What Is Love?
The Merriam Webster defines love as "a strong affection for another rising out of kinship or personal ties, attraction based on sexual desire, and affection and tenderness felt by lovers". Love comes in many forms.
There is love between a parent and child, brothers and sisters, or love given by a person to an animal or object. It basically comes down to the fact that everyone inevitably either loves something or someone.
What We Do With Love
Humans create love out of strong, personal bonds. Love gives us the assurance that we are not alone in the world. In a larger aspect, love runs the world around us. People love money and that creates a drive for them to work harder and run businesses. On a smaller scale, we survive as children because of the love our parents or caregivers provide for us. Love is (usually) how we are all created in the first place, so technically we wouldn't be here without it.
We use love to drive us in what we do in life. The most common things that love drives us to do is to find a partner and sometimes get married and have children who we in turn share our love with. Love gives us the reassurance that we will be cared for and helped in times of need and given support to achieve goals.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Love is a Basic Human Need
Love and belonging are part of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. This pyramid was created based on Abraham Maslow's view of what humans need in order to grow and finally meet "self-actualization". Once one's physiological needs such as breathing, water, food, etc. and the feeling of security and safety are met, a person needs to feel love and belonging in order to grow. I think this is much because of the drive love gives us in order to reach the next levels of esteem and then to be content with our lives.
Love comes more from a physical drive than an emotional one. The need to love in a romantic sense comes from the animal instinct that we need to procreate and keep our race alive. We also have a natural instinct to love and care for our children just like most other mammals who raise their children until they are ready and able to venture out on their own.
Without the fulfillment of feeling loved or loving something else a person does not have the motivation to achieve anything. When people are not motivated in their life the drive meet basic needs is not as strong and self-actualization cannot happen. Even non-social people need to love and belong to something before they can achieve esteem and lead happy and motivated lives.
Loves in Our Lives
There are many types of loving bonds that can be created in our lives in different ways that can be categorized.
- Life Partners
Love Between Family Members
Love by a Person for Objects and Animals
- Family pets
- Personal Business
- Material Objects
Achieving love between yourself and someone else on a sexually reproductive level can be difficult. You have to be compatible with another human being to make a sustainable love between yourself and them.
A love between a parent and child or brothers and sisters is much easier because there is a bond created in those types of relationships from the very beginning. Love between romantic partners must arise from scratch and be cared for differently than any other relationship.