The words “I love you” have always been a powerful way to express love to a loved one. However, for many, the definition of love has changed over time and has lost much of its meaning. Today, the use of “I love you” has been replaced with “I love myself.” This is surprising because the words “I love you” have been used consistently throughout history, even when it was not so common to speak those words. A better understanding of love can be gained by understanding the varieties of love and how each differs from the other.
Love is a complex collection of behaviors and emotions characterized by intense intimacy, romance, concern, commitment, affection, and respect for another person. It involves intimacy, romantic love, caring, compassion, loyalty, trust, security, attraction, and sharing. Love can vary greatly in intensity and may vary significantly over time. Some of the more popular kinds of love are romantic love, compassion, familial love, family bonding, power and preference, devotion, parental love, friendship, companionship, affiliation, adoration, sexual intimacy, dependence, and sexual desire.
Oxytocin is one of the chemicals associated with romantic love. Oxytocin is actually a chemical that is released within the human brain during significant moments of connection. It is responsible for the connection of two people in relationships. Oxytocin is believed to be responsible for the feeling that one another is a precious resource and that one another will stick around forever. It is this chemical within the brain that is believed to be responsible for encouraging and maintaining the romantic relationship. Scientists are still not completely sure how oxytocin causes the relationship, but they do know that the levels of oxytocin released into the brain are increased when one another is happy and secure in the relationship and are decreased when one another is experiencing a lot of stress and pain.
As humans, we all have these different kinds of emotions, but only some of us have the intellect to know how and when to release them. Some of our strongest emotions are usually the ones that we are not so attached to. These are usually instinctual, or “base” instincts. If you watch a child have a tantrum because she was upset about something, it is because she has had her instinct (tentative) checked and found that it is not working for her. This same child will likely never have another tantrum during her entire lifetime unless those tantrums are channeled in a constructive way.
The intellect is where we learn more about love because we can ask questions that our body cannot. When our mind is processing lots of data about our partner’s behavior and patterns, then we can make better decisions based on what we learn. In fact, this is where the relationship becomes truly intimate. Intimacy occurs when our partner can feel the impact of our emotions on her or his body. Our brains send signals from our brains directly to our nerves, and if they don’t match up, then emotions, feelings, desires and thoughts get mixed up and cause our brain to malfunction. When love is not being given its due, that is when love starts to suffer.
When experiencing love in any form with another person, you will find yourself less defensive. Your defenses may be down a bit, but the feelings will still be there. As you begin to experience love more often, you will find that your defenses are more tuned to protect you than to help you grow. You will need to continually tune them back in order to keep experiencing love. This is why it is important to take baby steps when starting a new relationship – slow and steady will make you both happier and healthier in the long run.
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