Love is a powerful feeling that makes our hearts go pitter-patter and can make us feel like we’re on cloud nine. It’s also one of the hardest emotions to define, because it’s so personal and varied from person to person and culture to culture. But it’s worth exploring because, as writers, we can use it to draw readers into our stories and help them connect with the characters.
Whether it’s romance, friendship, or family love, when you love someone, you want to do everything in your power to protect and nurture that relationship. For example, you might forgive your partner for their bad habits or cheer them on when they achieve a goal. It’s also the reason you give gifts to show your appreciation for them and support the things they care about, even when you don’t necessarily agree with them.
This is a good thing, because it shows that you care about your loved ones and want them to succeed. However, sometimes the people we love can hurt us in ways that can impact our lives and well-being. Unhealthy or toxic relationships can leave you feeling emotionally and physically damaged, and can lead to insecurities that can be difficult to overcome. It’s important to find and maintain healthy relationships, and seek professional help if you need it.
While there are many different types of love, psychologists have mostly focused on three main categories: lust, attraction, and attachment. These stages of love correspond to unique hormone processes in the brain. Lust is governed by the hormones estrogen and testosterone, which encourage feelings of desire and euphoria. Attraction is governed by the hormone dopamine, which triggers positive emotions and can lead to feelings of euphoria and excitement. Finally, attachment is governed by the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin, which promote bonding and emotional closeness in long-term relationships.
Although there are some debates about whether love is a choice or something that happens by default, most psychologists agree that it’s a powerful emotion that can be felt in a variety of ways and isn’t always rational. Love can affect the way we perceive the world around us, and influence our decisions.
While writing about love, it’s important to remember that it can be hard for readers to connect with a story when the protagonists are unrealistically perfect. Adding in some flaws or imperfections to your characters can show that they’re human, and may be more likely to fall into unhealthy or toxic relationships if they aren’t careful. For example, including a character’s habit of checking their Instagram feed at lunch can help readers relate to them and see that they’re not perfect. This will make them more invested in your story and more likely to keep reading.