The English word love can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from pleasure ("I loved that meal") to interpersonal attraction ("I love my partner"). It can refer to an emotion of a strong affection and personal attachment.It can also be a virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection—"the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another".And it may describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one's self or animals.
In terms of interpersonal attraction, four forms of love have traditionally been distinguished, based on ancient Greek precedent: the love of kinship or familiarity (in Greek, storge), the love of friendship (philia), the love of sexual and/or romantic desire (eros), and self-emptying or divine love (agape).Modern authors have distinguished further varieties of romantic love.Non-Western traditions have also distinguished variants or symbioses of these states. This diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, compared to other emotional states.
Love in its various forms acts as a major facilitator of interpersonal relationships and, owing to its central psychological importance, is one of the most common themes in the creative arts.
Love may be understood as part of the survival instinct, a function to keep human beings together against menaces and to facilitate the continuation of the species.