This guest article from Psych Central was written by Nathan Feiles
What is love?
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This is a heavily debated topic. People often try to define love in terms of romantic euphoria; however, the word “love” generally is used so loosely that its meaning can become diluted. The truth is, “love” often is used to describe other emotions or strong feelings. Using the word “love” just saves us the trouble of having to figure out what we’re actually feeling. We can say we “love” anything, but what does love really mean to us?
Let’s take a look at the various ways that we label “love.”
1. I LOVE chocolate.
This is “food tastes yummy” love. When we eat something that tastes overwhelmingly good, we get a physical and emotional satisfaction and that keeps us present as we eat.
Food could be love of a sort, but chocolate won’t text to say it misses me during the day.
2. I LOVE this song.
This is auditory love. These sounds and melodies bring us back emotionally to significant memories in our lives. Music is sort of like a bookmark that opens an emotional portal to our past. Music can also be emotional in the present and help us feel or release emotions.
Though music can be very moving, I don’t really want to talk about my day to my iPod.
3. I LOVE your shirt.
This is visual love. We see something that resonates with us and we relate to it and enjoy it — somewhat like a painting or a nice view. We may become emotionally moved by something we see.
I certainly enjoy a beautiful view, but I can’t bring it with me to the movies.
4. I LOVE my new iPhone.
This is the world’s newest love — “techno-love.” This is the feeling of comfort, excitement, and convenience when we can be connected to our friends, email, Facebook, games, music, etc., all in one little electronic object that fits in our pockets. We sometimes develop attachments to these gadgets because of what they give to us.
I enjoy my phone, too, but when I need a hug the phone can only do so much.
5. I LOVE the smell of chocolate chip cookies.
This is the olfactory love (or love of scents). It also includes things such as perfume, cologne, pizza, freshly baked bread, etc. Our senses of taste and smell are attached. Scents can be comforting and relaxing, and may also be an emotional portal to the past.
While I love the smell of cookies, I can’t have a meaningful conversation with the smell of cookies.
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6. I LOVE (insert sports team here).
This is vicarious love. It also includes TV shows and anything else that involves a bit of fantasy. These bring us entertainment, but we also develop attachments and a “rooting” factor. We begin to identify with players or characters or the storylines or competition, and it attracts us with great anticipation and excitement over what’s going to happen next. There’s often a part of us that wants to be in the shoes of the people we’re watching, living in the roles they play and having an impact on the outcome.