CAE Counselling Psychology
 

IS LOVE JUST AN EMOTION?

The initial gut reaction is to say, "Yes, it is!"

It is simple only at first glance. Then we remember that love is very complex for most of us. We feel underappreciated and unloved by our spouse. Our spouse feels misunderstood and unloved by us. Our family member feels ignored and unimportant. These misunderstandings erupt into arguments and further misunderstanding, driving wedges between people and bringing further emotional hardship.

Indeed this leads us to think that love is absolutely a feeling and emotion; until you start asking around and thinking about the question.

Here are a few ways you can look at love:

Is love just an emotion?

  1. Love is a drive - Like an instinct to eat and drink, there are some who believe that love is a primal drive that compells us from the depts of our being. It comes from our animalistic insticts and from our subconscious. It compels us towards certain behaviour.

  2. Love is an emotional state - In this state, love enables other emotions and feelings such as jealousy, anger, anxiety, compassion, empathy, and euphoria. People in love and in loving relationships of all types will go through the entire spectrum of emotions and feelings. In this view, love is a particular state of being. It doesn't so much compel us as it enables us to feel and experience the full range of human emotions. It then helps to guide the patterns of our actions and behaviour.

  3. Love is an emotion or feeling - This is the prevailing belief of what love is. It is something you feel for someone and something someone feels for you. Sometimes this feeling can be projected onto objects. As an emotion and feeling, it can be habitual, it can morph and become passion or lust. Love is then a core and basic feeling, like anger.

These interpretations can fundamentally affect how people give and receive love, their motivations, desires, and actions. It may also give us a clue as to why there always appears to be so much misunderstanding between people who love each other. Ultimately this may get us much closer to understanding how to more fully realise love in our own lives and those of other people. Perhaps all we need is love; provided we can agree what love is?

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