How Do People Define Love?

Urban Dictionary’s top definition of love is “nature’s way of tricking people into reproducing.” While the Merriam Webster Dictionary defines love as “a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.”

People often spit out the word love when they are describing how much they enjoy ice cream or a TV show. They also use the word when they are expressing strong feelings towards another individual.

We have a hard time understanding the depth of what love is when we are children, but as time passes we learn how complex that single word can be. Our life experiences and situations alter our definition of love.

In 21 years my definition of love has changed drastically.

After training to become a yoga instructor, the word love became so much more than the definition it holds. Love became a synonym for happiness, trust and gratitude. I learned to love that moment when I step outside and smell fresh air for the first time in the morning; those small moments bring me happiness every day. I learned to love my body and its ability to move in different directions; that love taught me to trust my body and be grateful for its ability to house my soul.

As I have matured I have learned that love is both selfish and selfless. To love yourself you must be selfish at times, while to love others you must be selfless all the time. Love is a balancing act that brings about happiness, trust and gratitude with the people and experiences that bless my life.

Definitions of love vary based on people’s experiences and circumstances. I took a day to ask people of all different ages and backgrounds what their definition of love is. Some are witty and all are honest. Nonetheless, they are all definitions of love.

“I agree with Marie Howe, agreeing with Simone Weil, who says that when you really love, you are able to look at someone you want to eat and not eat them.” — Nels Christensen, Associate Professor of English.

“Will I cherish you, adore you, make way for you, make myself better for you, look at you and always see you, tell you the truth? And if love is not these things, then what things?” Jeannette Winterson, Written on the Body — Jess Roberts, Professor of English.

“My definition of love includes the principle of commitment, the type of devoted commitment that carries a couple through life with all of its challenges. Of course, I believe romantic love begins with attraction at all levels — physical, emotional and intellectual. For me, the perfect standards for love come from 1 Corinthians 13. ‘Love is the most powerful force on earth and life’s greatest joy.’” — Stacey Lossia Tuohy (‘90)

“To me, the definition of love is the unwavering commitment and resolve to another person in good times and bad. Love is the foundational pillar in a relationship that enables both to continue growing in their devotion to one another throughout their lifetimes. Love is knowing another person would do anything to support and care for you without judgment.” — Steve Tuohy (‘91)

“I think that a lot of people these days confuse love with comfort. When you hear them talk about love they say something like when you hold them in your arms you know it’s right or that feeling you get when you see them. I think love is more than that comfort. Love to me is absolute trust in every sense of the word. You trust to share your whole body and soul with the person. You trust to share your hopes and dreams and know that they will support you in anything. Trust is what allows you to give yourself completely over to another person. Without that, then it just is not love.” — Ryan Head (‘18)


Zachary from Covenant Pre-School

Zachary from Covenant Pre-School Take 2

Roman & Zachary’s Mom

“There are so many words one can use to define love. I personally think it all depends on where someone is in their life. For me, I am married with three kids, so if I were to describe love today I would define it as fulfillment, a deep affection for my husband and children and being fulfilled with their happiness every day.” — Britney Shina

Adam Defines Love

Annabelle from Covenant Pre-School Defines Love

Adam & Annabelle’s Mom

“Love to me is happiness. It’s what puts you at peace with yourself and others, what makes you kind, what makes you trust and especially what puts a smile on your face always!” — Reeta Shina

Photo by Morgan Garmo

About Morgan Garmo 23 Articles
Morgan is a senior from West Bloomfield, Michigan, majoring in finance and professional writing. She is currently the Director of Strategic Planning for a non-profit called Fleece & Thank You, which provides pediatric inpatients with no-sew fleece blankets. She is on the strategy team for the non-profit Give Young, which strives to help the millennial generation learn about different non-profits. Morgan is also a yoga teacher.

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