Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘eros’

What is Love?

What is love? We see versions of it enacted on T.V., or read about it in a superficial basis in novels but once in a great while we experience it ourselves. We may be mislead into thinking that there is only one type of love and it either exists and withstands the test of time or not. But the ancient Greeks developed a deeper understanding of love and described it using four terms each indicating a different type of love.

Agape -the unconditional love that causes us to accept others with any and all their flaws and differences. We love them and expect nothing thing in return. We may see the word ‘agape’ on church bulletin boards or in book stores indicating anyone and everyone is welcomed and accepted. The second type of love, Philemon, was defined as a platonic, friendship type of love. This type epitomizes the phrase, ‘I’ve got your back and you’ve got mine.’ It’s the kind of love that best friends, not seeing each other for a time experience when meeting or talking again. It is, as if, nothing has changed in their relationship and they just pick up the where they left off. The third type of love was named Storage by the Greeks. It is a love of family and dear friends. It is unconditional, committed and causes us to feel comfortable and safe. Regardless of what we might say or do we know that we will always be accepted and loved. Eros, the fourth type of love is passionate even arousing a feeling of a natural ‘high’ when you are with the other person. You can talk for hours upon hours without even realizing the time that has elapsed.

Some relationships may focus on one particular type of love and it works for them. It is said, however, that for love to be everlasting all four types of love need to evolve into the relationship over time. What exactly does this all encompassing type of love look like?

We find ourselves thinking about this person frequently and wondering what they are doing, if they are thinking about us and when we will see them again. We are willing to expose ourselves to them – literally and figuratively. Over time we start to share our vulnerable areas without fear of judgment. We just know that if needed they would be there for us in a second. It offers an assurance, a strength that is outside of ourselves. We no longer feel we are taking this life journey alone but have someone along the way that is as equally interested in us as we are in them. The novelist, Cesar Pavese said, “You will be loved the day when you will be able to show your weakness without the person using it to assert his strength.” Love softens us, smoothes out our rough edges. This type of love causes the object of your love to be more important, more vivid to you than you are to yourself. Thoughts, ideas and plans are more exciting as you discuss them with the one you love. Your looks and touches can often best be understood through the magic of a song that you have heard a million times before but this time, yes – this time with him – it speaks to both your heart and mind. We feel more inspired and joyful about living. David Brooks explains it this way,” We want to do something special for them. Cooking a meal, buying a special little gift, picking them up at the airport, getting them water to drink – it’s a gift-love not reciprocity- love.” We experience for the first time something mystical, bigger than ourselves and we may try to analyze it to no avail. Eventually, we simply settle into the awesomeness of the experience. This type of love seems to expand our heart and causes us to smile from the inside out. It is said that the more you love, the more you can love because love expands with use! How beautiful it is to see this type of love between people. Once observed, we know that all is right with the world.

Have a great day!

Different Types of Love

How many times over the past few weeks have you said to someone, “I love you.” What type of love were you referring to when you said it? There are many types of love. In fact the ancient Greeks came up with six different types of love and all offer something for us to consider. When you say to a partner, family member or dear friend, ‘I love you’ how does that affect you? Did you feel it? Actually, love occurs not in the heart but in the brain. Our brains emit chemical signals to help us understand the feelings of love. These feelings vary greatly depending on the type of love we are experiencing. The six categories the ancient Greeks defined are worth considering.

Eros – this is the passionate, intense romantic love that arouses our sexual feelings and focuses more on self than the other person. Interestingly, this type of love may not last unless we develop deeper types of feelings of love that focuses on the other person to which we are attracted rather than just ourselves.

Storage – this is love based on family and friendship. It is also the type of love that we have for our children. It is unconditional – meaning it accepts the uniqueness – the flaws – in others and causes us to forgive them. It is the type of love that is committed and based on sacrifice. Feelings of security and total acceptance is experienced.

Ludus – when you see a playful type of exchange between two people such as flirting or teasing or even dancing in an early stage of a relationship you are seeing this type of love.

Philia – this is the warm, affectionate and platonic love for another which also involves the love of self.

Agape – this love is selfless and unconditional. It sees beyond the surface of another and experiences unconditional acceptance for all people. Unfortunately, this type of love has declined significantly over the past 40 years with the biggest decline being over the past decade – especially in the U.S. When we sort and select according to our existing comfort zones we can eliminate the power of experiencing Universal love which fuels the humanity in all of us.

Pragma – the long term, deep understanding of love between couples who have been together for a decades, possibly even lifetimes. Patience, tolerance and the ability to make compromises causes the relationship in this form of love to weather the storm of change because of our selfless feelings towards the other.

For a relationship to grow deeper with time all these different types of love need to be experienced. Ultimately, the ages and stages of happy, supportive relationships last due, in part, to the ability of each person to experience each of these types of love with their significant other.

Does that mean that each type of love is sufficient unto itself? Absolutely not! What it does mean is that there is an internal drive – a yearning – in each of us to experience the totality of love.

When we fall into the judgment mode in our minds separating others that we do not feel of value and certainly not worthy of our love or respect due to their differences we hurt ourselves. We fall into the trap of generalizations – and negative energy begins to surround us. Any judgmental energy can be felt by others which causes them to respond in kind. You may not like the behavior of others but to remember that each of us are reaching for acceptance and belonging would go a long way in reaching an Eros type of love for mankind. Our world would become a better place.

When we realize that love comes in many forms and each type is good for our soul – our spirit – amazing things happen. We become more at peace with ourselves and grateful for our place in the Universe. It gives us more energy which keeps our emotional motors running. We have a sense of something bigger, more important than ourselves which enlarges our world.

The next time you say to someone, “I love you,” think about the six types of love. It is a subject worth pondering.

Have a great few days!