All You Need is Love

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” ― Dr. Seuss

Love is the most important emotion in human existence. It is the glue that binds all of humanity together. Love comes in many forms: love between a man and woman, love of a parent for their child, love between neighbors, and love of life. Love is freely given, without demanding compensation. That is what makes it so magical.

That isn’t to say that love is easy. The most frequently searched phrase on Google in 2012 was “what is love?” The very concept is ephemeral, we have trouble defining it yet we know it when we feel it. Part of this is because we try to lump all of the manifestations of love into one broad category. In 1977, psychologist John Lee defined 6 major types of love:

  • Eros (erotic desire for an idealized other)
  • Ludus (playful or game like love)
  • Storge (slowly developing attachment)
  • Mania (obsessive and jealous love)
  • Agape (altruistic love)
  • Pragma (practical love)

The common thread in all of these is intimacy; knowing a person deeply and letting them know you for who you really are. This is a difficult task in a world that teaches us to build walls around ourselves for defense. Intimacy means vulnerability, and vulnerability can lead to hurt. Finding a balance is a tricky part of being human. If you manage to love fully and deeply, however, nothing can truly hurt you, because you already have everything you need.

Additional Resources

The Fly Guy, 25 Interesting Facts about Love & Relationships: http://www.flyguychronicles.com/2011/06/25-interesting-facts-about-love-and-relationships/

Random Facts, 52 Fascinating Facts about Love: http://facts.randomhistory.com/2009/08/04_love.html

How Stuff Works, How Love Works: http://people.howstuffworks.com/love.htm

Good Reads, Quotes About Love: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/love

USA Today, Friends No. 1 Way to Meet That Valentine: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/2010-02-11-couplesmeet11_CV_N.htm

New Advent, Love: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09397a.htm

Psychology Today, The Psychology of Love: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/handy-psychology-answers/201102/the-psychology-love

Psychology Today, Love Diagnostic Test: http://psychologytoday.tests.psychtests.com/take_test.php?idRegTest=1318

Psychology Today, What is Love? http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/love-without-limits/201111/what-is-love

The Guardian, What is Love? http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/13/what-is-love-five-theories

Psychology Today, Intimacy: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199309/intimacy-the-art-relationships

Catholic Online, St. Valentine: http://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=159

 

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