I copied this post directly from Hubpages. It may not have gotten the most views or the greatest response, but I consider it to have been one of my best hubs. So, here it is again.
Ah! Love? Could I have selected a more clichéd, over-done, seemingly overrated topic?! Perhaps not, but here it is nevertheless. This is for those of you who simply love to over-think things. I am like that too. I am told love is illogical. It can make no sense. Some go even further to say that it doesn’t even exist. I beg to differ. Anything that can be seen, felt and recognised does exist. If we are unable to make sense of it scientifically, it only means that we currently lack the technological means.
Pardon the puns. I just love doing that.
Defining Love: What is Love?
For the geeks out there, Oxford dictionary gives me the following: a feeling of deep affection; enjoyment; somebody or something which you like very much; and a friendly name or way of addressing someone. Additionally, Microsoft Word gives me the following synonyms or alternatives: to adore, to find irresistible, to worship, to care for, or to be keen on.
I disagree with most of these, besides that the word can be used to refer to another thing or person, or it can be a pet name. Love is not a feeling! Yes, you can feel love and it can be sparked by a feeling (affection or liking), but love in itself is not merely a feeling. The description that I find to be the most correct is: Love is to find something or someone irresistible.
So, here is my definition:
Love is no matter what.
Types of Love in Relationships
Here are the types of love that you will hear about the most often.
Firstly, there is self-love. This is closely tied to your self-esteem, confidence and feelings of self-worth. This is the most popular love as we are constantly fed with information about how we can make ourselves better. That is, the clothes that will make us look better, the type of education that will give us a better job and future, and various other products to help us become “better”.
Next is boy-girl, husband-to-wife or the love between partners. In this type of relationship, the parties either want to or at some stage wanted to have sex, or they are either having sex or have had sex; with each other of course. This is the type of love most people speak about because sex sells. Okay. There is a deeper reason why this is the second most popular type of love. I’ll get to that below.
Parental and filial love: This is parent-to-child love and vice versa.
Sibling love: The love between brothers and sisters.
Friendship: The love you have for those odd people that bounce into your life with a few jokes and stick around for crying sessions. Those that call themselves “good friends” refuse to leave. The nerve!
Love for your community and environment: This includes the people and beings that are linked to you geographically.
Altruism: This can be described as a love for humanity or kindness in giving to others who you appear not to be closely connected to.
Levels of Love and Relationships
Degrees of love in relationships:
Self → Parental and Filial → Siblings → Friendship → Partners → Community and environment → Altruism
The degrees of love above are ordered from the easiest to the most difficult relationship to maintain, as well as from the strongest to the weakest bond.
Of the types of love mentioned above, self-love represents the innermost core. A lack in self-love makes it difficult to truly maintain any other type of love. We develop this love as we go along. The simplest way to put it is that we are stuck with ourselves no matter what. Therefore, a complete lack of self-love would result in suicide.
Secondly, we are generally stuck with our parents and them with us no matter what. A mother and her child are often described to share the strongest type of bond.
Thirdly, we are bound to brothers and sisters through our parents. These people stick with us through the best and worst of times and usually know us the best.
Friendship can be as strong as sibling love. The only difference is that it is easier to let go of a friend whom you have no official or blood ties to other than common interests and experiences. Hence, this bond is more difficult to maintain and easier to break.
Agape (boy-girl love) or partnerships have the potential to be the strongest tie between any two people because of being the most difficult to maintain. Note that I say, maintain and not attain. It is easy to find a partner or somebody to love but love is hard work. The harder we work on something, the stronger it becomes and the least likely we are to let go of it. Think about it. Two people getting together by some sort of chance or circumstance and sticking together no matter what? That is hard work and commitment, whereas family relationships go without saying.
Community and environmental love comes next because if you have money, you can buy freedom of movement. This can be demonstrated in the fact that most people will flee when things go wrong in their homeland rather than stick around to fix things. Also, how many of us actively contribute to our communities? This love is unconditional because we will always love our homes, however will we always be willing to maintain the relationship to our community?
Altruism is the most difficult type of love relationship to maintain. People claim to care about others but this type of caring relationship can be easily neglected since there is no apparent tie between us and complete strangers. An example of someone exhibiting this type of deep love for others is Mother Theresa. Very few people can attain this level.
More on Love
Love is unconditional. It exists no matter what. Like gravity, it is a constant. Regardless of whether you believe it, recognise it or understand it; it will still be there.
Love is a natural and free-flowing energy. It cannot be created nor destroyed. That is why it is very evident when it is transferred.
Nothing we have created (materially) is love. It is merely created either for or out of love. Hence, love is not a feeling. It is a tangible action that results from a feeling. That is how you recognise it. Love is creativity. Mutual creativity in love and relationships creates happiness. Without creativity, love is stagnant and limited by other factors.
There is no true love versus only love. Unrequited love is also love. It does not depend on the condition of the love being supposedly returned. Likewise, although love may depend on other factors such as trust for its sustenance and maintenance, they are not conditions needed for love to exist. You may no longer trust someone, nor have them in your life any longer, but that does not mean that the love is depleted.
The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. And there can be no fear where there is love.
Complete love is having an energy that resonates with everything around you.
Love is all of us! It means that NO MATTER WHAT we are stuck on this blue planet together, come what may! That is the most outer circle of love and it gets deeper and deeper and deeper from there.
Love is in each of us and love is far greater than any one of us but it is all of us put together.
Verses on Love
Love is when you make a mistake and you work and work and you try again and again and again until you get it right.
Love is staying awake at night trying to find the solution to somebody else’s problem.
Love is wearing a bag of potatoes and looking at someone you’ve just helped dress and being happy for them in thinking that they look so beautiful right now.
Love is losing every memoir, souvenir, photo and reminder and still never failing to find that person within you.
Love is calling someone to find out if they’re okay, when you’re not okay, and failing to notice that they don’t care whether you’re okay or not.
Love is having someone curse you, steal from you, abuse you and continue to take advantage of and belittle you and yet, each time you forgive them.
Love is when you feel the most alone and you start thinking about giving up, then you get a funny sms from your friend that makes you laugh and keeps you going.
Love is wanting to run away so badly that you can barely contain being where you are any longer. You plan it out and you’re ready, then you look into the eyes of someone you love. The thought of how much they would hurt keeps you around.
Love is holding on to the hope that maybe, just maybe, one day things will get better and people will change.
Love is knowing that you’re good enough right now but also working so that you’ll be better tomorrow.
Love is having no contact with someone for years and catching up from where you left off.
Love is forgiveness without any apologies.
Love is giving without recognition.
Love is when you’ve had the most horrible day, you’re in deep physical and emotional pain and you stagger on in anger. Then you see a small child smile as she licks her ice-cream and you think... Life is beautiful.
Figure it Out for Yourself!
I’ve written much about what love is or what it may be, but you might as well disregard everything here. Unless something specific resonates with you, any information is useless. I say this because I think the statement below is the most true of love as we know it.
I don’t claim to be an expert on love. This article was written based on my knowledge, observations of society and personal opinions. If you disagree with anything here or would like to challenge it, please let me know. Love is learning together in order to find truth.