So by the time we become adults and have some mastery (or lack) of vocabulary to get into such discussions, we've already inherited a complete load of programming and conditioning on what is associated (or not) with certain terms.
But if we back up to early childhood - shortly after we have a small vocabulary including the word "love" I think we get a more pure view. How often have we heard kids say they "love" a friend, AND seen them exhibit all the classic behavior associated with a deep caring for someone ?
To me at least, this is the closest we have to the pure and natural flow of such a phenomenon as love/caring. If these children have been raised in a loving & nurturing environment where detection and expression of caring is encouraged, we get to observe the flow of connections in it's most natural form.
Unfortunately, from that point on, we start to become influenced by older people's definitions/boxes. This caring may no longer flow naturally, but now becomes dissected and filtered through whatever cultural moors we've been exposed to. The natural flow is now interrupted.
We find ourselves having this internal conversation............
"Hmmm....I have this attraction to this person ! I feel some connection ! Is this "love" ? NO ! Can't be ! I'm not allowed..........because <<pick your reason>>
But who are these two entities having this internal conversation ??????????
There's the conditioned one.........the speaker.
But who/what is the other - the detector-the 'feeler' ?
Which one has the more healthy connection to the natural flow of life as a human ? And the potential that comes with that ?
I don't know................
Somewhere there has to be a balance.............