How do you define love?

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Davyc

I am who I am
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I've just posted this topic over on my own site and thought it would be interesting to see what you all think and believe about love.

In your own mind how do you define love?
How does it fit in with your life and vision?
How would you describe it to someone else?
What form or forms do you believe it takes?
How lasting do you believe it is, or can be?
Why does it fade from some people's hearts?
Why are some people's hearts devoid of love?

I'd be interested in your answers to any, or all, of the above questions. Let's see how we offer similar or different answers. I'll hold off with my own so as not to influence or sway your own answers.
 

BetteTheRed

Resident Heretic
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In your own mind how do you define love?

Love is not an emotion, but action which is intended to advance the well-being of the beloved.

How does it fit in with your life and vision?

I think it is the civilizing force in the world. To displace oneself from the throne and to put (an)other(s) there in its place.

How would you describe it to someone else?

Probably, the way I defined it above.

What form or forms do you believe it takes?

Every kind act or word is an offering of love, so it takes an infinite number of forms.

How lasting do you believe it is, or can be?

The lastingness of infatuation lasts some five to twelve years, in my experience. Over those years, it can deepen into a more permanent relationship that can last fifty, sixty, seventy years.

Why does it fade from some people's hearts?

Because they don't deliberately cultivate it.

Why are some people's hearts devoid of love?

I doubt that anyone's heart is totally "devoid of love", although psychopathy might be the exception. I prefer to think that some people have it buried very deeply.
 

Davyc

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Great answers - keep them coming and let's see if there is any correlation taking place.
 

Mendalla

All I wish is to dream again
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I think of love in terms of connection. It's a deep connection between beings that invites caring and sharing. And unlike Bette, I do think emotion is a big part of it, and biologically it is almost certainly part of that system. As we were discussing about faith in God in another thread, I don't think you can reason yourself to love, you have to feel it. Reason helps us understand love and apply it in our lives but love itself is emotionally driven.

When people start talking about the types of love (eg. Lewis' The Four Loves), what it really being talked about is different types of connection, different ways that deep connection can be forged. English, in its awkward way, uses one word for all of them. Family (not necessarily biological, indeed biological families are often more dysfunctional than families of choice), erotic/romantic, friendship, and the "agape" broader sense of being connected to the world at large and "God."

How lasting do you believe it is, or can be?
Why does it fade from some people's hearts?
Why are some people's hearts devoid of love?
I think most things are finite, and love is included, at least the intense, passionate kind of love. However, the lasting affection and caring can remain unless some circumstance, such as abuse or conflict, has really broken things. And I think that's an important thing. Love needs reciprocity to survive. Being unloved makes it harder to love (another reason I connect love with the emotional part of the brain). That is also why the broad "agape" type of love is so hard. We don't necessarily feel the love coming back like we do in the other connections, that are more personal and one-to-one. Believers in a personal Deity may feel something coming back but even there, I have known people who lost their faith precisely because they did not feel the love they offered coming back and started to think there may be no one there to offer it.

As to why some people's hearts are devoid of love? As Bette says, aside from those with actual mental health issues, that's hard to say. Being unloved and told that one is unlovable is probably one thing that could drive someone down that road, though. If love needs reciprocity to survive, then not receiving any kind of love, not having love modeled by others in one's life, is also going to make it difficult to express love. Which, again, probably gets into mental health territory.

Initial thoughts. It is a complex subject and I don't necessarily have hard answers for all the questions asked. Threads like this are as much about learning as expressing for me.
 

unsafe

Well-Known Member
Davyc ----you ask ---in your own mind how do you define love?

Well there are different kinds of Love so it depends on which Love you speak of ----

There is Human love which is very demanding and an off and on kind of Love -----which is why there are so many divorces ----it is a love that relies on our feelings and emotions --it is a roller coaster kind of love --that eventually can ware a person down and cause the person to cave in and quite ----

There is Family Love ---which is a love that is in place because of the shared Blood that runs through a family ----this love can also be on and off -----Many families are torn apart because of pride ---greed and an unwillingness to give in ---

There is Romantic Love ---which is a love based on an attraction sexually to another ----and this love can be very hurtful and damaging as this love can cause adultery and Lustful Feelings which can lead to unwanted advancements toward another ----

