What Does Love Actually Mean?


The word “love” is one of the most powerful words in our vocabulary. It has the power to transform people, relationships and our world. It’s a complex emotion with endless interpretations that fascinate poets, philosophers and ordinary individuals alike. Yet, what does love actually mean?

The dictionary definition of love is an intense feeling of affection and care for another person or thing. It’s also a commitment to someone or something, and the willingness to put their needs above your own. In other words, it’s a combination of feelings and behaviors that may be soft and sentimental, but that can also be difficult or even painful.

When you’re falling in love, the hormones dopamine (pleasure), adrenaline and norepinephrine are released in your brain. They make your cheeks flush and your palms sweat as your heart rate speeds up. Then, at the beginning of long-term attachment, these chemicals are replaced by oxytocin and vasopressin, which create feelings of closeness and security. That’s when you feel a yearning for your partner, and their quirks become endearing.

While these are the classic elements of romance and the defining characteristics of romantic love, there are many other types of love. Family love is a common example, as is the love for pets. Sometimes, these forms of love can be difficult or even painful, such as when you love someone who has destructive behavior patterns that you know will hurt you. But, in the end, your love for them might keep you committed to trying to help them break their negative patterns and become a healthier person.