There’s been a lot of talk about hate lately, but I haven’t heard much discussion about the better emotion—love. Ah, love. Amore. Liebe. Milosc. Love is a powerful feeling. We sing about love. We write stories about love. People will go to extreme lengths to attain it.
But what is love? It’s more than just a feeling, an emotion. The Bible gives a view of what love is.
We could all benefit from this kind of love if we practiced it regularly. Imagine how different the world would be if people loved like this from the beginning. Oscar Wilde wrote in A Woman of No Importance, “Who, being loved, is poor?”
Love has been around for a long time, and there is more than one type. The ancient Greeks recognized the many forms of love and gave them each a name.
Below are the eight types of love with some quotes in literature as examples:
Mania (Obsessive Love)
When love becomes an obsession, it becomes Mania love. This blind singleness of purpose can show up as co-dependency, stalking behavior, extreme jealousy, and even violence. One could presume Mania to be the antitheses of love, but to those who experience mania, love itself is a means of rescuing themselves. Be it suffering from poor self-esteem or to reinforce their own value, this type of love fills their aching soul.
Philautia (Self Love)
This type of love can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on how much you have. It’s easy to have too little or too much. The Greeks understood that we must first learn to care for ourselves if we want to care for others.
We must recognize that we are beautiful creations that deserve respect, but we also must not hold ourselves above others with pride. Aristotle said, “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.”
Eros (Passionate Love)
Named after the Greek God of fertility, Eros is passion, lust, and pleasure. It is also primal, powerful, and intense. The ancient Greeks considered this type of love to be dangerous and frightening because it often involved a loss of control. Hormones and our need to procreate drive this type of love, and it is likely to burn out quickly if not supported by a less superficial love.
Ludus (Playful Love)
Ludus love is what we feel in the early stages of a relationship. It’s that playful flirting and affection. It is also the laughter and banter with friends and dancing with a stranger. The focus is on youthful fun. One might consider it love for the sake of love. It’s casual and tickles the senses, but is undemanding.
I have suggestions, but this might not be the place for them.Lora Leigh, Forbidden Pleasure
Pragma (Committed Love)
Pragma is the hallmark of a healthy, long-term relationship. Built on commitment, understanding, and long-term best interests, it is a unique harmony between two people. A romantic relationship may begin with Eros love, but Pragma love sustains it. Pragma love is one that has aged and matured. It is about making compromises, showing patience, and tolerance.
Storge (Family Love)
Storge is a natural form of affection between family members. It’s a protective, kinship-based love common between parents and their children, and children for their parents. Siblings have a similar sentiment when they stick up for each other. Storge can also describe a sense of allegiance to the same team or of patriotism toward a country.
Philia (Friendship Love)
Plato felt that physical attraction wasn’t necessary when it came to love, hence the use of the word platonic to mean, “without physical attraction.” This is what we have with Philia love. It’s a love based on mutual respect, shared devotion, joint interests, and shared values. Philia is a special bond between friends that the ancient Greeks valued far above Eros because it was considered a love between equals.
Agape (Compassionate Love)
The ancient Greeks considered this the purest and highest form of love. It is selfless and universal love. It is a spiritual love for strangers, nature, or God. Buddhists describe this form of love as “mett?” or “universal loving kindness.” Agape is particular unconditional love with an infinite empathy that you extended to everyone, whether they are family members or distant strangers.
With so many different kinds of love, it is no wonder it controls our hearts and minds. Love is all around us. It is more than just a feeling; it’s our soul connecting with others in society. Love is powerful, but we should not brandish our fists to attain it. We should hold our arms open and give it freely.
I’d like to leave you with one more quote on love. We can use it as a guide going forward towards becoming better people and a better world.