Love: What is love? Many philosophers, lovers, and common folk have tried to define this rather elusive thing. To define it, we first have to determine what type of thing love is—Is it a substance (i.e. something you can explore with the senses)? Is it an emotional reaction or action (i.e. something you feel or do as a result of conscious decision making)? Is it a physical reaction (i.e. something that occurs in your body because of some inevitable law of development)? Is it a relationship? (I.e. something that involves others?) Is it a passion (i.e. something that happens to you because of the actions of another)? Is it all or none of the above?
Hoping that I am not getting too didactic and clinical about the exploration of such a mysterious thing, let me say that, for me, love is a relationship and a passion—something that happens to me because of my contact with someone or something else. Love does something to my body, my soul, my will, and my intellect. Love sends endorphins and other chemicals racing through my body and causes synapses that produce a strange tingling, even in my little finger! When I am feeling love, I feel a connection with the object of my love that exists even when the object is far away or has disappeared forever. Love makes me do good things—things that make me feel good about myself because what I did was good for others. And, love messes with my judgment! I am prone to overlook flaws in the object of my love, simply because...well, I don't know why I overlook them, I just do!
So, as a word, love stands for a passionate relationship—use it sparingly and meaningfully! If you don't believe me, read Shakespeare!
...Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove;
O no! It is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickles compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
(Excerpt from William Shakespeare's Sonnet 116)