Is love purely an emotion, or is it an action?

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Since childhood, we have learnt ‘love’ to be abstract. It can only be felt and experienced. But, Becky Xu explains love is more than just an emotion. We think love to be a deep affection for another person, but she says: “Love is also an action that comes as a result of the emotion”.

She adds, “Seeing love only as an emotion makes it very difficult to recognise from people that say they love us or people that don’t say it but show it in different ways. One will appreciate that love comes in the form of action motivated by deep affection. We can begin to appreciate the different ways that people love us.” 

Xu shares in her TED Talk that apart from celebrating Chinese New Year and their birthdays, her family never enjoyed other occasions. She says: “My parents never saw love as a celebration instead they saw love as a responsibility.”

She shares a childhood story explaining how love does not need to be spoken, it can be sensed. Highlighting a recent experience of a candlelight dinner with her husband organised by her son, Becky says: “This is his generation’s way of showing love to parents and themselves. Although it is different from how either I or my husband express love, we recognised his gesture for what it was and that is an action motivated by his deep affection for us, and that is love.”

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