As we struggle to define love, the ancient Greeks seemed to have no problem at all defining multiple kinds of love.
I think we all go through each stage at one point, but if you want a better definition of the kind of love you give or the kind of love you seek, here are the seven kinds of love according to the ancient Greeks.
1. Eros: Love of the body
Eros was the Greek God of love and sexual desire. He was shooting golden arrows into the hearts of both mortals and immortals without warning. The Greeks feared that kind of love the most because it was dangerous and could get them into the most trouble. Eros is defined as divine beauty or lust. Eros is mainly based on sexual attraction and it is where the term “erotica” came from.
2. Philia: Love of the mind
Also know as brotherly love, Philia represents the sincere and platonic love. The kind of love you have for your brother or a really good friend. It was more valuable and more cherished than Eros. Philia exists when people share the same values and dispositions with someone and the feelings are reciprocated.
3. Ludus: Playful love
Ludus is the flirtatious and teasing kind of love, the love mostly accompanied by dancing or laughter. It’s the child-like and fun kind of love. If you think about it; this generation loves Ludus more than anything else.
4. Pragma: Longstanding love
The everlasting love between a married couple which develops over a long period of time. Pragma was the highest form of love; the true commitment that comes from understanding, compromise and tolerance. It is pragmatic this is why it is referred to as “standing in love” rather than “falling in love” because it grows over time and requires profound understanding between lovers who have been together for many years.
5. Agape: Love of the soul
It is the selfless kind of love, the love for humanity. It is the closest to unconditional love. The love you give without expecting anything in return reflected in all charitable acts. It is the compassionate love that makes us sympathize with, help and connect to people we don’t know. The world needs more Agape.
6. Philautia: Love of the self
The ancient Greeks divided Philautia into two kinds: There is one that is pure selfish and seeks pleasure, fame, and wealth often leading to narcissism and there is another healthy kind of love we give ourselves. 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.
7. Storge: Love of the child
This is the love parents naturally feel for their children. It’s based on natural feelings and effortless love. Storge is the love that knows forgiveness, acceptance and sacrifice. It is the one that makes you feel secure, comfortable and safe.
Defining love can help us discover which kind we need to give more of and which kind we want to receive. If we incorporate Eros, Ludus & Pragma into our relationships and Agape, Philia and Storge into our lives, we will reach Philautia and live a happier life.