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Celebrating LOVE

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What do you think of when you think of “love?”  Today, at this time of my life, I think of things like safety, devotion, and peace.  Thirty years ago, it would have been an entirely different answer!  There are seasons of love and different types of love.  February, the month of love, is a great time to really think about the love that is in your life – the people and the types of love.

The ancient Greeks defined nine (9) types of Love:

Agape is a universal, selfless love of others and considered the highest level of love.  It is given free of expectations and is rooted in kindness to others.

Eros is a romantic love that includes sexual attraction and desire towards others. It is instinctual and can be powerful and difficult to control.

Philia is an affectionate love that runs very deep and true among friends – it is often referred to as “brotherly love” and can connect close friends and family spanning years on end.

Storge is a devoted, unconditional love found between parents and children and among best friends. Memories are a very important aspect of this love as they will trigger feelings of love.

Pragma is a long-lasting, mature love that evolves over time and with consistent effort.  It is known as “standing in love” as opposed to “falling in love.”

Ludus is playful, flirtatious love often found in the early stages of relationship.  It can also be a rewarding aspect to an older relationship if proper effort is made to create it.

Mania is an obsessive love that can lead to jealousy and possessiveness.  It is typical in relationships with an imbalance in love that can be harmful to the longevity of the relationship.

Meraki is a type of creative, artistic expression of love – often referred to as “a labor of love.”

Philautia is a self-love that allows you to recognize your own self-worth.  It develops confidence and respect for your own needs – physically and emotionally.

….healthy self-love is needed for loving others. – Aristotle, Greek philosopher

Self-love seems like some type of guilty pleasure, but Aristotle saw it as a critical component of a virtuous man.  Self-love helps define love of – and for – others. Maybe self-love requires forgiveness, an exercise routine, spa day or acceptance. Regardless, it requires you to look inward, know yourself, value who you are, and recognize that it is more than a simple belief that “I am worth it.”

According to Israel Meister, BHS Psychotherapist:

“As you love yourself, your capacity to be kind, patient, and forgiving will multiply exponentially. What does loving yourself look like? Not much different from the foundational components of any healthy relationship. Communicate your needs, trust yourself, be honest with yourself, be your own best friend, be patient with yourself, and forgive yourself.”

So in this month of Love, look to yourself.  Work to love yourself and you will grow your capacity to love others.