What is Love?
‘What is that one thing that you can start and attempt over and over and never fail at?’ LOVE!
Love cannot be a failure.
What is love? When we think of love, we often first think of transactional love that fits our needs to be happy. But in fact, love is more like giving without expecting anything in return and wanting the best for both. What a luxury it is to experience true love in this lifetime. To be completely cherished by another human being for who you are, or to cherish someone yourself. Embraced with your scars and accepting of your shortcomings and “flaws”. Try not to lose your head when that love finds you. And if you do, get back to it as soon as you knock some sense into your brain. What have you earned in this world really, if not the genuine love of someone—sacred, pristine, and magnificent?
So what is love? A verb? A noun? A Universal truth? An ideal? A cliche? A cult? A recklessly thrown word? What is love? Love is extremely easy to compare contrast and even label these days but difficult to define, maybe because we as humans are fundamentally biased in nature; we hold our own biases about a lot of things. But feelings are fluid, not a very concrete foundation for a definition. Sometimes you hate the person you love, your relationships with your family shape your relationship with your partner and your love for your partner.
Love is simply a strong positive effect for someone or something. It could be your god, your parents, your partner, money, your friends, your principles, or yourself. It’s the foundation of all emotions we feel.
Here is a list of definitions that people from the past gave us about the concept, LOVE.
- Plato: Love makes us whole, again.
- Schopenhauer: Love tricks us into having babies.
- Russel: Love is escape from our loneliness.
- Buddha: Love Is a misleading affliction.
- De Beauvoir: Love lets us reach beyond ourselves.
Love comprises three main components:
- Intimacy: closeness and connectedness.
- Passion: romance.
- Commitment: Conscious decision to love.
Types of Love
Aristotle and Plato are the two most notable greek philosophers who knew what they were talking about. There are many types of love that you will experience in your lifetime. Canadian psychologist John Allen Lee gave rise to the Color Wheel Theory Of Love by using the greek words ( Bader,2016). There are eight types of love according to John Allen’s wheel theory. Believe it or not, you may have already experienced one of these types. This wheel is vibrant and easy to follow.
Although times have changed dramatically since Aristotle and Plato were alive, the world has evolved with dating apps, flurry emojis, and romantic memes but one thing hasn’t, all of us yearn for affection whether you’re just getting into your first relationship or you prioritize self-love first and foremost.
Here is a list of eight types of love that you may or may not have experienced so far in your life.
1. PLAYFUL LOVE (LUDUS)
Are you a “no strings attached” sort of partner? Do others find you flirty and fun? Then Ludus described you perfectly. People who experience playful love view it as one big exciting game. Instead of committing fully and faithfully to one person, their main objective is to make things light and less complicated by indulging in multiple romantic partners or being “friends with benefits”. On the upside, this type of love keeps things light, burning, with excitement and childlike innocence but on the downside, people who prefer playful love, like to be in control so much so that they end up manipulating their partners, whether it means lying, deceiving or exploiting their weak most vulnerable sensitive spots. Unfortunately, if you are a highly sensitive type of person then this type of love may not be for you.
2. OBSESSIVE LOVE (MANIA)
Ah yes, people who experience Mania often suffer from low self-esteem, and want to feel complete. Mania is caused by an imbalance of Eros and Ludus, so they often latch on to their partner which usually creates a codependent relationship, but the positive news however is that one can always grow out of mania and move on to a different type of love that’s free from obsession in order to repair a codependent relationship it’s essential to set boundaries and find happiness as an individual whether that means spending more time with family, or even yourself or picking up a new hobby and hence all these activities will build your independence
3. EROTIC & ROMANTIC LOVE (EROS)
Eros was the son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, this relationship is accompanied by a lot of intense sexual feelings. This type of relationship involves a strong physical and emotional connection where both partners exercise compassion. Eros leaves people feeling “high” on love. Eros is often the initial stage of an exclusive relationship. Eros is driven by pleasure and attraction. Eros can cause a great amount of joy and a great amount of sorrow as well.
