Azusa Pacific University: University College
What is love? According to Wikipedia love is an intense feeling of deep affection. Love is a word used worldwide to define the emotion we feel when coming into contact with anything. We as humans have been in counter with love from the time we were born, and always will be till the time we die. Although love may have one definition, love comes along in so many hues that it is almost impossible to predict the type of love you would experience until you actually experience it. The concept of love is confusing, happy, painful, exciting, and something we all seek to find, and or experience.
The word love is often overused, “I’m in love with this shirt”, “I love this color”, or “I love this food”. The definition of love as a noun is explained as “An intense feeling of deep affection, a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone, a personified figure of love, often represented as Cupid, a great interest and pleasure in something, affectionate greetings conveyed to someone on one’s behalf, a formula for ending an affectionate letter, or a person or thing that one loves.” The definition for a verb is to “Feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to,” or “like very much; find pleasure in.” As you start to look deeper into what love really is you come to realize that love can be felt in many different ways, and at different degrees.
There is a lot that goes into feeling the effects of love, as everything that we do it all starts from a very biological stand point, the brain. Helen Fisher got together a group of people who are experiencing being “love struck” and examined the way the brain reacts to study the full affect of love. They found that the couples were experiencing high levels of neurotransmitter dopamine, “which stimulated ‘desire and reward’ by triggering an intense rush of pleasure. It has the same effect on the brain as taking cocaine”. Fisher suggests “couples often show the signs of surging dopamine: increased energy, less need for sleep or food, focused attention and exquisite delight in smallest details of the novel relationship.”
Not only can you experience love within an intimate relationship with a significant other, another love that can be expressed is the love shared between
your family, and close friendships. This love can most often be defined as Platonic love. This love is the simplest of loves; it’s an innocent love that we have experienced from a very young age. In simplest terms, this is a form of unconditional love. John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”, “Unconditional love mean love without conditions, yes? Love without requirements, free of oath and contracts, expectations and attachments. Love that is offered without the anticipation of getting something in return. Love that does not need to be coddled or catered to, in order for it to flow. Love given free of contingencies or qualifications. A love impervious to approval or disapproval.” Elizabeth Reninger.
The best example of unconditional love that I have personally felt is the unconditional love from Jesus Christ. The most well known verse in the Bible John 3:16 exudes unconditional love, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” God sent his own son, who was perfect, to take on human flesh and die for our sins. That is a selfless love, a love that was given free for the sake of the world. As we are not God, and are far from being perfect we can only seek to give unconditional love the way that God did. That can come in the form of loving your family well, or sacrificing things your find important for one another.
Love is a tricky thing to learn. As humans we