Love is messy, complicated, and hard, especially in college, or at any age, to think about it. The actual, physical chemistry of love is pretty simple. When you find someone you like, it is really a combination of dopamine, serotonin, estrogen, and testosterone. We find people whose chemical levels match or complement our own. Love looks different to every person and there are many different types of love.
However, there is much more than just the science behind it. There is passion, kindness, fear...feelings. While I find little kids' answers about love adorable, I decided to do my own investigation into it. From college kids to adults, love is important to everyone. So I decided to ask real people for real answers, and here is what I found.
Pam, 56: "Love looks like compassion, no judgement, no blame. I always teach my girls to love themselves first and not be critical as they change. Once we love ourselves unconditionally only then can we love others unconstitutionally. Love is truth, free and ever changing. I believe in staying open and willing to learn more about yourself every day. Once we can be loving to ourselves then we can share with others that love. Love looks like trust, freedom, support and makes one a better person today than they were yesterday."
Emiliano, 21: "Love to me is when you care so much about someone that it pains you when they are in pain. There are different types of love, such as loving your family, being in love, and loving
your friends, which is more of a bond but constitutes as love most often with your closest friends/ some friends that you consider family."
Luke, 20: "I guess to me, it means that you fall more and more in love with the person that you plan to spend your future with every day. It means you can really be yourself with each other because you love each other for all of the quirks and flaws you have."
Margee, 20: "To me, love means coming home to a full fridge and lots of hugs from my family."
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Mary, 20: "Love is selfless and unconditional. It means putting somebody else's wants, needs, and goals before yours and never letting them lose sight of it."
Ben, 20: "To me, love is finding 'home' in one person. Love isn't finding someone you can live with, but someone you can't live without. Someone that you love for their perfect imperfections, and someone you would rather laugh/argue/be with over anyone else. Love starts as a concept and develops into a person."
Elli, 21: "Love is caring more about someone than yourself and putting their needs before yours, not because you have to, but because you want to."
Eric, 19: "Love is waking up in the middle of a field of yellow grass with the last rays of the sun keeping you just warm enough to want to stay there forever."
Megan, 20: "I firmly believe love can't be defined, which might sound cliche, but it isn't something that I can confidently put into words, it simply differs from individual to individual. What I do know is that each and every individual on this Earth deserves the chance to find and feel love regardless of where it might come from. The love where no matter your best or your worst days it is there for you, love that can hold you and cradle in your fragile soul, making your heart feel warm once again.
It is love that in the darkest of times, when it feels as if the world is on your shoulders, can make you feel as though maybe everything will be okay. It is the reassurance, hope, and faith and a reminder that at the end of the day everything will be okay and that with each new day comes yet another chance to start all over again. Love helps you thrive, it pushes you to places you never thought you could go. It provides guidance as you grow and soar high above your fears and doubts. Love shows you the best person you can be and the motivation to reach for it. Love is diverse, but regardless it is simply a silly little four-letter word that can mean so much more when given the chance."
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Lindsey, 20: "To me, love looks like sacrificing certain things for the better of the person or even an activity you love."
Matt, 21: "Love, I guess, is willing to trust that one person with everything and not have to constantly reassure yourselves that you love each other. you just know."
Amy, 37: "To me, love is messy, scary, anxiety-ridden...and as important as oxygen. I'll take the occasional heartache and feeling of loss any day if it's the consequence of having a truly vulnerable heart that makes room for love of all kinds."
Isaac, 20: "Love is when someone is concerned for and makes a decision pertaining to the greatest good of someone else regardless of feelings and situation. Knowing the greatest good can be incredibly difficult. The decision to serve someone else in this way, can be painful for both people, but it is ultimately done in the interest of the person being loved."
Madeline, 22: "To me, love is eating your favorite flavor of ice cream and always having room for more."
