The Greeks described different types of love in different ways…
EROS – Passion/Infatuation (not highly regarded by the Greeks)
AGAPE – Love for all
PHILIA – Friendship love
STORGE – Love of child or parent
PHILAUTIA – Love of Self (the HEALTHY type, not to be confused with Narcissism)
LUDAS – Playful/Fun love
On this Valentine’s Day, I welcome you to join me in moving AWAY from the common form of love highlighted on this day (EROS) and let’s celebrate the other types of love.
Read more below for my personal views on each of the Greek love words …
It’s Valentine’s Day. Your fb feed is overflowing with sappy sweet ‘I Love You’s’ written from him to her. Photos of bouquets of flowers sitting on an office desk are shared and bragged over. It seems everyone is proclaiming their undying LOVE for another and yet you are like countless others – feeling nothing but the big empty hole where your heart is supposed to be. Or maybe not, maybe you love Valentine’s Day. Maybe you are one of the ones sharing the sappy posts of Happy Ever After. But the reality is, even those that share those posts often do not feel nearly as ‘filled up’ with love as the picture they paint. Social Media makes it far to easy to custom create our own fantasy lives to share with our ‘friends’ – a fantasy that is often the exact opposite of the emotions hidden within.
The word ‘LOVE’ in the English language is so misused – and I have been one of the many to have misused it. It is really a blanket term for MANY emotions. From I LOVE this hair cut to I LOVE this food to I LOVE my dog to I LOVE my child to I LOVE my dad to I LOVE this day to I LOVE everyone in the world to I have fallen madly in LOVE with this man I just met a month ago to to to … the list goes on and on and on Perhaps the only LOVE we rarely proclaim is our LOVE of ourselves. Yep, we find nothing wrong with LOVING our new pair of shoes, but yet we feel guilty of saying we actually LOVE our very own Selves. That is really rather ridiculous if you ask me.
I LOVE how the Greeks laid it out. They fully recognized there were many emotions that our blanket term LOVE encompasses and they decided it would be smart to name each one. This way we can actually speak the words that truly describe the type of love we are feeling and we can better recognize the importance of the full gamut of LOVES that we have the ability to give and to receive.
EROS love – well this one pretty much sums up Valentines Day if you ask me 😉 This is that infatuation type love. That I HAVE TO HAVE IT type love. That I cannot thing about anything else because I am BLINDED by my love kind of love. This type of love was actually not regarded as a high quality of love by the Greeks. It has it’s place, as all things do, but really the only thing it is good for is ensuring we breed and keep popping out babies. EROS love is not lasting. That fluttery feeling you get during a first kiss goes AWAY. the only way to keep it around is to create a reality of roller coaster rides – basically that break up – get back together thing that keeps you feeling waves of EROS Love. I have been there. I had one of those relationships too. But that wave of EROS love is NO match whatsoever to the type of LOVE that I get to experience now. …. This leads me to the next kind of love I want to talk about …
PHILAUTIA love – ok I am jumping right from what I personally consider the least important and most toxic love (Eros) to what I personally feel is the MOST important and most often overlooked type of love – Philautia love. This my friends is the love you think you are not supposed to feel. This is the love that you think means you are conceited, self-absorbed, selfish. This my friends is the LOVE of Your SELF. I do not know why it is so deeply embedded into our current culture to have such an issue with this. It should not be so hard. But it IS hard. We have so kindly been handed down generations after generation of self-judgement, self-pity, self-loathing. We are in a culture that does not like itself. Now how in the world can any of us ever expect to magically manifest world peace if we do not like our very own SELVES. Our very own beating heart that gives us life. Our very own breath that let’s us feel another moment of another day. Our very own nose we breath through, our very own eyes we view the world with, our very own magical bodies that carry us where-ever we tell ourselves to go. How are we supposed to heal another, help another when we feel judgement for simply loving ourSELVES? Can you look in the mirror and say – I LOVE YOU! Can you do that? Do it! For real! Do it! You DESERVE to love YOU. You are amazing. No matter who you are, no matter what you feel you have done, no matter how unworthy you feel – YOU ARE WORTH LOVING. You are already LOVED beyond words by the Unseen of this universe. You may not realize it, but you are. So, try just acknowledging that it is OK to LOVE you. Not only ok, but necessary to love YOU. I may not be able to convince you in my little post, I was not there to hear everything your parents or friends or family have told you about self LOVE – but I can and I WILL share my perspective and from my personal experience I am CERTAIN that Philautia love is not selfish at all, in fact it is the most Selfless thing you can do, because to LOVE You IS to Love another. We are in fact all of the same star dust. One does not have to be able to wrap a human mind around a concept for it to be truth. To truly, unconditional, unjudgmentally have Philautia love for YOURSELF is in fact the SAME thing as having LOVE for every other being on earth. Give yourself permission to love YOU – warts and all 😉
Those of you that are trying to compare Philautia love to Narcissism, please be aware that is NOT the type of love I am referring to. The Greeks recognized there was a positive self love and a negative. To love the true Self is Positive, to be in love with the EGO is a whole other can of worms.