4. ENDURING LOVE (PRAGMA)
Do you often feel like butterflies in your stomach are overrated or just desire a relationship that’s stable and lasting? Pragma is a unique love bond that grows and matures over time. People who have a practical approach towards relationships, choose convenience over romance and are more concerned about whether their partner can bring common values, beliefs, sense to the table. Commitment and dedication and respect are the three most essential components to reach pragma. This love accompanies harmony, peace, and growth in both partners, it lights a sense of accomplishing your goals when you are with your special someone.
5. FRIENDSHIP LOVE (PHILIA)
This type of love along with the remainder is not included in the lease color wheel theory of love but it is still important enough to the Greeks to be explored in fact they consider it far more superior than Eros love because it’s a love that is equal. It is commonly believed even if you have that one good friend, you are lucky. Philia is the platonic love we have for others to whom we are not romantically/physically involved or attracted. The main components of this love are openness and loyalty and a true sense of understanding one another. This love is simple, honest, and heartwarming.
6. FAMILIAL LOVE (STORGE)
“Storge” is a Greek word that in literal terms means natural affection or family love/affection. This type of love is the first you experience throughout your whole lifetime. It forms between parents & children, brothers and sisters some of us are blessed with wonderful childhoods and we can rely on our parents again and again for guidance but those of us who grew up in a toxic household may find it extremely difficult to achieve familial love. Storge doesn’t require traits or characteristics that are valuable or worthy of love.
7. SELF LOVE (PHILAUTIA)
Self-love is more than finding yourself a romantic companion and more about the idea of finding and cherishing your inner companion.
Self-love isn’t necessarily about fixing yourself, it’s more about falling in love with the parts of yourself that you are striving to fix yourself through physical, emotional, and spiritual support.
Self-love is more related to gaining an appreciation for yourself. It is only until we accept who we are that we can truly love others but true love isn’t just experienced at certain moments, it must be unconditional love you must have for yourself. If you have ever been in an abusive household or relationship, self-love will always seem like a foreign alien concept.
Here is a list of things you can do to cultivate self-love:
- Asking yourself what you need.
- Allowing yourself to feel things as they are.
8. SELFLESS LOVE (AGAPE)
Last but not least we have agape, agape is the highest form of love we will ever experience. Agape is something that Buddhists referred to as universal kindness, when we exercise selfless love we are capable of forgiving and seeing the good in others. We can have agape for strangers, our romantic partners, religious mentors/figures, or nature. This type of love is altruistic and is commonly accompanied by giving, helping those in great need. Agape motivates one to pass the kindness on to others.
How Do You Know That You Are In Love?
Here are a few things that indicates that you are in love:
- Their happiness comes before yours.
- You can’t stop thinking about them.
- You become more understanding
- The feeling of home.
- You see a future with them.
- You are ready to let your guards down gradually.
- You never use ultimatums
- You become more accepting of the one you admire or love.
BENEFITS OF BEING IN LOVE:
I know what you are thinking, “Is there really any benefits of being in Love?” Well, YES. Love can either make you or destroy you. But here we will discuss only the benefits of being in love with someone:
- Real love softens you to the point where you dissolve into your own happiness.
- Real love helps you expand and grow as a person, it allows you to expand if need be, like the universe.
- Real love or true love provide you a home a sense of security. In real love we have someone who knows us in and out and choses to stay with us and loves us during a time where we are constantly learning and evolving.
- You have someone who reminds you every single day of how much they love every part of you and how much they cherish your existence.
- You become more Empathetic. like Buddha said, “There is nothing in this world except love, that can conquer everything else, even hate.”
- You become more understanding & patient.
- Uplifted mood, when you are with the right person chances are, you might end up achieving your highest potential.
Along the way of love, be aware of people who harden you in the name of love; it’s easy to mistake this as possessiveness. A healthy love will never stand up like a rigid wall and demand everything to hit you hard before it can belong to you. Be cautious of people who make you feel anything less than worthy of love, find yourself someone as gentle as water who will help you bloom instead of a hammer who will push you down beneath your capabilities.
Always love unapologetically, unconditionally.
Always remember love is a lot of work and you should be willing to work.