Love is not an emotion

Dr. Joel Ying, MD

Physician, Educator, Storyteller. He hosts this website for "Living the Present Moment" as a conscious journey of Body, Mind, Emotion & Spirit. Holistic and integrative, his practice includes Tai Chi and Yoga, Craniosacral Therapy, Healing From the Core, Meditation. Always exploring his edges, he shares them in the blog, newsletter, courses, and online study group.

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“When an emotion is healthy, it arises only when it’s needed, it shifts and changes in response to its environment, and it recedes willingly once it has addressed an issue. When love is healthy, it does none of those things…. Love is not an emotion; it doesn’t behave the way emotions do. Real love is in a category of its own.”
—Karla McLaren, The Language of Emotions

“What’s wrong?” I said to my friend, who looked visibly sad.

“I’m in love,” he said devoid of emotion, and then covered his face, holding back tears.

“Most people are happy when they say that,” I said.

“I am,” his voice disappearing into swallowed tears.

I was speechless. It took me a moment before I realized that I had just spoken from one of those fairy tale preconceived notions of love as always joyful, blissful, and “happily ever after.” Falling in love is not the same as being in love. I can still LOVE someone and be mad, glad, sad, afraid, or any of the entire range of emotions in between. Real love endures all emotions and survives.

“Real love is a prayer and a deathless promise: an unwavering dedication to the soul of your loved one and to the soul of the world.”
—Karla McLaren, The Language of Emotions