We go to great lengths in search of what we believe is the antidote to our feelings of pain, loneliness, and disillusionment ── love from others. Yet the alarming levels of acrimonious relationships and divorce today, indicate that many of us are failing miserably in our efforts to find or maintain it.
In this article, we look at the different types of love according to the ancient Greeks, and the number one key that leads to happy and successful relationships.
The Greeks in their pursuit of self-understanding developed 8 names for the different types of love including;
1. Agape: Unconditional Love
The highest and most radical type of love.
Agape, is a selfless love, that correlates to what the Buddhists describe as Metta or universal loving-kindness.
It’s the purest form of love that is free from desires and expectations.
Think of Jesus, the Buddha, and other saintly beings.
2. Eros: Erotic Love
Named after the Greek god of love and fertility, Eros, is sexual or passionate love. The type which is most akin to our modern construct of romantic love.
Of all the different types of love, this was considered the most dangerous by the Greeks, for its power and ability to result in a loss of self-control.
3. Philia: Affectionate Love
Also referred to as platonic love, Philia was held in very high esteem by the Greeks and was more valued than Eros.
It’s the kind of love you feel for your friends. A brotherly type of love, that the Greeks believed was love between equals.
4. Storge: Familiar Love
This is the kind of love shared within families. The love parents have for their children and children for their parents.
5. Ludus: Playful Love
The most flirtatious of the different types of love, Ludus is the kind of love usually experienced by young lovers.
The butterflies in the stomach feeling kind of love.
Marriages based on this type of love, are notorious for ending abruptly and dramatically.
Think of celebrity marriages.
6. Pragma — Enduring Love
A pragmatic, practical type of love that matures and develops over a long period of time. The kind of love shared by those old couples you see walking down the street, still holding hands lovingly.
7. Mania — Obsessive Love
The stuff nightmares are made of.
Mania is an obsessive and possessive type of love constituted of extreme jealous and crazy behavior, that can even lead to madness.
The territory of stalkers. The movie, Fatal Attraction, is a perfect example of this type of love.
This amongst all the different types of love is the one most likely to be experienced by those who suffer from severe low self-esteem.
And now, the last of the different types of love, wherein lies the number one key to not only happy relationships but to an overall sense of life fulfillment.
8. Philautia — Self-Love
The ancient Greeks divided Philautia into two types of love.
The domain of; arrogance, self-pity, self-indulgence, distorted self-perception, selfishness, and narcissism.
People afflicted by this type of love, have a great sense of entitlement and a deep need to be admired.
But, flip the coin, and on the other side is positive and healthy;
The foundation of all happy relationships.
This kind of love is…
A state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physicall, psychological, and spiritual growth.– Deborah Khoshaba, clinical psychologist
When we act in ways that enhance self-love in us, we begin to;
- Accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths and have less need to explain away our flaws.
- Develop self-compassion for ourselves as human beings, struggling to find personal meaning and through this, come to recognize that other people are flawed just like we are. Which helps us to become kinder and less demanding of others, including our partners.
- Become mindful and take a balanced approach to our experiences, so that our emotions are neither ignored nor exaggerated.
- Intentionally pursue our life purpose and expect a good outcome through our own efforts.
- Realize that happiness is an inward job and stop expecting and waiting for others or circumstances to change for us to be happy.
- Acknowledge that we are worthy of being loved just as we are──flaws and all.
When you begin to operate from this centered foundation, there’s nothing that can stop you from manifesting into your life the kind of love, partner, and relationship that you desire.
It all starts with you!
If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others. If you have no compassion for yourself, then you are not capable of developing compassion for others.– The Dalai Lama
When we behave like martyrs in our relationships, acting out of a sense of duty and responsibility for the benefit of others, excluding ourselves, we very often become miserable and develop a sense of being owed by others for our sacrifice.
This is bound to lead to resentment from them, as no one wants to be made to feel guilty or forcibly grateful.
To avoid all of this, we must put ourselves first so we can be there unconditionally for others.
So, if you’re searching for love or found it already, but are struggling to maintain it, you might want to pause your efforts and go back to the foundation of happy relationships.
Learn how to love yourself first.
Become the person you want to be in a relationship with and you will begin to positively influence the people and experiences that show up in your life.
To help you get started, here are some self-love techniques that you can try, to kickstart your path to self-love.
Have fun trying the techniques.
And please remember that learning to love yourself is a process that can be perfected through regular practice.