As much as we may love our phones, cars and even our food, it’s not hard to believe that you could love someone so much that they make your heart go pitter-patter. It’s something that people have talked about for centuries and it’s a concept that scientists, sociologists and just about everyone else has tried to figure out. But it’s not an easy concept to pin down, because it has to mean different things for each person and for every situation and relationship.
Even when you read the definition of “love” in a dictionary, it can be difficult to see how such a broad and complex concept can be described in just a few words. Merriam-Webster defines it as a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties, but that can still leave a lot to the imagination.
For some, love is a feeling of deep satisfaction and happiness resulting from being with a close friend or family member. Others define it as a sense of attachment or loyalty based on mutual dependency and respect. And for some, it’s a feeling of empathy and compassion that can be a powerful force for good.
And yet for some, love can be a sexual emotion that involves passion and physical intimacy. Studies have shown that when people are in the throes of romantic love, they experience increased activity in brain regions associated with reward and pleasure. In fact, the same areas of the brain that light up when people are in the euphoric state of cocaine addiction are activated during romantic love.