Love is a universal feeling and emotion that affects all people in one way or another. It is the reason that you forgive a partner that drives you crazy, spend your whole paycheck on a new dress for your significant other or work on a creative project that you know no one else will ever see. It is also why you want your team to win, your child to get better grades or your partner to be happy. Love can also be found in the relationships with your parents, siblings or friends. Even our pets are loved and cared for like family members. It is the one thing that can bring you to tears, make you laugh and cause all your emotions to run wild.
Because of its complexity, love has been debated about for centuries. Many people argue that it is a choice, a state of being or a force. Others argue that it is a mixture of different feelings or characteristics, such as affection, admiration, respect, devotion and gratitude. Others believe that there are different types of love, including eros and agape.
Whether you are writing an essay on how to recognize and define love or simply discussing the idea, it is important to choose a unique angle that will draw your audience in. For example, discussing how a particular relationship has shaped your views on the topic is an effective approach. You can also discuss the many ways that love is experienced, such as being smitten, crushing, awed or a soul mate.
While most people are familiar with the concept of love, it may not be clear exactly what it means to love someone. Often, this question is asked in the context of romantic love between opposite sexes, but it can be applied to other relationships, such as those between family members and spouses, or between coworkers. It can even be viewed as a general emotional response to other human beings and nonhuman animals (see for example Bowlby, 1978).
Psychologists have only recently begun studying love as a distinct phenomenon. Nevertheless, they have made some progress in classifying different kinds of love and distinguishing it from other personal attitudes. For instance, it is argued that love involves a distinctive kind of evaluation and is not just a combination of other emotions such as admiration, affection and concern (see Helm, 2009, 2010).
In addition, it is often claimed that the intuitive “depth” of love can be understood in terms of this distinctive evaluation. This claim, however, raises questions about what exactly is being evaluated and how this explains the intuitive nature of love (see for example Sabini & Silver, 2005).
A number of researchers have tried to answer these questions by presenting different accounts of love. Some have argued that love is intimate identification, while others have emphasized the importance of values and commitments. Still, most of these accounts are characterized by the fact that they tend to be reductionistic and do not show how one aspect of love relates conceptually to other aspects.