• Rasha Alkhadra رشا الخضرا

Do you really know what love is!

What is love? An inner feeling, a noun, a verb, or maybe just an idea? Is it a scientific fact? Is it the common denominator of all religions or the greatest taboo?

Is it worship or just a neurological and hormonal phenomenon? Maybe it's all of it.

Is the definition of love fixed when you enter into the state and change when you get out of it, does your experiences of love affect your perception or understanding of it?

Love may be the most common thought in human history, some say it's an overwhelming feeling towards someone, but "feeling" is a floating term you can't adopt as a definition. Love is also a set of behaviours associated with this overwhelming feeling, holding hands, flirting in front of the public, kissing or at least wanting to do so, dating and meeting, getting married and maybe having children or just intimate closeness and sexual intercourse. All of this is to mention but not limited to the fact that the methods of expressing love differ among all beings!

But all these behaviours are entirely personal and follow the customs of society. For example, you may love, but you don't want to get married or you don't recognize it as a sign of love. You may not be able to have children or you simply don't want to. Not to mention the different ways of dating and meeting from one place to another and from one culture to another. That's why we may disagree to the extent of contradiction in the definition of love or in determining what results from this feeling or its inter-connotation. That is, you may be addicted to this person and develop a certain form of behaviour based on this addiction, but why may this addiction stop between some couples while others continue throughout life. What's the reason?

Our concept of love is shaped by our experiences, including our relationship with our parents and what we have seen and heard in the media and TV series. Add to this the chemistry of our brain and how we analyse events and our expectations based on the culture of our society and our personalities.

And with a simple approach to define love among the scientific community!! We know that what is happening is a change in the level of neurotransmitters in the blood, some of which increase and some of them decrease with a brief introductory view of the functions of these hormones associated with the biochemistry of love.

Oxytocin and vasopressin "emotion and bond hormones" make you a romantic person in love. While men have vasopressin rises whenever they are sexually attracted to women, it drops sharply after intimacy. While the rise of testosterone in men inhibits oxytocin, the later rises gradually as more bonding is being formed.

In a study they found that people committed to their partners have high levels of oxytocin both within marriage and within a committed relationship, suggesting that the commitment of men is an important evidence of their love for women regardless of the form of commitment.

The most common hormone in people, dopamine, known as the happiness hormone when it increases in males as cortisol (the stress hormone) increases, decreases serotonin secretion. Of course, the high level of neurotransmitters leads to a higher number of receptors, a gradual process that circulates within our brains during a love affair, i.e. falling in love is gradual. But why? What triggers these changes with the presence of this particular person and not others? It may be someone who fills in an important field that has been formed since childhood and whose imagination lies in our subconscious until we encounter a reality or someone who reflects what we loved in our parents or public figures, and may be the exact opposite of what we hated in the closest people to us through our childhood.

But apart from chemistry and science, what is the definition of love in people?

Hazar Al-Kasir, 29, told me that love is an energy that makes you capable of doing everything, but that can have difficult consequences, because “the rush to give” may affect the other side negatively and lead to its retreat or take the enthusiastic partner for granted and offers nothing.

And I stand here to wonder, is love conditioned by mutual giving? Is the concept of love linked to its continuity, otherwise it is not love at all? Is love a case of feeling that we are going through for a temporary time so that we try with all our energy to gain more time with the lover until that desire is over? Or is love deep feelings based on several components that we see in the beloved and see a sense of completeness with him/her or inner peace, so we seek the continuity of this situation?

On the other hand, especially after understanding the hormonal mechanism of feelings of love, can love be platonic or is sex an essential component of the completeness of love, and does this mean that Ghassan Kanafani's messages to Ghada Al-Saman were a case far from love in its integrated sense?

Luai, 35, expressed his personal opinion on the definition of love as a flame created between two people to form a code that establishes a common relationship in which passion, understanding, friendship, respect and sex prevail. As for the continuation of love within the committed common relationship is subjected to parity of feelings and understanding the nature and requirements of this partnership in the self and the other, and when a corner of it is destroyed the relationship is open to all possibilities, with an exception related to sacrifice either by one party or by the partners.

Naela al-Akhdara said “The relationship is similar to a balance in the bank and we add to it whenever we can and when we make a mistake we withdraw from our balance. The more we fill this balance with supportive attitudes, attention and respect, the more it continues to exist.

It is also necessary to renew and may be traveling or staying away from the monotonous atmosphere and staying away from the partner temporarily only to assess the meaning of life without the partner, and to know the value of having that partner in life. Love is not possession but giving”.

"Love is accompanied by a sense of happiness, joy, tranquillity and warmth, and it fills the heart of the person who loves, which is an urgent and fundamental need for human psychological balance," says Abdul Aziz Al-Khadra. Psychological analysts have agreed that "love is a need in itself and completely independent of sexual need, and psychological studies have confirmed that "a person who enjoys psychological stability feels the need for emotional engagement with others and seeks emotional response from someone who looks like him not only in terms of external form, but also in terms of psychological and social needs."

For the continuity of this feeling, respect must be provided: it means respecting each other And also knowing your true partner, not superficial knowledge. This requires recognizing the advantages and disadvantages of the other and trying to accept them, in addition to keeping away from excessive jealousy and sticking to the beloved, and having tenderness and attention at all levels, not only physical but also psychological and social.

With the innocence of childhood, my 11-year-old daughter expressed to me love by saying, "Try to do everything to make the beloved happy," nizar Qabbani simply knew when he said "Say I love you to increase my beauty", so love and the presence of this lover bring the best out of us !

As for the correlation between love and the presence of sex, I think that many writers and commentators refrain from going into this detail because of the social legacies that consider talking about sex is a criminal thing that may diminish the value of love as a noble concept, so they moved away from from realism and from the science that linked them categorically as I said.

Love is in its early stages a small seed that must be watered by both parties with care and support in all forms to grow and blossom. If one side waters this plant, this partner will dry up, and if the two parties stop watering it, it dies even after a while. There is no life after death here, and remorse will not work. That's why when two people fall in love, there must be a deep and frank discussion between them about their concept and definition of this emerging love and the expectations that are based on it, and expect ingesting difference and trying to overcome it through dialogue!

Rasha Alkhadra

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