Often used as a synonym for affection, love is a complex emotion that encompasses a wide range of positive emotions. It includes deep affection for another person, as well as a variety of feelings, thoughts, and actions. It is one of the most important human emotions. However, it is difficult to define love, because it has many different meanings for different people.
In a traditional psychological view, love is defined as a combination of companionate love and passionate love. Compassionate love is marked by intimacy and commitment. In contrast, passionate love is marked by an intense longing for another person. Those who experience passionate love typically require physical closeness to maintain this affection. They are also prone to expressing physiological arousal. In addition to physical touch, the receiver of compassionate love may demonstrate their affection by words of affirmation or acts of service.
In addition to being a complex emotional state, love is biologically programmed and can change over time. In the early 1980s, psychologist Robert Sternberg proposed the triangular theory of love, which suggests that intimacy, passion, and commitment are core components of love. It has been a staple in psychology, and much research has based on it.
The idea of love has been a favorite topic of philosophers throughout history. In the past 75 years, psychologists have begun studying love as a specific concept. In that period, they have discovered that love involves feelings of pleasure and good health when somebody else is in good shape. They have also found that love can be culturally shaped. It can be influenced by hormones, neurotrophins, and pheromones.
In the Western world, love is generally categorized as two components. The first is erotic love, which is focused on physical attraction. The second is storge love, which prioritizes similar interests and less dependence on the other person. While storge lovers are less likely to commit to a partner, they are comfortable ending their relationship.
In the Chinese tradition, there are two philosophical underpinnings of love. Ren emphasizes loyalty to a king or a superior, while Mohism focuses on universal love.
While the color wheel theory of love identifies nine tertiary styles of love, erotic love is a common example of a primary style of love. Other examples of storge include love for family and children. The other three primary love styles are compassion, arousal, and infatuation. Infatuation can take place early in a relationship, and deepen into a lasting love.
Although the definition of love is often disputed, most agree that it is a very intense feeling. It is a combination of emotions, including affection, arousal, and passion. It is a powerful feeling, which has been referred to as the most intense feeling a human being can experience.
In contrast, the opposite end of the spectrum is unrequited love. This happens when a lover does not feel receptive to the feelings of the one they love. This can happen in a romantic relationship or a friendship. Regardless of the definition of love, everyone needs it.