Define Love

“How on earth are you ever going to explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love?”
— Albert Einstein
Love is difficult to define. How do you avoid confusing it with infatuation or lust? Philosophers and psychologists both have attempted to define love, or at least its difference from infatuation and lust. If you are looking to find love, the following observations may be helpful. Love is much more than a risk, but is a risk that one can take and grasp and fall into a dark abyss or dig oneself a hole and only crawl back when you overcome your emotions.

How can one truly define what love is? Not even an experienced person can truly grasp or explain love to its truest and deepest meaning. Its concepts are just a never ending story of an open book of experiences. But love does lie in one's heart, where memories are but shadows lingering in your soul.

Love is giving someone the power to break your heart, but trusting them not to.


  1. Define love by thinking of what it means to you. If you want, be bold and write down the feelings and thoughts you have about love. The dictionary defines love in several ways in which we use the word. For example, love is:
    • A strong positive emotion of; affection or pleasure; e.g, "His joy for her affection for him"
    • Any object of warm affection or devotion or liking: "The theater was her first love". "I love French food".
    • Beloved: a beloved person; used as a term of endearment.
    • A deep feeling of sexual desire and attraction; e.g., "She was his first love" or "She loves her husband."
    • A score of zero in tennis or squash: "It was 40-love!"
    • Sexual love: sexual intercourse between two people. e.g. "They made love." "He hadn't had any love in months".
  2. Look at how the ancient Greeks broke down love into four categories. Think of which category of love you feel for the people you are close to.
    1. Agape is unconditional love. It is love by "choice" even if you are not pleased. A good example is "God loves us with our faults".
    2. Philia is charity or brotherly love, guided by our likes or our healthy or unhealthy needs and desires. This is why Philadelphia is called the "City of Brotherly Love".
    3. Storge is the word for family love and the physical show of "affection", the need for physical touch. Sometimes it's the love between exceptional friends (the movie Grumpy Old Men for example).
    4. Eros is the physical "sexual" desire, intercourse. It is the root word of erotic, and eroticism.
  3. Be aware of moments when you feel love towards anyone or anything.
  4. Think of the reasons why you love this person. Is it truly love you feel or just a connection that can easily be dissolved? If there is something to gain, you might be drawn to that, and your desire for that is confused with love.
  5. Think about whether you'd feel the same way if the other person's looks were to change. Is it just attraction?
  6. Capture your feelings in metaphor, poetry or song. "Love is like..."
  7. Define love like a psychologist: Break love into three components.
    1. Passion underlies physical desire, sexual behavior, and arousal. This is the physical side.
    2. Intimacy is the emotional aspect: closeness, connectedness, and warmth of friendship.
    3. Commitment is the conscious decision to stick together for the long haul: are you willing to take that step?
  8. Ask yourself if love is forever. No matter how much time passes by, or what obstacles become present in the path of true and pure love, love will endure. This may be far from reality, but many find it a comforting fantasy.
    • Although this may be a much more joyous belief to have of love, there are also those situations where love does fail. This can be easily said to have been due to false love of mistaken identity between persons (if lovers are star crossed and are meant to find each other).
    • Love can cause war; in the cases of love of religion and the love of money; war can cause people to steal and murder, it can lead to suicide and shatter marriage and family life, it can spread disease and give birth to evil.
    • Also in some philosophical terms nothing lasts forever, not love either. Nothing has ever lasted forever since the dawn of time, nor shall anyone ever know if anything will. This is a paradox since we pledge love for eternity, although eternity cannot by definition have a conclusion. Also if the human mind were somehow able to last eons, human nature dictates that anger, boredom, and/or irritation will end any relationship given enough time.


  • Unconditional love does not mean only caring for the other person. It means balancing your own happiness with theirs in a way that makes both of your lives better.
  • For inspiration, read Elizabeth Barrett Browning 's famous poem, "How Do I Love Thee?" and consider this Shakespeare quotation: "Love is not love/Which alters when it alteration finds" (Sonnet 116)
  • Love is being aware of its existence and design, a biological potion that has been brewed to potency over our species' evolution, understanding its function, but allowing one's self the permission to seek out more significance and hope for more from it in a way that can change us physically and mentally.
  • If some aspect of your beloved's behavior hurts or irritates you, have the courage to tell them and give them the opportunity to change before your love for them is destroyed.
  • Love is a selfless, spiritual devotion to all life, including mankind, and the earth itself.
  • Love is the very essence of the meaning for our existence.


  • People are capable of falling in and out of love so if your "true love" turns out to be abusive or makes you cry more than smile, end it and find a healthy person to love.

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