Love is one of the ancient terms that have been used since the creation of the world and the existence of living things, particularly human beings. The term love has been used to describe an intense positive feeling or attitude towards something or someone. However, over the years, different people have come up with varying definitions of the term love, but surprisingly, they are all related in some way. The reason for such convergence of ideas is the fact that different definitions and meanings of love depict a common good feeling and connection with great and adorable values. Biblically, love is the greatest gift that God has granted humanity and commanded people to love each other, the world, and everything in it. Therefore, love is a mandatory command that people should practice in order to live in harmony with each other as well as protect the rest of God’s creation. Due to the difference in the definition of the term love, there has been some confusion of exactly what love consists. Hence, this essay will focus on identifying and elaborating on different definitions of love, theories that exist concerning love, as well as examples of love. This explanation is important, since it is the only way that the theme of love can be understood and applied in a manner that would suit one as an individual and society.
Definition of Love
There are different definitions of love. In my case, love is a strong good feeling about someone or something that makes one feel positively connected to someone else or something. The excellent and intense feeling makes one avoid engaging in activities or behaviors that might cause harm or damage to the other person or thing.
Theories and Perspectives of Love Critique
The triangular love theory, developed by Robert Sternberg, a member of the Psychology Department at Yale University, is one of the most common theories of love . With regard to interpersonal relationships, this theory claims that, there are three components of love, which include intimacy, passion, and commitment or decision. Furthermore, the theory asserts that the intimacy component of love means the feeling of closeness, bonding, and connectedness, which leads to the development of a loving relationship. The passion, according to Stenberg, means the feeling of being physically attracted and gradually sexually aroused, which also leads to development of a loving bond. Lastly, the commitment or decision part of the theory means the decision that a person makes concerning the intimacy and passion feelings; hence, deciding whether to have a short-term or long-term relationship with the other person or to ignore those feelings altogether.
However, Stenberg’s theory lacks a comprehensive analysis of love, as his triangular theory addresses love only from point of view of a mature person and also considers the sexual aspect of love that develops through gradual process. The reason for the objection is that some natural love does not go through the development process. For instance, love between family members is highly intense but is not in any way sexual and the people linked with such affinity do not have a choice of deciding whether to love or reciprocate the love. This aspect of love is an excellent relationship despite the fact whether it is told expressly or not. For instance, a child knows his/her parents and siblings, and love develops naturally, and it is long-lasting (Chapman, 2011). Equally true is the fact that upon a parent realizing that he/she will have a child, the feelings of love develops naturally, which is unbreakable.
Psychologist Zick Rubin developed the Liking vs Loving theory of love, wherein he proposes that romantic love is comprised of three elements, namely attachment, caring, and intimacy. According to Rubin, sometimes people develop a significant amount of gratitude and admiration for others. This feeling of acknowledgement and respect makes them enjoy being together. This sense of togetherness, argues the psychologist, does not necessarily qualify as love; instead, he mentions it as liking. Rubin defines and describes love as a much deeper and powerful need than likingfor physical closeness and interaction.
Of the three elements, Rubin claims that attachment is the need to feel appreciated, wanted, and desired by the physical contact of the person. Caring involves being valued, and needed, whereas intimacy entails sharing of feelings, thoughts, and desires with the other person. The theory, from the point of view of an ordinary person, has some practical and realistic argument, since love and liking are real feelings. However, the love between members of the same family is intense, and it makes one feel the need to be valued and appreciated (Chapman, 2011). This argument leads to the refutation of the claim that love always comes with sexual aspects.
Three Types of Love from Pop Culture
Eros or romantic love is one type of love and the most common, and this is where love is passionate. In this type of love, physical beauty is an essential factor that triggers the love, hence leading to hopeless romantics, intense feeling, butterflies in the stomach, and love at first sight. This kind of love is common in films and social media where strangers fall head over heels in love with each other upon meeting for the first time and influenced by the physical appearance of the other person. For instance, in “The Last Love,” which is common soap opera, many relationships are based on love at first sight before other personal traits and values are considered. On social media too, people view the profile picture of the other person and from the attraction they get from the image, they decide to pursue the other person to the point of confessing that they are in love. This force pushes strangers who have conversed through social media to make an effort of meeting, and even some end up in long-lasting relationships like marriage.
In the second type of love, which presently is becoming common, everything is all but a game, in which a person can have a series of partners; meaning thereby that there is no commitment in the connection and the relationship is declared and marked as open. The party, who feels that love has vanished, can quit freely without any remorse or guilt. This type of love is also common in relations developed on social media and films where a female or male can have an intimate relationship with multiple partners, and they do not want to commit themselves to anyone. On social media, people have formed a habit of checking numerous profiles and playing around with as many suitors as possible.
The third type of love is storge, also known as friendship love that refers to a bond, which is affectionate, genuine, and grows slowly. In most cases, people start as ordinary friends who freely share their good and bad times and eventually after becoming fond of each other, the bond deepens and slowly turns into love. The two people involved in friendship love tend to care and feel passion for each other, but it does not mean that it would be romantic. In some instances, this type of love leads to long-time best friendships, and it does not have to be only between opposite genders, as it also develops between people of the same gender. There are movies, for instance “The Promise,” that demonstrate people who gradually become friends in their adulthood or childhood and maintain their friendship even after they marry or get married. They keep a close relationship and openly share their problems with a view of useful intended advice. Such is a rare type of love on social media since grows gradually, which means it is usually realized in the real world where pretending is not involved.
Gender and Gender Roles
Gender is the biological form of a person which can be male or female. When it comes to love, genders have specific cultural roles that they need to play. Nevertheless, the roles are determined by the type of love. In romantic love, it is the male who plays the role of approaching and pursuing the female until a relationship is established. In friendship love, both genders can play the same part, since it is the friendship that is initiated and maintained first. However, in case a friendship love is to take the romantic direction, the male, in general, plays the role of taking the relationship to the desired direction.
Personal Strength and Growth
As a person, one of my major strengths is the ability to make and stick to my decisions about things that I want and those I do not want. One of my growth areas is to maintain only excellent and healthy types of relationship that would contribute positively to my development and maturity as a person instead of making me feel demeaned and unappreciated. These two personal aspects influence the way I give and receive love because I only give love to real people, and not strangers whom I contact through social media or other unreliable sources. I also accept the love that I can connect and relate with.
– Being real all the times.
– Dealing with real people.
– Take the time to understand people’s personality and real intentions.
– Be kind, peaceful, patient, and humble.
– Make a move after clearing all doubts.
Summary and Conclusions
In summary, love is an intense feeling of appreciating another person, and it does not have to be sexually connected, since it is shared among all people. Love is of various types, and this is the reason why different love theories seem to differ in arguments, as it depends on the specific kind of love that the theorists focus. It is possible to experience the right type of love since it all depends on the decisions and actions of a person. It is, therefore, highly recommended that people should learn to show and appreciate real and genuine love to receive the same. The reason is the fact that whatever one gives, will surely be the same thing that one should expect to receive in return.
Chapman, H. M. (2011). Love: A biological, psychological, and philosophical study. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/srhonorsprog/254
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