There is a Friendship Love ---- this love can be bonding and can be strong at times or it can be wavering at times ----this love is based on trust and confidentiality between friends and when on breaks either of these 2 things ---this love can waver and be lost as well as hurtful

Then there is the highest form of Love ---Agape ----this is God's love ----this Love is given by and through us having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit ----this Love is a Fruit of the Spirit ---this Love is unconditional and is constant and never fails ---this love loves the unlovely --this Love is Stable and Secure ---this love says no matter what you say to me or how you treat me I will still love you -----

God is the perfect example of Agape ---people accuse God ---people mock God ---people blame God ----disrespect God but God Loves all His Creation with all their baggage --His love remains stable and secure ----there is nothing we can do to loose God's Love for us -----
 

unsafe

Well-Known Member
Davyc -----you ask ------Why does it fade from some people's hearts?

My view
Love has nothing to do with one's heart ----the heart is a organ that pumps blood through our system ---
Love I think comes from our feelings or emotions ---which makes our brain release endorphins and hormones in our systems and when we come down from feeling these warm fuzzy feelings and excitement and infatuation ---this love has to fade into the sunset as it has nothing left to sustain it ----

This Love
True Love ---Agape refers to a pure --willfull sacrificial love --it is a committed love ---that never fades --it remains

This comes from Harvard Med School ---read all --I just posted this part

When we are falling in love, chemicals associated with the reward circuit flood our brain, producing a variety of physical and emotional responses—racing hearts, sweaty palms, flushed cheeks, feelings of passion and anxiety.
 

Mystic

Well-Known Member
Christian Love ("agape") is a permanent mood (as opposed to an emotion or contrived lifestyle) to will the highest good for the other without requiring anything in return. it is a "fruit of the Holy Spirit" rather than the result of human striving to feel or perform a certain way. It comes as a grace bestowed through disciplined prayer and meditation.
 

Davyc

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I believe some of my questions were broad sweeping and allowed for a lot of ground to be covered and it has proved to be interesting to view your beliefs.

I can only speak from my own experiences and I believe that 'love' is the tool that our Creator uses to infuse us with a sense of unity. Call it a force that elicits actions that are meant to be to the benefit of all, from those who express love to those who receive it. It comes in one form only, everything else that we assume is based on familiarity, need, desire, want, chemistry and genetics; when we lose someone we say we love (and there is nothing wrong about using the word love) we lose all that familiarity we have become accustomed to, our needs, wants and desires take a beating. The chemistry and genetics are geared towards releasing the good emotions we feel when physical contact is generated, with one purpose in mind - cold, hard faceted procreation.

I concur that everyone has the capacity to express love, but some (many even) don't know how, and if you don't know how to do something then it shows, often in dramatic and tragic circumstances. The issue of an absence of love is a broad and sweeping issue that has many facets and layers. To give love it's important to understand what it is, why it is and its purpose; if there is no understanding then it would appear to be evident that those who fall within that group would not know how to express love.

When I asked why it fades from some people's hearts, I meant the heart metaphorically not emphatically lol. Human emotions are many faceted and the sense of love can be included in those facets, indeed it is possibly the most integral part of our Spirit that allows us to express compassion, kindness, empathy, understanding and so much more that we often fail to realise we have the capacity for. We often mistakenly confuse human biology and the desires it elicits with love. The emotions that come from meeting someone you want to share your time with can be mixed and often confuse us into believing in something that is not necessarily infinite. True love, the real essence of love and the power it exudes, is not transient - it is eternal; at least that is what I believe.

The next time you tell someone you 'love' them - ask yourself what you mean by that. Take a cold hard look at the reasoning behind such a simple and powerful statement.

This topic is one which I understand could roll past even our own lifetime and we would be no closer to the answers we seek, rather than the answers we are given or those that are impressed upon us by others.

Good journey to you all and thank you for your contributions - feel free to debate further, but consider where your views and standpoints originate from.
 

jimkenney12

Well-Known Member
Love has many edges.
The joy edge includes those forms of love that Bering us a feeling of joy. I love eating many foods because the pleasure that results creates a feeling of joy. So I love chocolate, cheezies, home made Ceasar salad, and several other foods.
I love beautiful sunsets and sunrises and bright rainbows against a sky of dark clouds, the Laurentians as they turn gold, orange, and deep shades of red.
I love soaking in a hot tub under a dark, starlit sky when my body had been achy and swimming in any warm water from tropical oceans to northern lakes or beaches on the Ottawa River in the summer. And many other activities that bring joy to my body and mind.

