Love, defined by The Bible as God’s love for His creation, is really more than just an emotion. It is a way of life, it is a state of mind and it is a person’s intuition. We all experience love at some time in our lives. It is the one emotion we can use to communicate with our loved ones in a meaningful way. When you are ready to channel your love and find a unique way of sharing it, there are many ways to do it.
Just as our physical, mental and spiritual health affects our ability to love, those same emotions also play a large role in how we experience love. Emotions range from the strongest physical sensation, such as anger or lust, to the most subtle spiritual emotion, such as compassion or hope. Strong emotions may help keep us motivated, while weaker emotions such as fear or disappointment can distract us from our true purpose in life. While most of us tend to fall into the strong emotions category on a regular basis, feelings ranging from happiness and sadness to excitement and fear can cross our paths at some point in our lives. The strongest emotion is likely love, and those who experience love throughout their lives find themselves drawn to others like themselves.
Love brings forth a variety of positive emotions, including: joy, peace, compassion and generosity. All these elements are important to maintaining well-being. For example, healthy and contented people live longer than those who are perpetually angry and fearful. According to Mark Hellinger, author of The Power Pause book series, “If you feel badly about yourself a lot and spend a lot of time worrying about things that shouldn’t bother you too much, you probably suffer from negative emotions and poor self-esteem. One way to see if you’re headed in this direction is if you’ve got a hard time getting another person to do something nice for you.”
Love may also foster an environment of deep compassion, which, as Dr. David Burns, author of Creating Well-Being, states “may help the individual to resist violence in society and cope more effectively with stressors such as work, family, and relationships.” Individuals who are in long-term relationships with individuals who love them have reported that they have much greater well-being and confidence than those who are single. Similarly, research indicates that marriages that endure are the outcomes of love and compassion. In addition, Dr. Burns notes, “Positive emotions and feelings may prevent disease and illness, which is something we all want to know.” A healthy marriage is one in which partners share physical, emotional, and spiritual resources, and one in which each spouse is self-confident and fulfilled.
Love does not mean lust; however, sexual feelings may be closely associated with feelings of love. When romance is involved, it’s important to recognize that many people confuse lust and love. In fact, infatuation may trigger powerful physical feelings such as: desire, excitement, and anticipation. However, although these same physical feelings may prompt you to want to spend time with your partner, it does not mean that you are embarking on a relationship or engaged in intimacy. Infatuation can quickly fade when the newness of the relationship is realized and the couple begins to live as a couple instead of as just lovers.
Real, enduring love is very different from romantic love. Loving someone means being aware of the other person’s needs, wants, and desires. The quality of the love you feel for another person may be similar to the quality of love you feel for yourself. Just as you give yourself affection and attention in return when you love someone, you give attention and affection to a partner when you are deeply in love. In addition, you share a deep commitment with your partner that remains constant no matter what the circumstances. This type of love is compatible with any number of relationships, and in fact, it may be the most enduring kind.