The concept of love is one of the most commonly investigated in almost every area of life. From philosophy to scientific study, love is often defined or laid out as one thing or another. And indeed, most people develop a sincerely held vision of love as they experience their life in their own unique way.
And this may be the most important thing about love. It is, most often, considered a feeling that is hopefully shared by at least two people. Familial love and romantic love both seem to consist of both a personal feeling and hope for reciprocation – that the other person or people love you back.
Because of this, it is important to realize that each person’s definition of love is an important and valuable perspective to gain. We assume romantic love with one partner begins when a person finds an acceptably similar view of love to share. But as we grow and learn, our views and assumptions change and evolve.
Understanding your own personal view of love is the first step. Of course, it need not be solid or unchanging. Love can be understood as an idea, and one that is forever in motion. On the other hand, your idea of love may be based on enduring principles – and could remain similar your entire life. Either way, recognizing the validity of the views of others can both strengthen or inform your own ideals, and help you form relationships of any kind with people you meet and learn about.
Below are three fairly different views of love from people who have clearly given a lot of thought to the idea. While watching, consider that you need not agree or disagree with each individual perspective. What is important is to absorb the facts and opinions as information that others may value, and appreciate their differing outlook.
Love is complicated. Poets, scientists, anthropologists, theologians, philosophers, authors, and many more have spent their lives trying to pin it down. So take some time to consider one of the most universal human emotions and become more aware of how you feel about love!
Anthropologist Helen Fisher takes a primarily scientific view of love. She has spent many years researching romantic relationships. Here, she presents her experiences scanning the brains of those in love and speaking about how she interprets her findings.
Writer and English teacher Mandy Len Catron speaks about metaphors for love in the English language. She shares her personal troubles with the current language, and offers what she thinks is a better way to “talk about love”.
Tiq Milan and Kim Katrin Milan speak about their lives as a transgender and queer married couple. A uniquely social view of love, the couple offer a fluid and constantly growing idea of love.
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