Love Is Not An Emotion
At least, love is not primarily an emotion, among emotionally mature people on whom love has fallen.
There are many variants of the idea of love including: passionate, altruistic, pragmatic, maniacal, playful without commitment, and trusting with affection. You can, no doubt, construct a list of your own.
As a therapist, I often heard the statement, “I love him (or less often her”) spoken as an excuse. The speaker used “love” as an excuse for staying involved with someone who took advantage of the speaker in one or more of an almost unlimited number of ways. The speaker usually had less than optimal respect for herself/himself. (As a therapist, I grew to hate the buzzwords, “low self-esteem.”)
Tonight I passed the pepper, unasked, to the light of my life because she is arm-reach challenged. (The top of her head is not as far off the ground as mine either. We often hug with her standing one step above me on the stairs. Sometimes in bed I touch the bottom of her feet with the top of mine.) I could reach the peppershaker. She could not. I know she likes pepper on her corn on the cob.
That’s a silly illustration of my belief that love is/can be a series of actions that demonstrate the well-being of the one I love is as important as my own. That’s different from and sometimes mistaken for being selfless. I didn’t pepper my corn because I don’t like eating corn with pepper.
In therapy I often talked to clients about the Judeo/Christian/Muslim/Buddhist/What-have-you concept of, “loving your neighbor as yourself.” Neither less nor more.
I am convinced if you do not value yourself, you cannot find a meaningful substitute in your feeling for another. It’s tempting to try. It’s also tempting to allow another to treat you as a superior being worthy of adoration. However, you are not a superior being worthy of adoration. You are an equal being worthy of giving and receiving adoration.
Over the wall of perception that separates each of us from another you can toss bricks or you can toss roses. There is no guarantee of what will come sailing back at any particular moment. Over time, I promise you, roses get a better response.