What is Love – A Deeper Understanding and Real-Life Love Stories
In the modern world, love is an overused word – thanks in no small measure to greeting cards, Love-You notes, posts on social media, e-cards, virtual gift boxes etc. It is defined as a positive emotion that makes the world go round, and everything is said to be fair in it just like in war. Being in use a lot, it sometimes loses its meaning. So what is love?
What Is Love?
Love has different meanings for different people. It can mean romantic feelings that one feels for partner or spouse, or the affectionate emotion that is felt for parents, friends, pets, children, relatives or someone close. Basically, it conveys very strong and warm feelings of being close to or caring for another entity – which could be a person, a pet, plants or even a cause.
To put simply, love can take many forms – such as:
- Romantic love for sweetheart partner / husband / wife
- Affection, for parents, pals, pets, kids etc
- Strong feelings of liking, for plants in garden, personal objects or belongings, hobbies, causes, events, sports etc
- Feelings of attraction, towards a superstar, an individual, book, art object etc that leads to spontaneous outbursts at any attempt at deriding the object of attraction
This is an abstract emotion that can neither be qualified nor quantified, but only felt. Although philosophers and artists attribute heart as the seat of love, the emotion is scientifically supposed to arise from the harmony of some types of chemicals in the body.
The emotion is not only limited to humans. Experiences have proved that it is felt by every living being, whether man, animal or plants – just like hunger. Reports exist on how some dogs die shortly after their masters breathe their last or plants wither away in the absence of people who nurtured them regularly.
What Can Love Do For You?
Love can do a lot for people. Studies, historical accounts and life experiences have shown that the emotion can have positive as well as negative effects on humans. Love can have constructive as well as destructive impact.
The positive emotions typically associated with what is love include:
- Contentment– People who are in love, and are in a state of harmony with their loved one, are found to be more content in life and at peace with their situation – even in unpleasant ambiences.
- Inspiration / Motivation – The emotion can motivate people to do something for their loved ones, or improve themselves in different ways – such as brushing teeth or bathing regularly, striving for more financial success, or try to improve the situation of their own or that of their loved one.
- Encouragement – Being cheered by loved ones can encourage people to make repeated attempts at success. This is the reason why sportspersons are cheered by their fans in times of crises.
- Willpower – Many people are found to get the strength and willpower to go on even in hostile, unproductive or apathetic situations in life. They are more focused on the better things in life.
- Self-control – Love also helps people get the self control to stay away from dangerous situations or damaging habits such as smoking, drinking, drug abuse, promiscuousness or profligacy.
- Intelligence – Being in loving relationships also helps reduce stress, boost the level of serotonin and improve brain functioning. Loved men are thus, smarter in many ways.
- Self-confidence – This is possibly one of the biggest benefits of love. It is well known how encouragement from a loved one can make people confident enough for an interview, an exam, sporting events etc. Parents are asked to shower their children with love and support before exams, to make them feel more confident.
Love is also attributed to various negative emotions, such as:
- Possessiveness – Love also often makes people possessive, and there are real-life accounts of how spouses and romantic partners are ready to go at any length to ensure that their husband / wife / partner is always close to them. The Jennifer Lopez starrer “Enough” explored the emotion majorly. At some point, they begin to treat their loved ones as their personal property. The emotion is also evident in children and pets, who try to wean their parents / masters from others and keep to themselves.
- Obsession – It is a dangerous emotion, which is manifested in many ways – such as stalking, self-injuries or harming anyone who seems to be a rival in affection for the person. Movies such as ‘Fatal Attraction’ are renowned for their portrayal of obsessive individuals. Obsession is often attributed to people who are slightly shy or disinclined to exhibit their affection publicly, although overtly obsessive people are not uncommon. It might or might not be associated with unrequited love.
- Inferiority Complex – Being rejected, abused or humiliated by a loved one can also cause the development of inferiority complex. This is a very dangerous phenomenon, which can lie dormant for many years and finally express itself in various unhealthy ways such as clamoring for attention, depression, anxiety, obsession with personal improvement, stage fright, social withdrawal and more.
- Profligacy – There are multiple accounts of spending time, money and other resources on objects of love, which can have damaging consequences for an individual. Other than causing financial ruin etc to the lover, it can also make the beloved habituated to a life of expensive habits and pleasures from which a return seems impossible.
Thus, the emotion has many pros and cons. It is no wonder that love has often been described as a complex emotion.
How Love Makes You Feel?
Love gives rise to various emotions, and men and women feel a myriad of sensations that are part of romantic love as well as affectionate love.
There is a spark in your eyes, and you can feel a spring in your step. This is a continuous sensation of pleasure that keeps you happy irrespective of the situation or surroundings. You find yourself smiling for no reason whatsoever, even before you start thinking of the loved one.
