By Ellen Rich, Holistic Life Coach and Founder
“The garden of love is green without limit and yields many fruits other than sorrow or joy. Love is beyond either condition: without spring, without autumn, it is always fresh.”
Love. As many people are on the planet that is how many different definitions of love there are. In the four and fifth centuries, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle had their own unique thoughts on love. They realized that all love is not the same. It was accepted in their society that Eros, Philia, Storge, Agape, Ludus, Pragma, and Philistia were all different types of love. All of these still exist and can flow throughout our lives.
Eros is closet to our definition of romantic love with a sexual component. In the past, Cupid’s arrows, magic potions, and spells were all used to attract one another. Today, sexual attraction is a combination of hormones, scents, and chemical processes within the brain. “Falling in love” may be our chemistry talking, but it still feels great. We usually can’t resist and analysis goes out the window.
Of course, we probably have experienced the heady stages of initial Eros love. We don’t see or we ignore faults in the other, we think quirks are adorable, and we want to dedicate ourselves to pleasing this person. But once familiarity sets in, for many, the honeymoon is over. Eros can remain in any relationship, but other types of love can be folded in to enrich relationships.
Today we are “besties” with someone. Friendship is trust and a set of experiences with someone or a group of people. You can depend on this kind of love and are thrilled to return it. Trust and integrity are key and add to the reliance of the friendship. Mutual benefit is what holds this love together.
There is a deeper respect and understanding of the other, self, and the world. Religion or spirituality can support this experience. Friends are available for support as well. It can stem from Eros and may help to deepen a lustful and sexual relationship.
Storge (‘store-gae’), is the love that grows in families, usually between parents and their children. However, we can’t always depend on this to happen. Sometimes a “pass” is given in certain circumstances. It is a special connection and one trusts that the person will be there for you.
Presently in the west, many families are blended with second, third or fourth divorces or deaths of a partner. It is my belief that Storge can be just as deep with these blended families if relationships are good.
I have several friends who have changed their last name to Agape. Agape can be found in a spiritual or religious setting. Alone or with others, it is a commitment and unselfish concern. Whether the stranger protects someone from a bullet, runs into the street to save a child from an oncoming car or giving a kidney to another while living, it is universal love.
Some think of Agape as volunteer work, donations, or charity, such as the love for strangers, nature, or God. With our climate challenged environment, we ask what can we do? People went to Puerto Rico, Northern California and Texas without personally knowing anyone to help. Something comes over us and we are compelled to help without personal concern.
The hookup. It is all fun, flirting and living in the moment. There is dating and then there are hook ups. Put the app on your phone and then when someone who wants to go play crosses your path, you both get a notice. Then the decisions begin, but the rules are understood upfront. No quid pro quo. Think player or the “benefits” without any other relationship. Not understanding the rules can lead to heartbreak. Buyer beware.
In just two google searches, I came up with The Top 15 Adult Dating Sites including Fling, Uber Horney, and SnapSext. It isn’t hard to find.
Oh, the “good old days” of arranged marriages. Very popular, although old fashioned, it remains a widespread practice in many cultures. Arranged marriages can be convenient for many reasons, ie religious background, political, and celebrity. These matchups can last, although some not happily. Others break apart. With so many relationship options today, it is anyone’s call. USA Government statistics tell us that 30 to 50 % of all marriages end up in divorce. There is also the cheating route to consider, as in the case of the Ashley Madison website. It is hard to believe that they currently advertise 60,000,000 members.
Although the name isn’t familiar, Philistia is self-love, which can be healthy or unhealthy. Healthy Philistia is good self-esteem and self-confidence.
Unhealthy self-love is akin to hubris. The Greek god Narcissus, fell in love with himself. It is ubiquitous currently, with politicians, celebrities, and people with power and money. An unusually high dose of narcissism can cause havoc with relationships in any sphere of daily life. When the ego is being attacked, abuse, addiction and illegal behavior can run rampant on a relationship, government, or other collectives.
Looking at love is an interesting exercise. Which love do you want to participate in or already have? None are good or bad. Just make sure it is your choice.
Thank you for reading,
After working in the corporate world for 30+ years, Ellen started a Holistic Life Coaching program. Called act2.expert (www.act2.expert), it is a Holistic Life Coaching Program that allows the client drive the process in a safe and comfortable environment. Ellen has a BA, MBA, many certificates and has attended Wisdom of the Whole Coaching Academy.