Are Emotional Disorders Really Disorders of Love? - Mad In AmericaI now want to boil down the role of love in our lives into a simple observation: Nearly all human personal or emotional success depends upon being able to give and to accept love, and nearly all human personal failure reflects an inability to do so. My own working definition of love is “joyful awareness”—the experience of happiness over the existence of something or someone, including whatever or whomever inspires us, from family and friends to nature and God. From experiencing romantic love to admiring heroes who lift our ideals; from enjoying the birds that flit about us in our backyard to watching children or animals play—love is an enthusiastic engagement in life. When we love people and pets, as well as God, we became able not only to give love but also to receive it.