Updated: Nov 13, 2020
Love is probably one of the most recognizable words in the English language but also, probably one of the hardest to define. The word itself will conjure images of pink or red hearts and descriptions of happiness in many whilst evoking pain and longing in others. We love everything from our close family, friends and intimate partners to our favourite sports team, salad dressing or song. Even the title of this blog post sounds like the title of a 1960’s love song. So what exactly are we dealing with here?
Firstly, I’m going to look past strictly dealing with romantic love and focus on love as something we possess and express. This would see us looking at love as a combination of three things – 1) an intense positive feeling 2) a keen interest and/or attraction and 3) a commitment towards what/who we love based on points 1 and 2. This would make sense in defining what we give and hope to receive in love as well as what may be missing or fractured if we do not express or feel love. We can also agree that giving and receiving love from others is an integral part of life and gives us comfort and allows us to provide comfort.
But as love can be directed towards almost anything, it stands to reason that it is an important part of well-being and like all the elements in AHRLEE, it can support and affect the other elements. We may associate ‘Love’ more with supporting ‘Relationships’ but neglect to see love is important for some relationships yet not for others. Our occupational or acquaintance relationships can thrive without love and if anything, thrive better without it. Also, if our love is all consuming in a way that it affects our functioning, this is going to have an adverse effect on our mental and physical ‘Health’.
But to a great extent, we should also consider the role love can play in driving us forward. This is shown by the way we make future plans with the ones we love and work towards achieving them. Consequently, this is also shown by people who are passionate about a pursuit such as art, occupation, sport, travel or any other activity that we love to do. Having ‘passion’ is defined in a similar way to love, it is essentially points 1 and 2 above. If you add point 3, it seems to be the definition of an act of love. Combined, this can be a powerful source of self-esteem and motivation.
Now this kind of love I think is crucial because it gives our lives a more personal and individual sense of purpose and meaning. Whilst it is fulfilling to be driven by who we love, a passion in some ways sparks that same intense feeling that attracts us to want to commit to it above anything else. Feeling like doing something for the simple reason that you personally enjoy it is quite motivating. Sometimes we may not even participate in the pursuit, preferring to be a bed of knowledge and take in everything we can about others who participate and the intricacies of the activity. I know people who love and are extremely knowledgeable on music yet have never played an instrument, and the same with everything from aircraft to sports. Whether we participate or not, we can be driven forward simply by committing to something or someone we are passionate about.
Whilst only touching the surface of this vast subject in a blog post, it is worth considering how the broad concept of love can give us meaning and subsequently, fuel we can use to propel us forward when times are not the best. Maybe that’s what The Troggs meant when they released ‘Love Is All Around’.