The Definition of Love

Love is a complex mix of feelings, behaviors and beliefs. It can be applied to people, non-human animals, principles or religious beliefs. Love can break boundaries, and it has the power to change our world. It is a topic that has fascinated philosophers, poets and ordinary people for generations. But a definition of love is elusive and often debated. It may also be defined as an intense feeling of affection.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, love is a strong feeling of deep affection or liking for someone. It includes feelings of attachment, passion and sexual desire. Those who have been in long-term relationships often report that they love their partner as much as they love themselves. Some researchers suggest that there are two kinds of love: passionate love, which is rooted in sexual attraction, and attachment, which is present in bonded pairs such as mothers and children and develops over time. Others believe that true, wholehearted love is a beautiful fusion of these two kinds of love.

While it is a powerful feeling, love can also be complicated and overwhelming. It can cause you to make poor choices, act selfishly or neglect your responsibilities. It can even lead to depression and anxiety. This is why it is important to focus on self-care, and to seek support from friends and family.

It is also important to recognize that not everyone will fall in love with you, and that it is perfectly normal to feel ambivalent at times. It is also important to be honest with yourself about what you want in a relationship, and to be willing to walk away if it’s not right for you.

Some scientists believe that love is a survival instinct, and that it helps us to bond with those who are most like us. This is especially true for romantic love, which involves intense emotions such as infatuation and obsession. Neurophysiological studies show that the areas of the brain associated with drive and craving are activated when we think about our loved ones. In addition, our hormone levels increase and we become more focused on the person.

In addition to romantic love, we also often express love for those who help us feel safe and secure. This can include parents, siblings and close friends. Other forms of love are the love we have for our country or our hobbies. Many people are also drawn to the intellectual qualities of those they love, and can be smitten with the way that a person thinks or the ways that they problem solve.

The most important thing to remember is that love is a choice and that it takes time to develop. Even though there will be days or weeks — or longer — when you don’t feel all mushy-gushy in love, it’s worth hanging in there, because these are just temporary moments. In time, you will find that your relationship is more than you ever imagined.