only one or two components are present then this love may only be that of friendship, companionship or a relationship based solely on passion. Here it is important that Lust must not be mistaken for Love.

We must be very careful not to confuse emotions with feelings when defining our own concept of Love.   Infatuation, admiration, compassion can easily be experienced as feelings of love.  Love can certainly originate through these feelings.  An example of one of these forms of love would be that you feel a very close bond between two friends, there is however neither passion nor commitment.  This could also be seen as love felt for that person.

Love can be experienced through different things.  Shakespeare in his well-known play twelfth night believes music to be the food of love. In this play Duke Orsino called for more music to try and cure himself of his obsession with Countess Olivia.

There are so many facets in and around the concept of love that we often feel that if we do not succeed in experiencing love the biblical way we have failed or that love is not meant for us.  This would not necessarily be correct.  We may be able to love one-way but the other person may not have the ability to give not receive love the same way as we do.  This may result in us feeling that we have failed.

Love has been so commercialized through the ages that we often compare the depth of our love for one another by the size of the gift, or the vacation destination.  How many times have we not heard or said ourselves  “ if you loved me enough then you would have”…   We complicate things by indoctrinations of what we were taught about what Love should be like.

How many times don’t we hear about disappointments surrounding days that are created to express our love for one another?  Children and teenagers end up devastated if they don’t receive a rose or a card or chocolates on these days.  They end up feeling unloved and incapable of Love; whilst not even old enough to comprehend what true love is all about.

We should allow ourselves to love freely without the pre-conceived idea of a lifelong commitment or an intense passionate sexual relationship.  We should allow ourselves to have love for our friends, our children, and our colleagues.  Love non the less,  in a different form.

Famous quotations surrounding the subject of love which are there to uplift and create joy and pleasure to be felt through love.

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them”….   Mother Theresa

“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies” … Aristotle

Negative connotations placing strain on individuals who search and seek for their ultimate love are often seen in well-known quotations such as:

“Love is a grave mental disease” Plato

A quote by T S Eliot “Love compels cruelty, to those who do not understand love”.

Make up your own mind as to which components of the love triangle are in your relationship and build on the one’s found missing.  It is not a pre-requisite for experiencing Love to find Love of Biblical proportions as written in Corinthians. Love comes in many forms, shapes and dimensions.  If you feel the powerful feeling of affection for something you care about then you have experienced Love.

I am yet to meet one who in love has found all.




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