The word love arouses mixed conceptions in different societies and among individuals. Love has various definitions for apprehension ranging from a mere social construct, a personal fantasy and sometimes love is defined as a solemn sense of compassion and care. The different apprehensions and definitions that people acquire from the word love are relative and highly subjective. The definitions are dependable on different perspectives and points of perception of the person providing the definition. The etymology of the word love traces to multiple sources. The variance in sources contributes to the variety of definitions and meanings associated with love. In the Old English, it is called lufu which is used to refer to a sense of sexual attraction, affection or friendliness. In the Proto-Germanic context, love originated from the word liubu whose use indicates the presence of joy. For the Dutch culture, the word lof is used, and it communicates a meaning of compassion. In the basic English, love means points to different feelings, attitudes, and emotional states that range from interpersonal affections to pleasure. Ideally, love may be used to tell of a strong attraction that leads to the personal attachment between two or more people.
From the normative perspective, love is a sense of charm, passion, or compassion felt for something or someone. This passion or charm may be expressed to the object of focus in different styles that are directed by the societal context of the individual. When using the religious or ethical perspective, love is comprehended as a virtue. Having love for a person, animal or object is interpreted by showing care, compassion or kindness to the object of desire (Fehr, Beverley & Russell, 1991). Understanding love from a moral standpoint implies focusing ones concern for the good of others and wishing them well or even helping them succeed in what they are doing. It is demonstrated through performance of good deeds, giving good wishes, sharing time, resources, care, concern, giving support and celebrating the achievements of others. Moral love is expressed by the performance of actions that loving human beings do to others for them to succeed or feel comfortable. All these definitions of love express the lack of a single and objective meaning of the word. As such most sources that value objectivity in definitions defines love as an abstract concept that is related to the expression of feelings and emotions from the person in love to object or person of their love. The definitions also express the effect of the cultural context in apprehension and expression of love. The paper will explore the various meanings inherent and constructed about love in the 21st century.
The 21st-century comprehension of the word love is partly traditional and partly contemporary (Fehr, Beverley & Russell, 1991). Currently, love is associated with fancy things, celebrations, and joy. In essence, love is related to things or people who evoke feel-good emotions and events. For instance, there is a general belief that many of the love stories end with a wedding and after that, there is an assumption that the couple ends up happy and together for the rest of their lives. Using this viewpoint as a point of referral, love appears to be a precursor to joy, happiness, and peaceful coexistence. In this sense, the twenty-first-century lovers are expected to nurture tolerance for one another despite the situations of hardships or happiness that one may be undergoing (Fehr, Beverley & Russell, 1991).
Among the religious adults in the current century, love means being empathic, sympathetic, and comforting to people who face challenging moments in their lives. The meaning of love changes depending on the context, for instance, love among a newlywed couple might imply being there for the other person through sorrows and joy. This love is consummated and results in children that are a sign of the present love. Among lovebirds who are in courtship, love is understood as offering each other the best side of life full of gifts, presents, and new experiences. Love in this sense is portrayed as a state of perfection in relationships and courtship. In most cases, people in a relationship subject themselves to achieve the ideal or perfect relationships which are mostly idealistic. The high expectations vested in love in a dating relationship has become an essential characteristic that defines love in 21st-century. Unfortunately, the demands are too much much sometimes, and the pressure in dating and relationships sometimes kill passions as people struggle to achieve the perfect, idealistic standards instead of offering the feeling of love.
In the twenty-first century, talking about love means that the person has been overtaken by emotions and cannot help how they feel. Love is something precious and deserves to be nurtured and safeguarded being provided with space to grow and flourish. However, marriages today are inclined to end up in divorce. The commonness of divorces and re-marriages void the concept that love needs to be nurtured and tarnishes the concept of patience and acceptance in a relationship. However, from a different perspective, re-marriages today attest to a view that love can be rebuilt even after being broken. After a divorce, most men and women take only a short time to heal and open themselves to relationships in an attempt to find love again. In the twenty-first century, love is seen as a catalyst to buffer against stress, overall toughness, and depression since it gives a person the chance to connect socially with other human beings (Fehr, Beverley & Russell, 1991). Today love signifies a meaning in life, and it is a virtue used widely to change the world.
In summary, the conception of what love is and its implications are diverse. The point from which one looks at the word, their beliefs, environment, the state of mind; religious background and contemporary issues influence how they define it. However, one outstanding thing is that love occurs between and among human agents; it can also be expressed in the form of a feeling.
Fehr, Beverley, and James A. Russell. "The concept of love viewed from aprototype perspective." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 60.3 (1991): 425.
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