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#Valentines Love Story: The Story of Love

Tags: love

What is Love? Is it a connived passionate embrace as seen in the movies, based upon looks and chemistry, or is it more complicated than that?

Love is a powerful force, whether it is used for good or bad purposes, that is beyond denial, but what is the difference between love of God, family and country, and Romantic Love?

The Greeks were onto this idea because they had six words for Love, each word presented a different concept of love that clarifies the overall meaning of the English generic, one word definition that is simply called ‘Love’.  The six words are: Eros, Philia, Storge, Agape, Ludus, and Pragma.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we will begin with Eros, which defines fiery, sexual passion and desire. The Greeks were aware that even erotic love could be dangerous or wonderful, that the feeling could possess you, taking you to heights of ecstasy or, it could ruin you.  A person fully in the throes of Eros often loss control of their faculties, even becoming so obsessed as to be ‘love sick’ to the point of not being able to sleep. In such as state only the good side of the love object matters, even red flags that would normally cause hesitation are often ignored. A person in this state of obsession has virtually lost his or her mind; at least, temporarily.

Who has not heard of Philadelphia, the city of ‘brotherly love’? The name was taken from the Greek world Philia, which means a deep friendship and sense of loyal camaraderie much as what is common with brothers. This noble love is portrayed in Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, depicting the bond between friends as a loyal and unbreakable oath.
Ludis is the Greek version of playful love that is part of child play, or adult flirtatious play. It could be said this love is more of a possible precursor to a stronger bond, although not a strong bond in itself.
Agape is the great love based upon principle, the love of what is right, the love extended to all humans, even strangers. Agape based upon strong beliefs can precipitate a devotion that extends even beyond all other loves in order for a person to do what is best for mankind. Not all people are principled, not all have a core that values what is right over what is best for them; therefore the level of Agape love a person possesses depends upon the values of that person.  A truly altruistic individual would possess strong Agape love that extends to all humans.

Pragma, or love based on pragmatic decisions and ideals, is a reasoned love, with a strong cognitive component.  Pragma, is a love that forms commitments based upon reason, and may endure for long periods of time. Who has not heard of relationships in the 1950’s in which two partners who had fallen out of erotic love, but remained in the relationship for ‘the children’, or because it was a more reasonable alternative to divorce. In some cases, Pragma love was acceptable to both parties for different reasons: comfort, safety, familiarity.

Philautia is the Greek word for love of self; and as we all know, one can have too little or too much love of self. Love of self can become a problem of negative or positive proportions. Low self-esteem is an underlying cause of much suffering, just as self-conceit and outright narcissism can also cause pain and suffering.  The expression of a person’s love for others is relative to how he or she feels about themselves; therefore, health self-love, or Philautia, is essential for healthy love of others. The core of the love process begins with the individual.  In order for an individual to extend healthy love, they have to possess it for themselves first.

So what would healthy love at its best look like?

The person extending love would have strong core concepts and values based upon morality, truth and justice: Their own Philautia, or love of self would be a balanced love that respected the rights and boundaries of others, valued all humanity, based upon Agape love, and would be able to form strong friendships (Philia), engage in play without feeling threatened or being threatening (Ludis), form strong family ties (Storge), and sustain pragmatic relationship based upon logical ties and rules of fairplay. This person would have all six loves in play when in a partner relationship, and all five in a family relationship.

A healthy person can love, and be rejected without feeling threatened to the core. A healthy person can love without needed to control the love object: they can trust, be betrayed and trust again; without allowing themselves to be exploited. A healthy person will respect the boundaries and rights of others and well as their own. A healthy person extends healthy love and expects healthy love in return.

What would an unhealthy love look like?

The core values of the person would be diminished in one or more areas, which would be reflected in how they love themselves (too little or too much); a person with narcissistic traits would see the world through ego-centric eyes. A person on the narcissistic side of Philautia, would constantly be in the act of creating narcissistic supply, taking from others what he or she needs to feel good about themselves in lieu of good self-worth with a focus on self first, others last. Superficial charm would be used to pull the wool over other’s eyes. Agape love would be missing either wholly or partially, and all bonds formed by such a person would lack the deep connection needed to be called healthy love. The extreme malignant narcissist would not have health versions of any of the six Greek Loves; each would be tainted. Exploitation and Abuse would dominate close relationships while the world would see the ‘mask’ of charm.

The negative version of Philautia would also include those with extremely low self-value behaviors that present them as ready victims of exploitation, and in some, create self-abusing and sabotaging behaviors. Each of the six Greek Loves would be out of balance: love others too much, or too little, without a strong core needed to sustain a healthy, autonomous love construct.  In short, unhealthy people, usually project unhealthy love on others as a reflection of an unhealthy self.  The best Valentine’s Day gift for such a person is to seek emotional health for themselves: Put oneself first in order to put others first.

Happy, Healthy, Valentines Day
Sara Niles

This post first appeared on SARA NILES Author/Blogger, please read the originial post: here

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#Valentines Love Story: The Story of Love


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