What is love? I’ve spent years asking myself this. I don’t know what love is. I’m not going to claim to fathom it. As far as I know everybody has a different understanding of love. To some it’s friendship, devotion for others, some believe it’s a dream only to be adored from afar, and some breathe it like oxygen. Love exists in so many forms. Every act of selfless care you witness is love in disguise.
I’ve simplified my definition to the difference between unconditional and conditional love. A child’s love for his parents, a mother’s love, for a friend or your pets. It’s all there for a reason. You can always answer it with a because. Then comes love for a person you never knew, unexpectedly, irrevocably, it happens and stays. No matter how much you deny it or how different you both are. Love happens in spite of it all. This love has no conditions no because. It just is. This is the form of love that inspires poems, songs, art even stories.
Though love feels like a spiritual act, the physical reactions to love are incredible. Your pupils dilate when you look at someone you love. Like they say it’s all in the eyes, windows to the soul. Your brain releases oxytocin which basically gives you comfort in intimacy and close proximity. Pheromones which explains why their body fragrance becomes familiar. It works stronger than a perfume attraction. Also dopamine is released which is a neurotransmitter, a chemical related to the reward-motivation behaviour. Increase in dopamine causes pleasure. So you can safely say love has more to do with the brain than the heart. Yet it doesn’t explain the connection to heart.
In my language there are three forms of love. Pyar, which is the innocent love for parents, friends, family and even objects. Mohabat which is like true love. That happens only once in your life and you feel like you can’t live without that person. It’s mostly described as love between a couple. Ishq, unrequited and the highest form of selfless, unconditional love where all the lover wants is happiness for its love and nothing in return.
English language has no divisions like that. Alternate words, yes, but no divisions. What is love? A question asked by so many philosophers, artists, writers. Answers that end up forming more questions. Maybe it doesn’t fall under the same umbrella! Love is different for everyone. In essence something deep down, we all think we deserve. A reward. Kindness. A little care. Devoted smile. From there on it branches out.
For something so vast, so versatile, with so many implications. It’s ironic how there’s only one word in English dictionary to describe so many emotions. Love. So much burden on such a little word.