Love is one of the most enigmatic emotions that we experience as humans. It can be felt toward friends, families, romantic partners, God, or even oneself. Losing it is often viewed as the most painful thing you can do, but finding it is also considered among the most enlightening and joyous things you can experience. Many people try to capture the essence of this emotion in poetry, songs, and novels, but the truth is that it’s nearly impossible to describe or fully understand.
In the most basic sense, loving someone means that you care about them and their needs. You are concerned about their happiness and safety. You want to help them overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. You will forgive them for their mistakes and even tolerate some of their annoying habits.
For those in a committed relationship, love can motivate you to grow as a person for their sake. For example, if your partner suffers from mental health symptoms, you may encourage them to seek treatment and explore healthy behaviors. Or, if they are trying to make a difficult career transition, you might be willing to support them through the process.
Love can even drive us to pursue new activities that we wouldn’t otherwise do. For example, if your significant other loves to travel, you might be willing to go along with them on an adventure. Or, if they love to watch movies or play sports, you might take the opportunity to enjoy their hobby as well.
When you fall in love, it’s hard to stop thinking about that person. They occupy major real estate in your brain, and you can’t stop rehashing conversations or envisioning your future together. You feel like you know them on a very deep level, and they know everything about you as well. For example, you might confide in them things that are embarrassing to others. This is because you trust them.
You might also think about them at work, while driving, or when you are doing chores around the house. The feelings of love are so strong, that you might even dream about them at night. It’s no wonder that many people believe that they can never truly love themselves until they find their Mr. or Mrs. Right.
Psychologists, researchers, and philosophers have debated the concept of love for centuries. Some believe that it is not an emotion, but a physiological drive similar to hunger or thirst. Other researchers disagree, arguing that love is a complex emotional experience.
Some theorists divide the different types of love into four categories: love as union, love as robust concern, love as valuing, and love as an emotion. However, it is important to note that the theories classified under a specific category often incorporate ideas that are central to other types of love. For this reason, the classifications may be somewhat arbitrary.