The Six Different Types of Love

With it being Valentine’s Day today (the day that makes you feel like crap if you are single!), I wanted to explore love and the different types of love that there are.

Isn’t there only ‘one love’ as Bob Marley put it? Well not according to the ancient Greeks there isn’t! They recognised six different types of the big L.

I love a bit of ancient wisdom (hello Yoga!) so today I think it’s important to bring this up and celebrate all types of love, not just romantic love.

In modern times, we often use the word ‘love’ in a lot of different contexts, when you say ‘I love chocolate’, sign a card with ‘lots of love’, say ‘I love you’ to your friends, family, partner, pets or children. But are they all the same type of love?

According to the ancient Greeks they aren’t and here’s what the different types are.

1. Eros (passion)

The first kind of love was named after the Greek god of fertility eros and it embodied the idea of sexual passion and desire. The Greeks rightly so, didn’t think of it as always positive (although you do need a bit of eros in your life!) In fact, eros was often viewed as a dangerous, fiery, and an often irrational form of love that could take hold and possess you. Have you seen the movie Fatal Attraction?!

2. Philia (friendship)

The second type of love was philia or friendship. It’s all about showing loyalty to your friends, spending time and being there for them, as well as sharing your emotions with them. Having philia in your life is super important and it doesn’t include all of your ‘virtual friends’ on social media either!

3. Ludus (playful love)

This was the Greeks’ idea of playful love, which referred to the affection between children or young lovers. You have it when you are flirting with someone you fancy! But you also have it when you are laughing with your friends, dancing and are generally just having fun and loving life!

4. Agape (unconditional love)

The fourth love, and perhaps the most important, was agape or unconditional love. This is a love for all beings, whether family or strangers. This is the recognition that we are all in this together and underneath we are all the same.

5. Pragma (mature love)

Another Greek love was the mature love known as pragma. This is true love that has moved beyond the honeymoon period and develops over time. Long term relationships and married couples have this type of love, gained through acceptance, compromise and going through the ups and downs of life together.

6. Philautia (self-love)

The sixth variety of love was philautia or self-love. The Greeks categorised this into two types – the unhealthy type of narcissism and the healthier version of loving yourself first before you can give and receive any of the other types of love.

I believe that all love begins with self-love. Self-love is valuing and accepting yourself as you are right now and if you can do that, all the others types of love will naturally follow.

So, when you look at your life through the lens of the six different types of love, I hope you see that you already have so much love in your life.

Do you agree with these different types? Do think there are more or less? I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below!

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