Have you ever asked yourself the question, “Why do I feel the need for love… to love and be loved?”
This same question that was once in your head, is a question that has been around for centuries, pondered upon by the brains of famous philosophers, poets, or even scientists alike.
In psychology, love counts as one of our most basic needs. In sociology, our need for affection ties in with the fact that we are a social species, not being able to live apart from each other.
Everyone needs love in their lives, whether they admit it or not. But, how have we defined this need? What does love mean? Even Google has reported this to be one of their most searched questions as of 2018. So, what is love?
Here’s what we know so far about love: Love is complex. We know that it feels good, but not all the time. Some have identified love as being painful, but still, worth it. The thing that we all probably have in common when we feel loved, says biology, is that our bodies release many chemicals that makes us happy.
But what makes each one of us feel loved, that is unique and personal.
“All forms of love are necessary, and none are to be ignored, but all of us find some forms of love to be more emotionally valuable to us. They are a currency that we find particularly precious, a language that delivers the message of love to our hearts with the most power. Some types of love are more thrilling and fulfilling to us when we receive them…” — Timothy Keller
There are as many meanings for “love” as there are cultures in this world. Different cultures have different ways of expressing and perceiving love. Different childhoods, different stories. Different lives, different meanings.
Our culture often associates love with feeling. But, we believe it is more than just that. Love, as John Mayer says, is a verb. It requires a lot of intentional work, it is a give-and-take thing. It is never self-centred, always seeking out the best in and for others. Nowadays, people tend to view their relationships like business contracts — they ask themselves, “what’s in it for me, if I were to stay in this relationship?” and make a list out of it. When the list shortens and those relationships, in turn, require more out of them than what they’re getting, they drop out. What this generation and the generations after need to keep in mind is that love is more than just about reaching your personal goals. It is to know the other person deeply and to do life together with them.
We love because, deep in our hearts, we know we are made to take care or serve someone or something that is bigger than ourselves.
Love itself is big. That’s why each and every one of us see many different sides of it.
What does love mean, to you?
Happy Valentine’s Day!