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Jamie, 32: "Love is an action. Love is a choice. Love is a feeling . Love is the sweetest part of life. Love is forgiveness. Love is giving. Love is being open to new possibilities. Love is about compromise. Love is butterflies in your stomach. Love is knowing you would die to save your loved one. Love is the feeling of home. Love is letting your guard down and opening yourself to being vulnerable. Love is hard to find but easy to give away. Love is a struggle but it is also life's biggest pick me up. Love is sometimes unconditional and sometimes fleeting. Love is blind. Love is the best form of happiness. When you love someone you give them your time, and attention on good days and bad. Love is as much about giving as it is about receiving. Love is not all things shiny and gold. Love is eternal. How you love is who you are."
Joe, 20: "Love looks like commitment. Even through the ups, downs, and monotonous times of a relationship, you still can't imagine being without the other."
Erica, 21: "To me, love means five things: kindness, patience, respect, equality and acceptance. One of my favorite sappy quotes is 'love is not love, which alters when it alteration finds.' When life gets hard and things change, love remains the same."
Danny, 20: "That's a deep question! I think love has everything to do with empathy and sacrifice. Love to me is just when I can understand another person's feelings and motives (whether or not I agree with them) and he or she can mutually understand mine and we support each other's happiness through non-self-serving sacrifices."
Sarah, 21: "Love is really weird, and kind of scary. It's not easy to find and when you do, you just feel like you know. I'm in love with a guy that I met because we both 'swiped right!' Who would have thought?! But I know I'm in love because I want to share everything that happens during my day with him, I want to spend all my time with him, he makes me laugh harder than anyone I've ever met, he makes me smile bigger than every friend I've ever had, and he makes me happier than I've ever been! It's an odd feeling, love, because you feel as though you've been consumed by something and you can't define it! It's odd and overwhelming and happy all at the same time! It's like laughing till you tinkle and that happy place between tipsy and blackout drunk! It's weird, but that's the fun in it, because you don't know what to expect till its hit you right in the face!"
Shannon, 20: "Love to me is finding someone who is more your best friend than significant other. They're someone that makes you feel special, but isn't afraid to challenge you to make you a better person. They're the person who loves you for who you are and everything you want to be. But ultimately I would say I don't think love is by any means perfect, and you'll always have to work at it, but it's something that none of us can live without, and it's 100 percent worth it."
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Solange, 36: "Love looks like the willingness to persevere even after finding out, and then accepting -- really engaging with -- the truth that we will all lose each other in the end. That 's also what it looks like...love, just like family, is in the action. So knowing that this loss is imminent and continuing a relationship with a person in spite (dare I say because) of the brevity of our time together, is love."
Bjorn, 21: "I think love is acceptance. You love them despite any problems you have. The love you feel is unconditional. It's deep and true. You have no questions about their feelings about you. True love is what [my friends and I] have. No matter what happens. Our love overpowers all, and we love each other because of our true selves."
Michaela, 21: "Love looks like a watercolor sunrise, in which from afar you see pure beauty, but upon closer examination, you see delicate, fascinating imperfections, and no matter how hard you try, those tiny imperfections captivate your entire being."
Susan, 49: "Unconditional!"
Patrick, 21: "To me I guess love is simply being there for someone in their good times and their bad times. If you love someone you will always be there for them... Actually [love] is just oysters. They are love."
Olivia, 21: "To me love looks like always keeping that person in the front of your mind and putting them first just like they put you first, always doing what you can to make them happy. "
Jake, 20: "You caught me at a bad time to talk about love truthfully. Right now I think love is bull shit. Love is a name we give to people that we feel a physical and mental attraction to. If love was a real thing that lasts forever then divorce rates wouldn't be so high and people wouldn't cheat so often. Is that depressing?"
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Haley, 20: "Love looks like being told the worst about somebody and still believing that they can be the best person."
Phoebe, 20: "I don't know how to put it in eloquent terms, but to me, love is romantic love. It should be a partnership...in more of a power couple sense of the word. You should be able to take over the world together and support each other."
Meredith, 22: "Love is limitless, it knows no restraints or boundaries. To me, love is the thing that when you have found it with the right person, you can never be the same person because of them."
Dana, 20: "Love is imagined."
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