The English language uses a single word to express the broad spectrum of the meaning of love: from the “l love you” over a passionate declaration to a casual letter signature such as “lots of love.”
Greeks defined love in more sophisticated terms such as Eros (Intimacy and Passion), Ludus (Playfulness), Philia (Comradeship), Pragma (Long Lasting Love), Agape (Love for Everyone) & Philautia (Love of the Self).
The first kind of love was Eros, named after the Greek god of fertility. It represents the idea of intimacy, passion, and desire. The Greeks didn’t always think of it as something positive, it was perceived as a form of madness brought about by Cupid’s arrows. It involves letting go to the visceral and carnal pleasures that could seem frightening to some; while letting go may be what many people seek while drinking and dancing the night away.
– To which extent do you let go?
– Do you feel overwhelmed by the sensations?
– Do you forget the world in her / his arms? Are you in a state of flow?
– Do you feel a difference in your aliveness when you’re with your partner/spouse?
The second variety of love is Philia or friendship. It is a dispassionate virtuous love (… ) Furthermore, Philos denotes a general type of love, used for love between family, between friends, a desire or enjoyment of an activity, as well as between lovers. – Wikipedia.
Another terminology used is Storge for the parental love.
For Plato, the best kind of friendship is that which lovers have for each other. It is Eros that transforms into Philia, and back in return feeds Eros to nurture and grow the relationship from one of desire to one of higher understanding. Real friends share their experiences and teach each other thus living a fuller life.
How do you classify your friends (social media friends, drinking buddies, loyal friends, the funny friends, the mentor friends,… )
How much Philia do you have in your life?
Do you consider your partner/spouse/relationship as your friend? Which type of friend? Would you want it differently?
The third variety of love is Ludus, the playful love, which is referred to the affection between children or young lovers.
Ludus, meaning “game” in Latin, is used by those who see love as desiring to want to have fun with each other, to do activities indoor and outdoor, tease, indulge, and play harmless pranks on each other. The acquisition of love and attention itself may be part of the game.
Ludic lovers want to have as much fun as possible.- Wikipedia
We’ve all had a taste of it in the early stages of the relationships while flirting and teasing. And we still do when we sit around laughing with friends, or when we go out dancing. It is when we let the playfulness run as if letting go is the rule for getting by.
Are you playful? Do you enjoy being playful? No? What would change that?
Can you be childlike together? What will it take for you to be childlike?
Do you still laugh at the other’s jokes? Do you use puns?
Do you laugh at your clumsiness? Are you able to laugh at yourself when you are together?
Are you floating in a sea of normalcy? If yes, what would bring your aliveness back? What would make you smile? What would make her/him smile? Do you even know what makes her/him smile?
Do you laugh without restraint?
Do you enjoy the same activities? Are you proposing new ones?
The fourth love is Pragma. It is love when it matures and grows. The one where deep understanding developed between long-married couples or previously arranged marriages. It focuses on long-term interest, and personal qualities rather than intimacy. Pragma is more about giving love than staying in love as when the couple first fell in love.
It’s the passion of Eros, put on the back burner to make compromises to help the relationship work over time, and showing patience and tolerance.
Do you have the security you look for in a relationship?
Do you share common goals?
Do you have predictability and patterns in your relationship?
How satisfied are you with the qualities of your partner?
And last but not least Philautia, or love of the self, has two types: narcissism and self-esteem.
Narcissism has come to mean selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.(dictionary.com) It can be accompanied by haughtiness and arrogance and disregards for others.
Discernment should be made between Self Esteem and self-confidence. People with self-esteem can invest themselves fearlessly in projects and people. Failure, rejection, hurt, disappointment do not hinder them nor diminish them. Due to their flexibility, they are open to growth, relationships, and quick to joy. No time to dwell on mishaps.
Aristotle said: “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.” or as known in today’s jargon “You cannot pour from an empty cup”.
Which feelings are you projecting? How do people feel when they are around you?
How love/hate do you have for yourself? What would increase the love?
How is your self-talk serving you?
Are you ruminating on your mistakes or looking for improvements based on the feedback?
The ancient Greeks diversified their love. So where does your preference go on the love wheel, if you have any? Are you fulfilling it? What would it take to fulfill it? Does your partner /spouse feel the same way? How would you keep the spark alive?