Is Love Losing its Meaning?

What is love?

This is a heavily debated topic. People often try to define love in terms of feelings of euphoria in relationships, however I think many of us tend to use the word “love” so loosely that it’s almost become too abstract to have any specific meaning or definition. We can say we “love” anything, but what does that love really mean to us? What are the emotions and qualities that define feeling “love”? Understanding our personal definition of love is important in finding romance and relationships. We know we want “love”, and we know it when we feel it, but understanding what that love means to us will help us have an idea of what it is we’re looking for.

In an attempt to bring some light-heartedness to a sometimes intense blog (check the homepage for other posts), I’d like to share a some possible definitions of love:

1. I LOVE chocolate.

This is the food or “taste buds love”. When I am eating something that tastes overwhelmingly good, I feel a physical and emotional satisfaction and that keeps me fully present.This could be love of a sort, but chocolate won’t text to say it misses you during the day.

2. I LOVE this song!

This is the auditory love. These sounds and melodies bring us emotionally back to significant memories in our lives. They’re sort of like bookmarks to open an emotion link to a place in the past. Music can also be emotional in the present and help release emotions. Music is great and can be very moving, but I don’t really want to talk about my day to my ipod.

3. I LOVE your shirt!

This is the visual love. We see something that resonates with us and we respect it and enjoy it — somewhat like a painting or a nice view. We may become emotionally moved by something we see. I certainly enjoy a beautiful view, but it won’t come with me to the movies.

4. I LOVE my new phone! 

This is the world’s newest love — All-in-one cyber love. This is the feeling of comfort, excitement, and convenience when we can be connected to our friends, email, facebook, games, music, etc., all in one little electronic object that fits in our pockets. The immediate access the phone gives us that makes us feel good. Although I love my phone, when I need a hug the phone can only do so much.

5. I LOVE the smell of chocolate chip cookies.

This is the love of (good) smell — to also include things like perfume, cologne, pizza, Subway’s bread, etc. When the source is a food (like cookies) this can be linked with taste, since our senses of taste and smell are attached. With food the scent brings an anticipation of everything in #1 above. Things like food, or incense, perfumes, essential oils, etc., also can be comforting and relaxing, and may also be an emotional bookmark to the past. The feeling of comfort is significant with love, however I can’t have a meaningful conversation with the smell of cookies.

6. I LOVE [insert sports team here].

This is vicarious love — also includes tv shows and anything else that involves a bit of fantasy, or living vicariously. These bring us entertainment, but we also develop attachments and a “rooting” factor. We begin to identify with players or characters or the storylines or competition, and it attracts us with great anticipation and excitement of what’s going to happen next. There’s often a part of us that wants to be in the shoes of the people we’re watching, living in the roles they play and having an impact on the outcome. Sports and tv are wonderful entertainment, however it’s hard to imagine making love with a tv.

7. I LOVE my mother.

Family love — the care, comfort, bond, and other emotions that we feel with family members. It’s a different form of attachment from love with a significant other, even though there are many similar properties as well. Family members and significant others may care for us when sick, but most likely we won’t be sharing any romantic dinners with our mothers.

8. I LOVE YOU!

This is the love we search for in a partner — relationship love. This love is often sensationlized in movies and in real life, but the attachments are strong and real. There is a pretty deep psychology to what this love actually is (and, as always, debatable). But either way, this is the love where we feel we’ve found a partner we want to share our lives with, and we go the extra mile to make the other feel special and cared for, while we hope to receive mutual caring and sharing.

Write a few more of your own if you wish. But I’ll stop my list here even though there are several other definitions we could find for love. My goal with the examples above isn’t to save the word “love” only for situations involving romantic love, but the hope is that we’ll become more attuned to ourselves and gain a deeper understanding of what it is that draws us to something, or someone.

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