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The Definition of Love

While it can be defined and explained differently depending on the person you ask, Merriam-Webster dictionary says that love can have a few meanings: “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties; warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion; unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.”

One may love another person, one may love his or herself, a place or an object, a pet or a sport. Love is everywhere.

Still not sure what love is? Here are some examples of love in action.

Love is…

    …taking your best friend out to dinner to celebrate her promotion at work.

    …wearing the coordinates to a special place around your neck.

    …feeling overwhelmingly proud of and happy for your little brother who just got all A’s.

    …giving your dog a kiss and a bone before heading out the door.

    …worrying about your grandma growing old and living on her own.

    …calling your dad every few days to make sure he’s alright and update him on your life.

Essentially, love is showing that you care for someone or something. It’s making it known that they are special and that their existence and well-being matters to you.

Love in Society

Our views on love and our commitment to others have certainly transformed throughout the years, especially as of late. This is mostly due to advancements made in technology and social media and also the growing independence of the younger generations. Some argue these changes are for the better, while others say romance and love have been lost in a sense. How exactly has it changed?

How We Used to Love
Love used to be more straight-forward and viewed as something that everyone sought. And I mean sought, not just imagined or wished for. You met someone you liked and you acted on it. You spent time together and got to know each other. If there was something there, you pursued it further. You dated, continuing to build that bond, and then, if you indeed were meant for each other, you got engaged and eventually married. A simple, uncomplicated love.

How We Now love
In today’s world, you have a multitude of ways to meet and talk to potential lovers. You can scroll through Tinder bios, Instagram pictures, and Facebook posts, all with the intriguing possibility of finding an interesting someone. Say you do, you might chat for a bit and develop some feelings. But then he might decide he doesn’t want anything serious. Or you could get into your own head and think there’s probably someone better out there. Or maybe you weren’t looking for anyone in the first place; maybe you’d rather be single and settle down later.

Basically, the way we think about love and how we act on it is evolving, just as everything else does with time. While there are more ways to find love, they aren’t necessarily more effective. It’s more difficult to get to know someone through a computer or phone screen. You can’t gage a connection at the touch of your fingertips, or develop confirmed feelings without spending time with someone in real life. That being said, love is still very much alive. Whether it is discovered in the traditional face-to-face interaction, ignited first online, or prioritized in a rather different way as many have started to focus on self-love.

Love as Told by Celebrities

While we all share a basic understanding of love, it’s meaning can differ greatly from person to person. The following are quotes by famous and influential people who definitely knew what love meant for themselves; maybe they can help you find it and define it too.

    “You know it’s love when all you want is that person to be happy, even if you’re not part of their happiness.” –Julia Roberts

    “Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get—only with what you are expecting to give, which is everything.” –Katharine Hepburn

    “Where there is love, there is life.” –Mahatma Ghandi

    “Love is a promise; love is a souvenir; once given never forgotten.” –John Lennon

    “Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back, and reasons to stay.” –Dalai Lama

Love in Conclusion

Even with the help of celebrities’ experience and advice, it can be hard to determine if what you’re feeling is strong enough to be love. In these instances, the only person who can ultimately decide if it is indeed love, is you—so, you have to listen to your heart. And then embrace every single thing and person in your life you love by choice as well as chance.

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is a staff writer at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

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