Desire to spread happiness
You do not just wish to be content simply with enjoying the happiness yourself, and want to share your joy with others. You want to become a matchmaker for your friends and make them experience the same happiness as you.
This is not the same sensation that you experience when he/she held your hand for the first time. Once you are in love, you feel the giddiness every now and then – especially when you think of your partner or is with him or her. It never really goes away.
Craving his / her presence
You do not just want to draw his or her attention, but want the presence of that person in your life – along with the assurance that your beloved will always be there by your side when you need. In the absence of that individual, you begin to worry and have irrational anxieties.
Excitement and anticipation
When you are in love, you wait for the time when you can be together with your loved one. You are filled with excitement and anticipation about when you will meet your loved one, and feel tremendous happiness once you see the individual finally in person.
You find all negative feelings about yourself going away slowly, and begin to accept yourself with all your flaws. You are not too concerned about your weight issues, acne marks etc anymore, and feel better about yourself.
Wanting to make him / her happy
Love is known to make even selfish people become selfless, just for the sake of the happiness of their beloved. Even otherwise practical people are found to give up their own happiness and things that make them happy, such as alcohol, drugs or TV addiction, to make their loved ones happy.
Feeling more responsible
Love also makes you feel more responsible for the one you love, and keep that person happier and more satisfied. You try to pull out all stops to take care of the emotions, satisfaction and well-being of that individual.
Feeling stronger as well as vulnerable
You can experience more strength to push ahead and strive for happiness, your own as well as that of your loved one. However, you also feel somewhat fragile and often worry about losing the loved one or his/her love. Even the distant possibility of heartbreak can be painful to bear.
Real-Life Love Stories
At the end of the day, requited love is associated with a ‘feel good’ sensation that almost everyone craves in life. Although true love is often dismissed as a fantastical notion or utopian concept, there are many instances of pure love and romance in real life.
Kim and Krickitt Carpenter
A near-fatal car accident in the early 1990s, while driving to Phoenix from Las Vegas, left Krickitt battling for life, in a comatic state – less than 10 weeks after her wedding. When she woke up after 3 weeks, she could not recognize anyone in her immediate family, including her husband. Krickitt was never the same again, as she had no memory of even her wedding day. Her personality changed, and she lost memory of the entire time that she met Kim and got married to him. She could recall even previous boyfriends but not Kim. Krickitt lost about 2 years of life, when she was in diapers and had to be hand-fed as well as taught to talk and walk. Although injured himself and mentally devastated, Kim never gave up, and took a big part in her recovery. He became sort of her father and teacher, teaching her basic life skills and pushing her in the gym with physical therapy. Having suffered head injuries, Krickitt suffered emotional and physical problems and often snapped at Kim. She had to adjust living with a man she had no prior memories of.
Two decades on, she still has no memories of the time she met and married Kim. However, the couple stuck on and had two kids – Danny and Ann. Krickitt has recovered from her physical issues, and Kim is thankful that he has her by his side. Today, many might immediately recognize them as authors of the 2000 book “The Vow: The True Events” that served as inspiration for the hit Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams-starrer 2012 romantic drama “The Vow”.
PK Mahanandia and Charlotte Von Schedvin
PK Mahanandia was a poor Indian artist from the lower caste Dalit community in India. His mother predicted that her wife would be a upper caste girl who would come from a faraway country, would be a Taurean, love music and own a jungle.
In 1975, Swedish tourist Charlotte Von Schedvin – while on a trip to Delhi – spotted the artist the Connaught Place area in Delhi. She asked him to create her sketch. Although his sketches for her, for two consecutive days, did not appeal to her, he did. Both were drawn to each other and Charlotte revealed that she actually owned a forest, she was a Taurus by zodiac sign and loved to play the piano. By the end of her tour, they got married as per tribal tradition and Mahanandia promised that he would visit her place, Boras, after sometime.
Even after a year, which saw the two correspond only through letters, Mahanandia could not meet his wife as he lacked the money for a flight ticket. He sold all that he owned to purchase a bicycle and set off. He cycled across Afghanistan, Istanbul, Vienna and other countries, and finally reached Sweden. His ability to sketch people’s portraits gave him a living and the anticipation of meeting his wife kept him going despite fatigue.
After overcoming physical barriers, Mahanandia had to impress Charlotte’s parents. The two got married officially in Sweden, and the ever-supportive Charlotte acclimatized him to European culture and tradition. They now live in Sweden along with their two kids, where Mahanandia is still an artist by profession. Mahanandia maintains that he “never loved cycling”, but was “cycling for love”.