By Kathi Szabo

Love is an emotion. It can be elusive, and love can be overwhelming.

Love is an act. Love can be passionate, yet also innocent.

Love is a character strength.

Love – it’s something we all yearn for, yet occasionally can make us act foolishly, and can wound our spirit.

What is love really?

As a Character Strength, love is how we value close relationships and contribute to those relationships in a genuine way. It is reciprocal. Love is not only given, but one must also be open to receive it as well.  When we are at our best with love, there is an easy give and take. We see close relationships at part of our personal value, our worth. When we utilize love as strength, it helps us facilitate compassion, tolerance, and empathy which leads to healthy and long-term relationships. Having love in our lives, romantic and other forms, can bring purpose and meaning, which leads to a living in abundance, feeling fulfilled.

Love as an emotion is a strong positive feeling of caring for someone with commitment. There is a willingness to sacrifice for those we love. Love can be a euphoric feeling, caused by the release of dopamine, which makes us crave even more dopamine. When we fall in love, we literally crave being with this person because our body yearns for the dopamine. Now, not anyone can cause the release of dopamine, and I don’t know why some individuals cause our bodies to release this neurotransmitter, but once we find that person who causes such strong feelings that our bodies release dopamine, we want to spend more and more time with them. Not really a romantic tale here, but it’s how our bodies work when we start to feel love as an emotion.

Another chemical released when we fall in love is oxytocin, which boosts our feelings of attachment and trust. The release of oxytocin plays a part in our desire to be monogamous. It brings a feeling of safety with one particular person. This neurotransmitter is sometimes called the “love hormone” because our bodies produce high levels at the beginning of a relationship.

So, love is an emotion that is intensified by a number of chemicals in our bodies that make us feel even higher levels of positive emotion. It is a clear indicator of mind-body connection. And it is no wonder our natural instinct is to want to feel love.

But what is love as an action? As a verb. When we love someone what does that mean? What action are we taking? This is where it can get complicated.

We take action because we have thoughts and emotions. And those actions produce results, which either reinforce our original thoughts or sometimes have us seeing things differently. But what are the thoughts and emotions that cause us to take action, to love someone? And do we all show love in the same way?

Have you ever wondered if how you love someone is the way they want to be loved? We all have our own beliefs and thoughts, each of us is different, so a particular act of love to me, may not speak love to my partner. Have you ever felt that your spouse or partner doesn’t love you? Or at least not in the way you desire to be loved. Maybe it’s that they don’t call when they are going to be late. Or maybe to feel loved you need them to help with the household chores more? But they are thinking, “I’m late because I’m taking a client to dinner so that they sign on and I get that bonus so we can take that trip to Hawaii.” Or maybe they skip the household chores because they are busy making the yard look like an oasis so you can sit and relax on the weekends. There are so many acts of love, and some actions produce the emotion, while others leave us feeling only half full. It’s no wonder many couples are not as happy in their relationship as they would like to be!

Now, I’m no expert on Love and Relationships. But I do know that my first husband and I loved each other, but not in the ways the other wanted to be loved. Mark and I don’t have a perfect relationship, but we are better at communicating our desires, what makes each of us feel loved as well as being more explicit when some of our actions are intended as acts of love. Since focusing on our well-being, including our mindset, we have found a stronger connection, less arguments and a deeper sense of contentment.

Join us as we host our friend and Certified Transformational Mindset and Relationship Coach, Cindy McKee, for Minding the Heart, on Saturday February 13 at 11am. Cindy will walk us through a step-by-step process that will help everyone discover how beliefs that you don’t even know you have, are creating the results you don’t want. Whether in a relationship or looking for one, you will learn how those beliefs are keeping you from experiencing the love and connection you crave.

You’ll learn WHY we find ourselves stuck in repeating patterns and some very simple techniques for breaking free from them.

Join us in this rich, interactive class where you’ll discover how true love is just yours for the asking. Bring your journal, maybe a friend, and your already open mind!

This is a FREE event, your simply need to register via our special events calendar,