Love is a special emotion that comes with its own complications.
Even though most people believe that love revolves around the heart, it actually happens in the brain.
Artists, poets, and painters all depict the heart as the symbol of love, but it is actually the brain that fires chemical signals to make people feel they’re in love.
We all hold feelings for others, but these feelings come in different shapes and sizes, depending on the people involved and the circumstances. In the English language, there is just one word that describes them all: Love.
But it wasn’t always this way. The Ancient Greeks had many words describing Love in all its complexities.
And here, we have chosen 8 of the most powerful of these words to help people understand this special emotion that connects us all a little better.
1. Agape (universal love)
Agape love is selfless love. It’s the kind you could connect to saint-like figures like Malala or Mother Teresa. It is a compassionate type of love for everyone, also referred to as universal loving-kindness. Agape is the kind of love you feel for all living beings – without exception – that you give out without expecting anything in return. It is a highly pure and conscious love similar to what people sometimes call unconditional love.
2. Storge (family love)
The essence of family and friendship love. Storge is the kind of love that parents feel for their kids; the one that family members have for each other; or the special love that friends have for each other. In some instances, this type of friendship can turn into a romantic relationship, and the people involved in such a relationship become best friends. It is an unconditional kind of love, forgiving, and accepting of all flaws and imperfections. It is committed, sacrificial, and makes you feel at ease next to the person you’re with.
3. Ludus (playful love)
Even though Ludus has a little erotic aspect in it, it is a lot more than just that. The Greeks believed it to be a playful form of love, for instance, the affection between two young lovers. Ludus is the feeling we all have when we swim through the beautiful early stages of falling in love with another human being, the butterflies, the teasing, the flirting, and all those magical euphoric feelings.
This playful love is a vital ingredient that is often lost in long-term relationships. But it is, in fact, key to keeping the innocence of the love you felt when you first met your other half.
4. Philautia (self-love)
Philautia is mostly about compassion and self-love. It may be common knowledge but the relationship we have with ourselves is crucially important and needs to be maintained and taken seriously. Self-love is crucial for our confidence and wellbeing, and it also influences the way we interact with others. Having more Philautia means having more love to offer to the world.
5. Pragma (enduring love)
Enduring love – the love between married people – develops over an extended period of time. This love conquers both sickness and poverty. It is the love that makes someone care so much that they are willing to put their own neck on the line for the person next to them.
6. Mania (obsessive love)
This type of love can make a person obsess over another human being. To the people who experience this, love is the only thing that can rescue them from low self-esteem and suffering. These people need to love and be loved in order to be able to love themselves. Hence, they can become jealous and possessive lovers, feeling like they desperately need their significant other.
And if their partner does not answer back with the same love they are being given, many issues can arise. This is why Mania love is strongly based on codependency.
7. Philia (deep friendship)
This is a type of love that builds thanks to a long-lasting friendship. It is not romantic, but, you feel extremely connected to the people you have Philia toward and can rely on them, trust them, and respect them like no other. These friendships, however, can be just as powerful as romantic relationships. Furthermore, the loss of a deep friendship can be just as painful as the loss of a romantic relationship.
8. Eros (romantic and erotic love)
This is the most passionate and tingling type of love that awakens deep feelings of romance and desire. It is the kind of love that can often make you say “I love you”. It is both an emotional and sexual love. Even though this passionate love is crucial at the start of a relationship, it may not last long as it focuses more on the self rather than the other person. If the person who is in this state of love starts seeing these feelings of arousal disappear, they will quickly drop their partner. Attraction is key here.
If you wish to find out more on the topic of love, please see this insightful video by TheSchoolOfLife:
Which type of love are you most familiar with? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share this article if you’ve enjoyed the read.