As Mendalla said, there is the love in connection. This can be with people or nature or the elements. I experience it when I am outside in a thunderstorm with lots of lightning and thunder and wind as I feel intensely connected to the elements. This includes filial love. I love reading books that connect me to people and places I have never been

There is love that includes both joy and connection like erotic love and the best of worship experiences.

There is love that provides a sense one's own capabilities and gifts, often with joy and/or connection added such as making beautiful music, creating beautiful art, and agape love giving for others just because we can and want to without need for a reward. My wife had a cousin who creates masterpieces out of found pieces of wood.

I could just say that love is a feeling or action that brings us some measure of joy, connection, or celebration of a capacity to give for the sake of giving.

Some is fleeting and some endures for a long time, sometimes beyond the life of the lover. One winter day while attending university about fifty years ago, I rode my bike across a field to the edge of a high bank overlooking the Bow River and the cement plant across the river, the mountains visible to the west. My shadow flowed all the way down the bank of the hill. As I surveyed the scene and watched the ripples in the water, I felt deeply connected to everything and understood as I never understood before creation. The river I was watching had flowed through that valley for at least 12,000 years. The water I saw was gone in minutes.

There are many examples of art and architecture and other human made or developed things that continue helping people experience love in the experience of joy hundreds to thousands of years after the creators have died. . Song of Joy is one example. McIntosh apples are another.

And I got a bit wordy again. Bonne semaine.
 
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Davyc

I am who I am
Pronouns
He/Him/His
Love has many edges.
The joy edge includes those forms of love that Bering us a feeling of joy. I love eating many foods because the pleasure that results creates a feeling of joy. So I love chocolate, cheezies, home made Ceasar salad, and several other foods.
I love beautiful sunsets and sunrises and bright rainbows against a sky of dark clouds, the Laurentians as they turn gold, orange, and deep shades of red.
I love soaking in a hot tub under a dark, starlit sky when my body had been achy and swimming in any warm water tropica
I often misuse the word 'love' for many things that I 'like' but love is a force that elicits actions that moves people towards the betterment of others. You can't truly love an inanimate thing because it doesn't know how to receive love or reciprocate love :)
 

jimkenney12

Well-Known Member
When it gives you joy, it has no need to reciprocate your love. It is an expression of the love of creation for you. I believe you asked us for our definitions of love, and I chose to define love this way.
 

Davyc

I am who I am
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He/Him/His
When it gives you joy, it has no need to reciprocate your love. It is an expression of the love of creation for you. I believe you asked us for our definitions of love, and I chose to define love this way.
Absolutely fine - what you choose to believe is your choice as you have 'free will' - I was simply pointing out that 'love' is often used as opposed to 'like' lol
 

Waterfall

Well-Known Member
I would say if one was needing the object of their affection to be able to return their affection than it's a condition that is dependent on another's actions. Of course this would create a world of seeing some humans as useless or dispensible. ( eg. Vegetative states, comatose persons, etc)
So I prefer to liken "love" to a teaching of Jesus....love as being a servant, or to serve. Not for fame or self glorification, but for the express purpose of serving others and being a steward to the world.
I dont even believe Jesus wanted us to glorify him, per se, but rather to honour and hold high this teaching.
This is love to me.
 

Davyc

I am who I am
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I would say if one was needing the object of their affection to be able to return their affection than it's a condition that is dependent on another's actions.
In this instance it would depend greatly on what the 'object' was - essentially something that is not alive cannot reciprocate love - so to group people into such an 'object' category would be inherently wrong. Same goes for all living things.

I dont even believe Jesus wanted us to glorify him, per se, but rather to honour and hold high this teaching.
This is something I agree with wholeheartedly. Jesus didn't want to be glorified, rather he wanted his message to be glorified, spread widely and appreciated by everyone, everywhere.

One of the first things I say every morning after giving my thanks to my Creator and my family in Spirit is, "How may I serve please!" as it is both a privilege and an honour to serve in any way that I possibly can. I believe that this honours the teachings of Jesus and I strive to uphold his teachings. I see myself as a giver, rather than a taker and it's thanks to Jesus that I am blessed to be able to serve.
 
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