Love Is An Ability And Not An Emotion

19 Feb
Love is an ability not an emotion. A strong statement for me to make, but I believe it is the right statement. If you break down love into an aspect of levels, you can see that to love is to have an ability to do so. For instance, can a child love his or her parents? Most, I presume would answer a definitely, yes! However, let us break things down a bit further. You cannot have an emotion floating without having the ability to do so. When a child comes into this world, he or she doesn’t love, he and she doesn’t know how. Throughout the years, the child learns how to have that ability. An ability to love and to care for the other person.
Now, let us ask another question. What is the difference between, an emotion and an ability? An emotion is a feeling created through the use of using your brain. When you look at something, you give it value. For instance, when you look at a rose, some will agree the beauty in it. However, if another person who has never seen a rose, looks at it. The person will disagree that it has any significant beauty.
Let us focus now on the ability part. The ability is a feeling that can be considered an emotion, but you cannot compare apples nor oranges, now can you? Having an ability is not easy as it sounds. Considering, in order to have any ability, you must develop it. For instance, when you work out a body part long enough, you will in return, see it gradually developing from being flabby, skinny into more defined body part. An ability, is more like a muscle. The more you work on love, the easier it becomes in the long run.
I have outlined a few of my philosophies and hope to write many more. I will most likely expand this, into more simpler language. For now, however, I hope that it gives everyone something to think about.
Boneman  said…I want to agree with you but for some minor problems I have with the idea of it being ‘structured’….
Love really was overwhelming when it hit me. No work involved at all, just fall stupid in love, but….not being returned occurred at a later time, and then I felt a different sting of emotion.
Nothing structured could help me then. Geez.And, for all I put into the gig, it went south on me, anyway?
That really sucks!Oh, heck yeah.
If I had given up smoking cigarettes and drinking booze during our first year of marriage, maybe it would have lasted?
Not bloody likely.
She got bored because I’m a boring kind of guy.So, whatever emotional investment I put in was tossed from the moving car into the creek along with my boring butt, and the car sped off.Oh well.
Win some lose some.

(I was a lot more torn up by it twenty years ago)


Anesha  said…I agree that Love is an ability because it is a choice and we have learn to love. True love is not an emotion but an act. Dr Leaf has some great research on the brain and emotions worth a look. 

Genevieve  said…

I truly believe that we manifest what we magnify.

“Writing has laws of perspective, of light and shade just as painting does, or music. If you are born knowing them, fine. If not, learn them. Then rearrange the rules to suit yourself” – Truman Capote

I’d say you have…

Walker  said…

Great post even though I don’t agree on all of it and not because of how you presented it because it was brilliant but the world would be bland and dull without opinions.
A baby is born a blank slate and becomes what it’s parents mold it into from it’s current state.
The mother’s nurtures it creating a bond between both through necessity.
Mother mature has instilled these feeling into our dna which are triggered through a chemical reaction in our bodies but this is where it stops.

The rest as far as humans go and maybe a few other critters, expand on our feelings.
Love grows through those early years and we carry it on from there.
We then create the ability to share it outside the family unit.
You can’t just wake up one morning and say you will fall in love today.
Like a mother who holds her child for the first time, they both have to feel the energy between them before they could bond.

An ability is but the will to do something
Feelings are the action
Love is the product
Just my opinion

Now for some reason I want a blueberry muffin, that’s my stomach’s opinion and it usually wins.
Thank you for stopping by and I will be back.

Fida  said…

Thanks for visiting my blog, it’s appreciated.
Love – that is deep. Maybe love is an emotional ability, already implemented in us? When my daughter was born we didn’t have time to bond, because she was ill and had to be brought into another Hospital, and I couldn’t visit her on a regular basis. But if love is a learned ability, than how come she reacted completely different to me (or even her father) than to the nurses?

She hyperventilated quite frequently, and even at my first visit, she completely calmed down when I took her in my arms. Just before I visited the second time she was hyperventilating so much, that they even wanted to put her on life support, but when I arrived and took her from the nurse, she calmed down again. It’s not that the nurses didn’t do the same, they were wonderful; it just didn’t work as well. Is that learned? Or did she “feel” a different emotion from me than from the nurses?

