Valentine’s Day is upon us! It is a time to celebrate our love, but it doesn’t have to be only romantic love. For some reason, society has dubbed this a Hallmark holiday only for couples, but I think it is a really profound holiday to celebrate all kinds of love. It can be a time to be grateful, to be cherished, and to be celebrated.
On this special day let’s be grateful for and reflect on all the different kinds of love we have in our lives. Many of us have experienced love between a child and a parent, or love in friendships, or love for oneself. There are so many different kinds of love. It is a wonder that we have not adopted some of the Greek words to help us better define and understand love. The Greek language has many different words for love that define different types of love. Here is how I understand and interpret them.
Let’s start with Eros, the most common type of romantic passionate kind that most people think of when celebrating Valentine’s Day. This is the fiery sexual desire kind of love that is written about and painted in the books and paintings, however the Greeks felt that this kind of love was dangerous, hence the saying that one is madly in love.
Philia is a very general kind of love. It is filled with loyalty toward your neighbor, your family, your friends, your buddies. This kind of love was highly valued especially in all the heroic Greek warrior stories. It was the kind of love that lasted much longer and was much more stable than Eros.
Storge is sometimes put under Philia, but I think it is important to break it out. It is the kind of love we feel for family or the loyalty we feel for our country. It is considered a long lasting type of love.
Pragma is the long-lasting kind of love. The kind we see when we think of older couples who still show so much love toward each other. It is about lasting compromise, patience, and tolerance.
Then there is the fun loving type, Ludus. This type of love is characterized by playfulness including flirting, dancing, role play, or teasing, but it not limited to lovers. It also includes the playfulness of the children at the park, teenagers joking, and friends bantering.
Self love, Philautia, I think is the most important. There is a saying somewhere that says that you must love yourself before loving others. If we can take time for self care, and kinder self talk, that can spiral out and not only effect us, but others as well.
Lastly, Agape is love for all. It is feeling empathy or sympathy for your neighbor, for your family, for your friends, for those you don’t know, for animals, for the planet, for the universe, and for the source of all creation whatever you believe. It is taking time to wish and spread loving-kindness, safety, good fortune, wellness, and happiness upon those you know and those you don’t know.
So, I encourage you to take a moment and reflect on the different types of love and who you share them with. Find a way to celebrate with ones that you have in your life whether it be with flowers, chocolates, poems, dinners, little heart cards, the homemade kind, special treats or just dropping by to let someone you love know you care. Celebrating love doesn’t have to be the usual Hallmark kinds. It can simply mean sending good vibes or volunteering to help others. However you choose the celebrate this year, let’s not celebrate just Eros this Valentine’s Day, but all kinds of love. Love is for All!