AGAPE love – this one is probably the most commonly used greek love word and is cited often in the bible. It is the love of EVERYONE. Even those we have never met. To me Agape love comes easy if you truly master the healthy kind of Philautia love. It has helped me so very much when I am faced with others that believe differently than I do – or friends that I am no longer friends with for whatever reason. We all wear some sort of glasses. It is the only way our spirit can come into a body and have a human experience. We must view the world in some way. When I realize that we ALL wear glasses and our glasses vary greatly, it helps me realize that, once the glasses come off – we are all truly the same. The same airs breathes me that breathes you, even if I have never met you. This realization helps me to FEEL Agape love for those that wear very different glasses from my own, even those with the darkest of glasses. Agape love has no borders, it penetrates all and it sees no glasses.
LUDAS love – Playful, fun love. What a beautiful love to recognize the VALUE of. That fun loving feeling you get when dancing or kids playing hide a seek. It is the love dogs have mastered and look at how HAPPY they are! Isn’t that the point anyway? Peace and Happiness? I love that the Greeks highlight LUDAS love as an important love to ignite in your life. Sometimes going out to ‘play’ can be the BEST thing to do to brighten up your day.
STORGE love – The love of FAMILY. That indescribable LOVE of your child. How could we EVER compare that emotion with the love of a new pair of shoes? Or the love of a girlfriend we find ourselves infatuated with? This is a whole different dimension. It is the TRUE love of thy SELF in a way that we have deemed appropriate. You know that saying that having children is like having your heart walk around on two feet. There ARE us. Somehow with our children we actually GET IT. Without knowing why – we get it. We get that we ARE one. That we are THAT connected. That we do not have to physically be attached to something to be tethered to it. We get that with our kids and we LOVE them from a place so deep we cannot describe it. I would love it if we shared some of THIS love with ourSelves. We would then give our children the biggest GIFT we ever could – the realization that it is truly OK to Love YOU. For they do not see what we say, they see what we FEEL.
PHILIA – Deep Friendship love. Oh what a love. The family that YOU pick. I am Blessed to have this love with two very special ladies. Both of their spirits have left their bodies, but they could not be closer to me. They are helping me with these words. They are helping connect me to you. They are my Soul Sisters and my PHILIA love for Kim and Frances overflows me.
PRAGMA – You know, this is perhaps the type of love that fascinates me the MOST. When I first started studying the Greeks words for love I rated my own level of love in each of these categories to see where I needed the most growth. I did the same for my then 4 year old daughter and I rated her a full 10 on all of the love words (yes, even EROS – this child has PASSION there is no doubt!) .. and the only love I felt she did not have – yet – was this one. PRAGMA love is longstanding love. It is the love an elderly married couple may feel deep into their 80’s as they have grown together year after year after year. This love might be the hardest of all. It is sure a lot harder than EROS – even though, ironically, EROS is what seems to often partner us up with those we then strive for PRAGMA love with. This love takes COMPROMISE. this love takes EFFORT. This love takes PERSISTENCE. It is far from easy, but it is SO very worth it. I feel blessed to start to truly FEEL this Pragma love with my husband. We did not have it for quite some time – honestly it has only been over the last few years that it has really started to develop. It has come hand in hand with BOTH of our journey to be the BEST Self that we can be. Naturally as we have aligned with the higher versions of who we are, we have found ourselves more aligned with one another as well. This longstanding Pragma love has no comparison, it is like the very best, most comfortable tee shirt that you have adored since high school and it never wears out, it just gets softer and more comfortable with time. Perhaps this type of love is the point of our human experience? It seems to be the only one we are not born into, the only one that we benefit from after TIME has passed.But, as with all the other loves it is only possible to experience PRAGMA love fully if we first allow ourselves to sincerely feel Philautia love for our own selves. There was a time my husband and I did not feel that Philautia love and at that time we could not experience Pragma either – heck at that time I had no idea there was such a thing!
Where do you rate if you rate your own loves mentioned above on a scale of 1-10? This awareness helps us fill in the holes we dis not know we had and celebrate where we are over-flowing.
SMILE 🙂 I feel Agape live for YOU! – Mary Miller-Jordan