What Does Love Really Mean?


We’ve all fallen in love — with our first teddy bear or truck, with a celebrity crush, with our best friend who never judges you, and of course with our significant other. While a lot of people think that love is only about romantic relationships, true, wholehearted love is so much more than that. It’s about trusting that the person you love has your best interest at heart (even when they make mistakes) and that they want to be there for you, just as you do for them.

Psychologists and researchers have spent decades trying to understand what exactly makes your heart go pitter-patter and why you fall in love. However, the truth is that it’s impossible to define in one way or another because it varies from person to person and relationship to relationship.

In general, when you are attracted to someone, it’s because of a jumble of chemicals in the brain that make your cheeks flush and your palms sweaty. These include dopamine, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. Then when you begin to feel attached and close, your brain releases oxytocin (a hormone that promotes bonding).

But even within these basic parameters, there is still disagreement about what love actually means. Some experts argue that it’s not an emotion in the sense that we typically understand it, and instead is a physiological drive similar to hunger, thirst, sleep, and sex. Others disagree, claiming that it’s a complex combination of both altruistic and narcissistic emotions.