There’s no doubt that love is complex and varied. It’s a feeling or emotion that can be felt between opposite sexes, between siblings, friends, neighbors and even animals. In addition, it can take on religious or spiritual meanings. These multiple facets of the emotion make it uniquely difficult to define. This is partly because of its broad range of emotional and social effects, but also because it can change over time.
Scientists and researchers differ in how they characterize the emotion of love. Some view it as a physiological drive, similar to hunger or thirst. Others view it as a secondary emotion derived from a mix of primary emotions. Still others define it as a complex state of mind.
In the context of romantic relationships, many people think of love as a strong emotional bond that leads to commitment. This is a form of love that can be beneficial to both parties, but it’s not the only type of love. Parents often feel a deep love for their children, for example. People can feel love for their pets or for a hobby.
When we’re in the midst of a romantic relationship, it can feel like everything is perfect. That’s because when we’re in the throes of love, our brains are wired to see the world in a more positive light. It can lead to an increased sense of well-being and euphoria, as well as a decreased perception of pain.
If a person is in the midst of falling out of love, it can seem as though they’re living in a dark abyss. But while they’re in the throes of their grief, it’s important to remind them that they’ll eventually come out on the other side of this darkness and be able to re-experience the joy and wonder that was once there.
A person can also love their job, or a cause, or even an object. This is a form of love that’s commonly referred to as ‘agape’. A person in this type of love is concerned with the wellbeing of another, but doesn’t necessarily want anything in return.
The renowned English metaphysician F.H. Bradley said that the experience of real love is a moment when the subject and the object become one – it’s a “realisation” that transcends any kind of attachment to things.
It’s hard to imagine a life without love, but that doesn’t mean that it is a requirement for everyone’s happiness. In fact, the kind of love that’s best for our mental health is more likely to be a long-term commitment to someone who understands that they’re not going to always make us happy and is willing to work through those difficult times with you. True, lasting love takes time to cultivate and can be a challenge to maintain. But it’s worth it. Think back to your childhood and remember that favourite teddy bear or truck that you loved so much that you couldn’t possibly sleep without it.