What is love, really?

When there is love, it makes its presence well known.

I have emphasized the importance of love and passion for happiness across the blog. Love is important for a good life. It is important for happiness. But, what exactly is it? What is love in relationships? Does it have a different meaning in a work context?

The mere thought of love makes us feel good about life. It is one of the most beautiful things about life.

In my almost 4 decades of life, I have seen a lot of life. I am grateful for the experiences life has given me, and some of the beautiful experiences have been because of this feeling called love.

So, love then, is a feeling. What we feel is emotion. Love, therefore, is an emotion.

Speaking of emotions, happiness, on which this blog is centered, is also an emotion. I often say that happiness is the only real output emotion that we are aiming at. Everything else is an input. As far as input emotions go, love is perhaps the most important of emotions. You and I cannot be happy without being in love. None of us human beings can be happy without it.

What kinds of love is there?

Love takes different forms. Primarily, there is love for people, and then there is love for work. Let us try and break down different forms of love.

1. Parental love and for siblings

Parental love is pure.
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It is said the mother’s love is the purest of all forms. They say that a mother loves her kids unconditionally. Now, I am not sure about the idea if mother’s affection is unconditional since everyone does everything because they have a reason to do it. She does expect to be loved back, doesn’t she? However, mother’s love is close to being the purest and unadulterated forms. A mother keeps the child in her womb for months, and then raises the child to an adult. There are only a few unfortunate people in the world who don’t find love from their mothers.

Father’s love on the other hand is beautiful too. However, it could be more functional than mother’s because mothers have a feminine quality of gentleness and care, which men don’t have. That’s perhaps why, when couples get divorced with kids, it’s the woman who gets to keep the child. If the child were to have one parent, it is assumed that the mother would be the right emotional guardian for the child.

The love we share with our siblings is a beautiful form of it since it has no adulteration. Siblings tend to become each other’s support system before we learn to make friends.

This kind of love is non-sexual. It is an idyllic form. Parents like to see their kids grow up and become responsible and functioning adults, and they find joy in that.

One of the tests of any form of love is whether the happiness of the one you care for brings you happiness. Conversely, their pain brings you pain.

This is the case with parental love. It is the case with most parents, although there are parents who try to impose their beliefs on their kids, and if the kids don’t comply, they severe ties with them. That’s not love. That’s arrogance.

Besides exceptions like the one described above, parental love is a blessing. Since we don’t choose our parents, we are just fortunate to have parents who care for us.

Our siblings are important people in our lives too. We grow up with them in the same house and we adore them out of familiarity. For some people, their siblings turn out to be great friends, and for others, they don’t. But either way, we love our sisters and brothers because blood can’t go too far.

2. Romantic love

Romantic love is organic.
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After parents, the most important relationship is our lives is that we share with our partner, or with partners, as the case in the society now. Romantic love is beautiful and unlike parents, we get to choose our partners. They are not given to us.

The beautiful thing about romantic love is that it is organic.

We feel drawn towards a person because we feel that we would be happy when we spend time with them. If we enjoy some time that we spend with them (called dating), we decide, to spend a lot of time with them (called marriage).

Now, romantic affection has an additional component, which other forms of love, don’t. It is sexual in nature and sex is a corollary in love. If there is love, there is sex. If there is no love, there is no sex.

Romantic love is the most complex form of love. In spite of people dating and spending time with each other, so many marriages around the world end up in divorce. One may question if marriage itself is the right institution, but then there are couple who are really happy with each other in marriages. If one were to trust them, there is reason to believe that there are ways to make relationships happy in the long term.

What is the sign of true love?

The most important issue in long term relationships turns out to be compatibility, which is usually measured when people live together and experience each other’s behavior in different situations. When people value similar things, relationships work. When it turns out that the couple values different things individually, the relationship suffers.

One of the tests of any form of relationship is whether the happiness of the one you love brings you happiness. Conversely, their pain brings you pain.

Yes, this is a reminder. When people stop loving each other, each’s other happiness or pain stops bothering them. Therefore, it is important to note that the opposite of love is not hatred, it is indifference. This should be mentioned in quotes.

The opposite of love is indifference.

Think about it, about people you don’t care about, people you were in love with. Their happiness or their sadness has ceased to bother you. When you were with them, it did bother you. You wanted to see them happy. Their pain caused you pain, but now, it doesn’t matter even if they live or they don’t. They are a distant memory. The opposite of love is indifference.

When we are in love, we care.

3. Love for our work

Do what you love.
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Now, most people in the world haven’t quite experienced this. I am quite fortunate that for a few years in my life, I have been able to do work that I feel emotionally connected with. I love to write. You can see that. I don’t only write this blog, but have written a few books, which are available on Amazon, will write a few more over the course of the next decade. I am also a stand-up comedian and have performed across India and a bit internationally as a comedian. Although I am still on the journey and trying to make it work on scale, I enjoy it because I am passionate these two pieces of work.

