What is Love?

Knowledge is power, and having the right knowledge of love can really make a difference in our life and in our relationships. Seeing love as a language can help us to understand love in a practical way. Love isn’t five or seven languages; it is one language; and it would be a very good thing to become very familiar with this language, if we wish to speak it well. The language of love consists of many love words. Commitment is a love word. Honesty is a love word. Respect is a love word. Sacrifice is a love word. Action is a love word—and so on and so on. Love speaks to the heart in beautiful and profound ways. The heart was made to understand the beautiful language of love—its words, expressions and inner movements. All languages come with their rich vocabulary, certainly with more than five or seven words or expressions. We cannot limit the meaning of love and we cannot be lazy when it comes to love. We should not be mediocre or take shortcuts either—not when speaking the beautiful language of love. Language has to be studied and practiced in order to be mastered. In addition to learning the vocabulary and expressions of a language, there are principles (rules of the language) that one must also learn. Finally, one will need to spend hours practicing a language until he or she is able to speak it fluently. It is no different with the language of love. If we wish to love someone with a total and authentic love, we will need to become familiar with the many rich aspects and expressions pertaining to real love. This will require time, study, reflection and much practice. Once we learn the beautiful language of love, we will need to speak it with our actions, our desire, our mind, our body, our will and our virtue.

What Psychology Says About Love

The theme of popular movies, soap operas, songs and poetry, love is certainly a subject that captures the heart of many. There are many ideas about love to be sure but the most popular view of love is perpetuated by pop psychology. Pop psychology has reduced love to merely a chemical reaction in the brain. Pop psychologists are very big on emotion and tend to view romance (sexual or emotional attraction) as synonymous with love. “Love is an emotion” they’ve proclaimed for many years. The average person does not know that in psychology there are many theories about love. "Love is an emotion" is merely one theory of many. This theory has become very popular in our world today, but this hasn't always been the case historically.

Many psychologists will admit that love is very hard to define. As stated previously Psychology offers many theories about love. Let’s take a look at some of the not so popular perspectives on love:

Dr. David Hawkins, a psychiatrist, physician, researcher, and pioneer in the fields of consciousness research and spirituality says:

Love is misunderstood to be an emotion; actually, it is a state of awareness, a way of being in the world, a way of seeing oneself and others. 

Erich Fromm, a social psychologist and author of The Art of Loving challenged popular views about love for many years. He wrote:

Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go. How can I judge that it will stay forever, when my act does not involve judgment and decision?       

Marci Shimoff, a #1 New York Times bestselling author (author of Love for No Reason) confirms a truth about love that I’ve been sharing with others for many years. She says in her love book:

Until recently, most of the research on love focused exclusively on relationships or the biochemistry of romantic love. But we’re living in an exciting time as the study of unconditional love–expressed as compassion, forgiveness, empathy, altruism, and so on—gains steam in the scientific community.
Leo Buscaglia, author of Love: What Life is All About, believed that love could be learned. He was known for sharing insights about love such as:

Only when we give joyfully, without hesitation or thought of gain, can we truly know what love means.

So what can psychology teach us about love? That love is more than an emotion, that emotion is a beautiful part of love but it is not the whole thing. Love has many aspects and love has many beautiful emotions, not just one.

 © 2012-2018 John Estrellas
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