Love is a complex, sometimes confusing feeling that means something different to every person who experiences it. Some people consider it to be a sacred bond, while others treat it as nothing more than a fleeting emotion. Whether you’re in love with someone or just looking for the right time to say those three small words, some key clues can offer insight into not only when you might be ready to confess your feelings, but also how they may react.
In Western culture, the word love is used to describe a variety of strong emotions, actions, and beliefs, including affection, protectiveness, and respect for another person. It’s often used to refer to romantic relationships, but can also be applied to non-romantic relationships, friends, and even religious beliefs. It’s considered to be a complex emotion, influenced by multiple factors, including genetics, personality, and life experiences.
For Christians, the concept of love is rooted in God’s love for his creations. Jesus Christ himself taught that we must love our neighbor as ourselves, and the Bible commands us to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” The Christian Church distinguishes between two types of love: agape (compassion and selfless giving) and philia (“deep friendship and loyalty”).
Some scholars believe that agape and philia are not equivalent, and instead that philia is more related to feelings of compassion and goodwill toward others, while agape is more about affection and desire for closeness with another person. In addition, some scholars suggest that a person can only feel true agape when they’re in a spiritual relationship with God.
Aside from a spiritual bond, agape and philia are both based on mutual respect and affection, and both can be felt for non-human animals, for people who share the same political or religious beliefs, and even for things like freedom and health. Some people argue that a person must be in a certain state of mind to feel these emotions, but there’s no clear evidence that the brain has a set of receptors that respond to these feelings.
Researchers have found that a number of common activities can make a person happier, such as drinking a glass of wine, watching a comedy, eating chocolate, and holding hands with someone. However, some of the most profound happiness-boosting activities are surprisingly simple: waking up on a sunny day, watching a cute animal video, and listening to a song that reminds you of someone special. These are all ways to show your love to the ones you care about! But no matter how you choose to express it, always remember that true love is a choice. Love is a beautiful thing, and it’s worth fighting for.