Throughout history, artists and philosophers have explored the question, “Is love real?”
Love lives in many aspects of our lives; is it an emotion we feel in our bodies, or an urge we feel in our hearts or even an all consuming obsession?
Love can be described as a special feeling for that special person in your life. Neuroscientist Gabija Toleikyte tells Wired that for romantic love, “The brain is working really hard to compute and to produce that feeling.”
Romantic love essentially evolved so the human race would continue into tomorrow.
Oxytocin is a hormone that plays an important role in reproduction for both males and females as well as social bonding. However, oxytocin isn’t the only hormone responsible for feelings of love in the body. Dopamine and serotonin also play a significant role.
Dopamine and serotonin are both “feel-good” neurotransmitters/hormones. Dopamine is generally known as and called the “reward center” and serotonin is the “happy hormone”.
Love also exists between mothers and their children. During childbirth, and later, breast milk production, oxytocin is released, fostering the bond between the two.
Written beautifully by Helen Steiner Rice in their poem, A Mother’s Love, they describe motherhood,
“It is made of deep devotion
and of sacrifice and pain,
It is endless and unselfish
and enduring come what may
For nothing can destroy it
or take that love away.”
Platonic love stems from the Greek Philosopher, Plato. Platonic, or friend love, blends with brotherly love and can feel comforting, especially at school. It makes you feel less alone.
Think of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. One of the main characters, Carmen, asks and answers, “You want to know what the secret is? It’s so simple. We love one another. We’re nice to one another. Do you know how rare that is?”
While not shared between more than one person, self-love is just as important as any other type.
In her song, Born This Way, Lady Gaga sings,
“Listen to me when I say
I'm beautiful in my way 'cause God makes no mistakes
I'm on the right track, baby, I was born this way
Don't hide yourself in regret, just love yourself, and you're set
I'm on the right track, baby, I was born this way”
Loving yourself looks like respect, kindness, forgiveness, and meeting your own needs.
This author believes that love is real, and maybe true love starts with you and your mom who’s given you your favorite jacket, and your dad who cooks you your favorite veggies, and your aunties who always offer to make you a plate of food, and your friends who share their apples and laugh at your jokes.
Happy Valentine’s Day Mesa Nation!