What is love?

heart drawn on bench
Hopefully you’ve had a chance to experience love, but what is love anyways?

Not everyone has been so lucky as to experience love, but all of us may still wonder, what exactly is love?

Is love a feeling?

Is love a feeling, or is it something else? Most of us might have felt love or something like it at one point. Maybe as children, we remember the love of our parents or caretakers, or perhaps the feelings we had for our first crush.

While some of these experiences might have been purely emotional, they might have also consisted of acts like our parents tucking us into bed at night or helping us when we got hurt.

On the other hand, we might feel love for someone who we have a deep connection with. But in other cases, we might call or believe that feeling is lust rather than love.

Love can consist of a feeling, but that is never all it is.

At its core, our feelings of love always stem from something internal; you could say we feel it in our hearts or minds. But sometimes, our hearts can lie or misguide us.

Indeed we can connect with someone due to feelings, but often, there needs to be more than just emotions to maintain that sense of love.

Is love a choice?

I often tell my friends that you can’t change who you are attracted to, but you can control how you act. In reality, this is how we maintain our long-term relationships. You may have feelings for a co-worker, but your love for your partner means you will not act on those feelings.

Given this perspective, love is a choice, in the sense that while love might be a feeling at times, it is also a commitment to someone. And commitment requires consistent decisions.

For most of us, our parents loved us regardless of who we were; it wasn’t like they chose us; instead, we were what they got. That said, it was the same for us as kids; we loved our parents even if we didn’t choose them.

Our feelings don’t matter much, but how we act matters a lot.

Breaking this down a little, it isn’t so much what we feel or how we feel; instead, it is about what we do and how we show our feelings. If we believe we love someone, we treat them with respect, compassion and care.

Ultimately, we can feel different feelings for other people, but what matters, in the end, is how we treat those people. Do we show love, or do we show hate?

Or is love something else? Perhaps a skill?

Given that love stems from feelings but then translates into actions powered by choices, is that all there is to love?

I don’t think so; instead, I’d suggest that love is something more than a feeling or a choice. Love is a way of being; it is a way of living and is ultimately based on our views of the world and the people around us.

Some people have a lot of trouble with love because they were never taught it.

Indeed anyone can treat others with respect? Maybe not; many people never really learn how to love. Perhaps they grow up without seeing parents who love each other, or maybe they never have a chance to build lasting relationships.

It is difficult to repeat something you haven’t seen before, which means that people who haven’t learned to love will have trouble showing love.

Ultimately love is a skill we need to learn, and if we don’t see it as a child, it might require more effort as we age.

Love is a willingness to see us and our

While we have been talking about love generally, romantic love comes down to seeing things from “our” perspective rather than a “mine.”

Put another way, if we always see things from the view of what is best for ourselves, we will not be considerate of my partner’s needs. What is best for one person isn’t always best for someone else, especially not for a couple.

Love means looking at a situation and choosing what is best for everyone, not just us.

As a silly example, I love to go for long walks, but when I take my daughter along, I need to consider that she can’t keep up with me. As a result, we go for a walk that is best for both of us, not just for me.

Walks are only a tiny part of life, but for them and all other things in life, we need to be willing to look at what is best for our circle of loved ones.

Love is the ability to compromise without losing yourself.

We talked about how love was the ability to see us and ours vs me and mine. And while that is a critical lens or perspective, we mustn’t lose ourselves in that process.

Too often, people create an image of themselves for others, but that image isn’t true to who they are, so they have to pretend they are someone else for the rest of their lives.

Put another way, if we are always willing to compromise, then we may never get what we want, and so we need to have the strength to be true to ourselves while being considerate of others.

To love someone else, we must keep being true to ourselves.

While it is essential to work together with the people we love, we need to keep and maintain our truths and values. I need a well-paying job to support my family, but it is also vital that I keep up my hobbies because they keep me sane and help me maintain meaning and fulfillment.

When we love someone, we have to show that to them through our actions, we also need to play out the scripts of our previous experiences, but we also need to stay true to our values and what matters to us.

Love won’t solve all of our problems.

When I was a teenager, I used to think that if I had a girlfriend, she would solve all my problems. There was an emptiness in my life, and I felt that someone else would be able to fill it, but I was wrong.

The truth is that we need to become clear about who we are before we can love someone else. We need to know what we need from our lives before we can adapt to someone else’s needs.

Love is about compromise and seeing yourself as a part of a team, but you can’t play your role on a team until you have yourself figured out first.

Someone else isn’t going to solve your problems; that is up to you.

As long as you believe you need someone else to make you feel right, it will be easier for you to fall into the trap of false love or shallow attachment.

Our first job is to figure out ourselves; once we’ve done that, we can start putting some energy into figuring out other people.

Love helps us find meaning in what we are doing.

Sometimes we can’t find the meaning we are looking for in our jobs or the things we need to do.

Maybe the routine of caring for our kids or loved ones feels like it is just something we have to do, but the reality is that is where our meaning comes from.

There are different ways to show our love to the people who matter in our lives, but at the core, giving love is one of the most important things we do with our lives.

Being lucky enough to have found love is part of what gives your life meaning.

If you were to ask me who I am, I’d likely mention my wife and daughter because they are the people I love most. At the same time, they are the people who give my life the most meaning.

Sometimes we forget how important the mundane, boring things we are doing all the time. Certain aspects of taking care of our families might seem like nothing special, but they are the things that make us who we are.

Love is patience

If you have kids, you know how hard it is to get them to do things at times. My daughter is very talkative, but she sometimes speaks incorrectly, and I have to correct her. Sometimes it isn’t enjoyable for both of us, but we keep at it, and her language skills keep improving.

As we mentioned earlier, love is a choice but also a skill; for this reason, it sometimes requires doing the same things repeatedly, even when we don’t want to. But dedication and patience make the relationship possible in the first place.

Sometimes we do things we don’t enjoy because love knows the effort is worth it.

It is easy to say that you love someone, but it is a different thing to prove; that takes time and effort. It also takes doing the right things more than doing the wrong things.

At the same time, knowing that you love someone will give you the strength to keep pushing forward through the good and the bad, which requires patience.

Love isn’t just a feeling; it is so much more.

Hopefully, I’ve done a decent job of trying to explain what love is all about, but what do you think? Do you think love is only a feeling, or do you believe it is much more?

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Robert Carr

Over the years, I've learnt to see things in a different light. This website is my place to share those insights and give my unique perspective on living a meaningful life.

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