What is Love?

By Kiran Munir, Staff Writer


Shaping a heart with your hands can show someone that you care.Photo credit Wikimedia Commons

Shaping a heart with your hands can show someone that you care.
Photo credit Wikimedia Commons

Undoubtedly, love is the most powerful emotion felt by humans. Biologically, love is a powerful neurological condition like hunger or thirst, but the presence is more permanent. Often we discuss love as being unconditional and never ending; therefore, it is not surprising to know that love is just basic chemistry. Feeling love for someone triggers your brain to release an array of neurotransmitters (chemicals) including: pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, and vasopressin. Furthermore, from an evolutionary perspective, love can be defined as a survival tool to promote long-term relationships and provide safety.

The love we feel for various people in our lives certainly cannot be summed into one category. For example, there is a certain type of love between close friends and family members. This love includes a nonsexual intimacy between friends or family members, yet a strong sense of caring emotional ties. This type of love bonds families together as well as long term friends; this love is unconditional. That is, love never ceases to be present between two people even when both know each other’s faults.

The love that exists between two long-term married couples arises from more factors than just genuine concern and sexual passion. This type of love is the mature love that develops over a long period of time and involves actively practicing goodwill, commitment, compromise and understanding. If successful, this is the love that enables marriages to continue for several decades.

On the contrary, there is a strong physical attraction that may arise between two individual and is often mislabeled “love”; however, this type of sexual passion and desire is short-lived.

We can invite love but not dictate how, when, or where it will walk into our life. Love is bigger than we are as individuals but it serves to bond individuals together. You can choose to surrender to love or try to stay firm, but love strikes like lightening. Hence, you may find yourself loving people you do not particularly like.

Additionally, loyalty, companionship and attention can be bought; however, genuine love cannot be. It arrives by grace of its own will and timing. Love cannot be turned on as a reward or turned off as a punishment. The “good” feeling we get when we are with people we love arises from the release of neurotransmitters by the brain (mentioned above). And the pain and longing felt for the individual when we have not seen them for a long time arises from the missing/activation of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. This is why it is so hard to move on after a break up.

But love does care for each and every one of us, no matter how bad we are as a person. Love cares what becomes of us because we are all interconnected as humanity. Love is inherently compassionate and empathic. Love adds excitement and helps paint our otherwise dull and boring lives.

Love is a force of nature; our energies of trying to command, demand or make love disappear are futile. Much like the sun, love radiates without a disruption. Therefore, instead of barring yourself from love for the fear of being distracted or hurt, let the love shine down on you, and soak up the radiance.