A favored topic of philosophers, scientists, and writers for generations, love is a concept that has many interpretations. It can range from the deep affection that characterizes romantic love to the enduring commitment of family and spousal love. It can also include love of non-human animals, friends, principles, and religious beliefs.
While most people would agree that loving someone means being caring and supportive, determining what that love actually looks like can be difficult. Various theories have been put forth, including the idea that love is a complex blend of feelings and emotions that includes both attachment and desire. Others describe love as a feeling that encompasses compassion and selflessness. Still others point out that while it can be intense and even aphrodisiac, it is also vulnerable and prone to change with life changes, misunderstandings, and personal growth.
Some people define it as a feeling that arises when you’re in the presence of the person you love and that makes you think of him or her at all times. Some people say that when you’re in love, your world seems different – everything is a bit brighter, you feel safe and secure, and you can be your truest self. Other people suggest that when you’re in love, your behavior is characterized by patience, kindness, protection, and attentiveness. Still others emphasize that while you may want to show your love by expressing yourself physically, it’s more important to express it through the things you do.
Psychologists and researchers disagree about whether love is an emotion in the sense that we normally understand emotions. Some, such as psychologist Enrique Burunat, believe it’s not an emotion at all and instead a physiological motivation similar to hunger, thirst, sleep, or a sex drive. Others, such as Paul Ekman, the famous facial expression researcher, have argued that all basic emotions come with specific physical reactions and activation in specific brain regions.
There’s no denying that love is powerful and has the potential to transform your life in profound ways. It can make you blind to your own faults and willing to overlook flaws in the person you love. It can also lead to a longing that makes you want to spend time with your partner and prioritize his or her needs over your own. It can even be painful, but it’s a part of what makes us human.
Trying to capture the essence of this complicated emotion isn’t easy, but there are some things you can do to help your readers connect with and empathize with your characters’ feelings. For example, rather than simply telling your readers that two of your characters are in love, try showing them how they care for one another by describing their physical interaction and the way they speak to each other. You can also use humor to highlight their quirks and insecurities, which can show readers that love isn’t always perfect. But most importantly, you can draw your readers into the story by making them feel as though they’re witnessing real-life relationships and emotions.