We can feel the love in a variety of different ways – when we’re happy, sad, angry, confused, excited... Our attitudes about love can range from affectionate love to infatuation and pleasure.
We even use love as an action, as a force to keep our relationships with partners, or friends and family, together.
That said, because love takes on different forms, we can each experience love in our own way, which is why defining the term love is so complicated. And one single word isn’t just powerful enough to capture the magnitude of emotions that love brings along with it.
But it was not always like that.
The ancient Greeks were far better than us. They knew six types of Love around 2000 years ago. According to the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle, almost everybody experiences these types of love at least once in their lives. And the Greeks used six words to define the different states of love we can experience.
The first kind of love was eros, named after the Greek god of fertility, and it represented the idea of sexual passion and desire. Eros was viewed as a dangerous, fiery, and irrational form of love that could take hold of you and possess you.
This was the Greeks’ idea of playful love, which referred to the affection between young lovers. We’ve all had a taste of it in the flirting and teasing in the early stages of a relationship.
Phillautia or Self-love
Philautia is a type of love that is within oneself. Philautia is essential for any relationship, we can only love others if we truly love ourselves and we can only care for others if we truly care for ourselves. That said, learning to love yourself is a process. It’s definitely something that takes time and something we have to be patient with.
Philia or Deep Friendship
Philia concerned concerned the deep comradely friendship that developed between brothers in arms who had fought side by side on the battlefield. It was about showing loyalty to your friends, sacrificing for them, as well as sharing your emotions with them.
Agape or Love for Everyone
This is called empathy in modern terms. This is perhaps the most radical of all loves. This was a love that you extended to all people, whether family members or distant strangers. Agape was later translated into Latin as caritas, which is the origin of our word charity.
Pragma or long-standing Love
Another Greek love is the mature love known as pragma. This was the deep understanding that developed between long-married couples.
Pragma was about making compromises to help the relationship work overtime, and showing patience and tolerance.