When you love your work, it doesn’t seem like work. Your passion for it drives you to work. Since people don’t really care to understand what kind of work they would enjoy doing, so they accept anything that comes their way.

Like Steve Jobs said, your work will take a large portion of your life, so do not settle till you find something you love. He was right, and he was a genius, so we should try to follow his advice.

4. Love for friends

To have a friend, be a friend.
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The fondness we feel for friends is another form, we feel towards people we like. These are people who understand us, accept us and we like to spend time with them.

In most cases, besides exceptions where people have friends with benefits, this kind of affection is platonic and non-sexual. The great thing is about friends is that we can be free with them to discuss our personal and work lives.

Friendship is great since it has emotional distance. In personal lives, there is no emotional and physical distance, and there shouldn’t be. If there is, the relationship is dysfunctional. Friendships have emotional distance and that’s why they don’t threaten our existence. There is no reason, absolutely no reason to have friends who don’t understand you, because that’s the whole point of friendship.

Although, it is difficult to maintain friendships, they do mean a lot to life. Like Dale Carnegie said, to have a friend, be a friend.

4. Love for the world about us

The world is family.
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Now, we live in a world where there are lot of other people beyond our colleagues, friends and family. Do we feel adulation for strangers?

Yes, we do. Why am I writing this blog? I am writing this because I want to make you guys happy. Do I know you guys? No. Are you strangers to me, and am I a stranger to you? Yes.

So, beyond the people in our lives, there is a world out there and the love we feel for that world is real. We care. Not everybody does. Most people’s lives are limited to those of their family, friends and colleagues.

However, for some people, there is a larger world out there, and they want to make that world happy, or better in their own way. So, there is that strange care for the world about us, because after all, we are all human beings, and in spite of our differences in geography, color, religion, race, we are all the same. We want to be happy, don’t we?

Those to my mind are the types of love. Now, I do believe there are a couple of underlying reasons why relationships work, or they don’t. There are two key reasons why relationships based on love succeed or fail (Of course, these reasons are not applicable to things).

I. Understanding

Love is understanding. Do we care to understand the people we care about? If we do, there is every reason to try and understand why they do what they do. If we don’t understand people, we can’t quite love them, for we simply wouldn’t know what’s important to them.

A lot of relationships fail because of lack of understanding. People get so stuck up in their version of lives that they just don’t care to understand the other party involved, be it their partner, parents, siblings or friends.

Love cannot work without understanding.

II. Acceptance

Once we understand the motivations of people we love, the second most important step is acceptance. This is test of the relationship. If we can accept them as who they are, the relationship would work, or else, it will break. I do believe that most people who get into relationships, especially of the romantic sort, do make an effort to understand their partners.

However, they can’t find a way to accept them. People who value different things cannot accept each other. They just can’t find a way to change themselves enough, so as to make the relationship mutually loving. There are fundamental things about us that we can’t change, and that’s where compatibility becomes an issue, and lack of acceptance kills relationships.

So, what is it?

Love is an emotion we feel towards people who care for us, who understand and accept us as who we are. Love is passion we feel for things we feel drawn towards because doing them makes us happy. If you want to be happy, this is my advice- do things and people you love.   

Thank you for reading.

The purpose of this blog to help you find your happiness. Please read the other posts on the blog, and follow so that you get updates when new posts are published. Please share any posts you like with your friends so that they can also find their happiness. If you have any feedback for me, please leave it in the comments and I would be happy to work on it. If you would like to support my writing and this blog, you may please send a donation through PayPal here.

I appreciate the time you spent in reading the blog and wish you happiness.



12 thoughts on “What is love, really?

  1. Showing love to a partner can take many forms, and the best way to do so will depend on the individual needs and preferences of both you and your partner. However, here are some general tips that can help you express your love:
    Communicate: Make sure to tell your partner how much you love and appreciate them, and be specific about the things you admire or are grateful for.
    Listen: Show your partner that you value their thoughts and feelings by actively listening to them and being present in the conversation.
    Spend quality time together: Make time to do things together that you both enjoy, whether it’s going on a date, taking a walk, or simply cuddling on the couch.
    Show physical affection: Holding hands, hugging, and kissing are all ways to show your partner that you care for them.
    Support: Be there for your partner through the good times and the bad. Show your support by being a good listener, offering encouragement, and providing practical help when needed.
    Give thoughtful gifts: Small, thoughtful gestures can go a long way in showing your partner that you care. Consider their interests and preferences when choosing gifts.

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