The word “love” encompasses an incredible variety of strong and powerful emotional and psychological states, from an abstract form of blissful bliss to the most sublime human feeling, the most personal human passion, to the most rewarding form of intellectual gratification. In the broadest sense, however, the term “love” can mean any one of these things – and usually means more of the former. Most commonly, in our language, the word “love” denotes an emotional state that manifests itself as attachment feelings to a person or a thing, with the end goal being the same.
When romantic love is described in this way, it usually describes a sort of mental or emotional bonding between two people, typically revolving around feelings of adoration and admiration for the other person. Sometimes the idea is to an extent spiritual, with the focus being on the emotions of appreciation, love and trust. Sometimes these feelings are directed toward some sort of tangible object – such as a piece of jewelry, clothing, furniture or a car or other expensive and valuable object.
But there is more to love than meets the eye, and when a couple expresses their love in more tangible ways, there is truly some form of real love. People experience true love in very distinct and tangible ways. Unconditional love, while often displayed in a way that some would describe as frivolous or meaningless, is not necessarily lacking in importance. It is the expression of deep, unadulterated love for another person that can provide both the giver and recipient of this love with great joy and happiness. It is often the source of lasting relationships, be it a lifelong partner or part of a long-term commitment. Unconditional love does not have an expiration date.
For those of us who have experienced true unconditional love, it is clear that the emotional bond we share is very powerful, and that it can be a powerful and sustaining force for personal happiness and fulfillment. However, for most people, true affection and attraction are much less powerful and sustain. It may not even be possible for such a bond to exist. The difference between the experience of true affection and attraction and the less effective experiences of mere friendship or mere curiosity or a passing desire is that true affection and attraction are deeply rooted in a fundamental need to connect with others. True affection and attraction are expressions of that need.
True love may be the desire to be connected with others. But for most people, feeling that need to be connected with others is usually coupled with feelings of anger, hurt, resentment, self-pity or envy. Such feelings often inhibit and sometimes inhibit such ability to feel love. And so even when there are feelings of love, the emotions are seldom at all fully expressed, and the resulting attachment to others is typically only temporary. That is why true affection and attraction are so often not expressed, because the barriers to expression of these feelings are so high.
Appreciation and a feeling of being loved are the beginning stages toward attachment. When you have feelings of love and are continually drawn toward someone or something, you are very actively practicing attachment parenting. That means that you are actively connecting with another person or thing, and using that other person or thing as a place of refuge, security and safety as well-being. Attachment parenting is the foundation for a healthy and happy home life.