From my own experience, I only can say that there is something within us that lets us fall head over heels for somebody without knowing this person, but that it doesn’t happen with everybody. And I think if it is a learned ability, I should be able to fall in love with just about anybody the same way, right? I like people, animals, nature, but I don’t love everybody, not even if I wanted to. I fell in love at first sight with one of my brothers children, and even though I like the other 3 extremely, that ‘emotion’ of love is just for the one there. Now, normally I say (and I really mean it) that I love all four of them. But when I think about the emotion behind, then I have to say, that there is much more love for the one, and that doesn’t involve any work. Or she didn’t do anything else or more than the other three. The same thing happened to me with my friend’s children: With one, I was immediately in love (and he’s a brat), but still, there’s no work involved from my side. With the other one, I have to work on that emotion called Love, even though he’s the sweet one. Talk about justice!

Marriage, of course, is a completely different thing. If one doesn’t work on the love thing, it’ll probably go down the drain. Even if I fall head over heels, to continue to love that person after we really get to know him (or her), that involves ability to love and work (I think, but what the blurb do I really know?)

And if we go into the murderers, killers, rapists… well, even people who grew up in a loving and supporting environment, turned out ‘bad’ and their siblings ‘good’. But that’s a whole other topic, and I wrote already too much.

One thing is for sure, it’s complicated 🙂

Tantra flower  said…

Love can be both a noun and a verb. I agree with you that love is an ability, but that does not mean that it cannot also be an emotion. But the thing about emotions is that they only serve the individual. When we feel love we get the warm fuzzies, which are wonderful and I’m not downplaying the importance of that warmth. But what good does it do me that you feel love for me? Can I feel this love you feel for me? Can I see it? Where is it? Unless you show me love, I do not know it is there. We have to choose to be loving. This is a mindful thing, but (most of) our minds and hearts are connected. Show love through nurturing, compassion and respect and then you will find you feel it, more deeply and richly than you have ever felt before. My favorite example of this can be seen in people who adopt a child.

I have more than a million other thoughts on this, but I will leave it at that. This was a great post. I’m happy to have made your acquaintance. Thank you so much for visiting my blog of simple ramblings and taking the time to comment. Namaste

Sam  said…

What is love?

If you have ever been to a wedding then you’d no doubt have heard the famous discourse from the thirteenth book of first Corinthians describing some of the many facets of love:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not-self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails!

It sounds like a choice, a matter of ability, but I don’t believe that man has the inherent ability to love altruistically because true love is sacrificial, and in and of himself man tends to this one end: the happiness of self. The two are diametrically opposed.

True love is sacrificial! We often talk about unconditional love, but have you ever stopped to think about how much it costs the individual to love someone else unconditionally? Unconditional love means loving someone who doesn’t meet any of your conditions!

Repaying evil with good, anger with kindness, selfishness with selflessness, faithlessness with faithfulness, taking with giving, slander and gossip with gracious, loving speech – and all with gentleness and patience – though it cost you everything for possibly nothing in return. Listen to the words of Christ: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you! If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also, if someone takes your cloak, give him your tunic. If someone compels you to go one mile with him, go with him two miles. True love has a high price tag!

In fact, Christ names the price: Greater love has no one than this; that he lay down his life for his friends [even his enemies]. And this is not the natural inclination of man.

I believe true love is a response. Why? Because the scriptures make it abundantly clear: We love [with a true, sacrificial love] because He first loved us! (1 John 4:19)

Take the following account from the gospel recorded by Luke:

Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii [a day’s wage] and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

Luke 7:36-48

Why did the woman love much? Because she had been forgiven much! Her love for Christ was a direct response of Christ’s love for her.

God works in our hearts to love unconditionally, as He loves unconditionally. In fact it is only by truly comprehending the great love God has for us, demonstrated by Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross (dying in our place to save us from the punishment that our sins deserve), that we can love at all. First, we begin to love Him for who He is and what He has done. Second, we begin to love those around us out of the riches of God’s great love for us that is working in our hearts.

Understanding and experiencing this great love God has for us causes us to respond in kind; and equips us with the ability to respond.

So is love an ability or a response? Only through Christ do we have the ability to respond!

Ing. Vladimír Hrouda  said…

Really great post, Leon.
Thanks. I guess, are’nt your thoughts based on connection between Asian psychological systems based on Abhidhamma and present western science? I see in it partially Buddha’s sequence of experiencing: action-reality, bodily experienced meaning with accompanying feeling, thoroughly apprehended and at the end plan for an approprite strategy = love 🙂


“Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you.”
 Wayne Dyer quotes

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