We love our moms and our best friends and coffee and tacos, but do we mean the same thing when we say we love these things? Of course not! Below are seven ways to describe the love you have.
Pro Tip: Map out the many ways you give and receive love in your own life to more fully appreciate the wide variety of loves you experience.
The reason for the (Valentine's) season? Eros represents sexual and passionate love and is what most of us think of when we think of Valentine's Day, Cupid, and falling in love. Often feels immediate and lustful and was sometimes viewed as fiery and dangerous by the Greeks for its ability to take hold and possess you.
The love between friends. This relationship is marked by mutual and platonic caring, compassion, openness, authenticity, insight, dependability, companionship, and trust. The loyalty and connection were valued highly by most esteemed philosophers as a strategy for growth and development.
Unconditional, familial love. Early in life, it's asymmetrical, as parents care for children selflessly and little ones depend on their parents. Often sought out in romantic relationships, this often evolves over time from eros and feels safe, comfortable, and secure.
The unselfish concern for the welfare of others. Sometimes called charity or altruism, this is a love that supports others as well as one's own wellbeing through encouraged reciprocity. This love is extended to all, whether extended family or distant strangers and often serves as the highest form of love in many spiritual teachings.
Playful love. This kind of love is common between children and flirtatious strangers. A clear focus on fun—unattached, undemanding, uncomplicated fun. Often found in the earliest stages of a relationship or with casual lovers, marked by lots of laughter and gentle teasing.
Good, old, practical love. Often found in arranged marriages and long-term committed relationships with a focus on compatibility and making it work. Generally described as mature and realistic, this type of relationship requires patience, tolerance, and lots of compromise.
Self-love. Most split this into two sub-types: Healthy self-love, which, like self-esteem, demonstrates our own concept of our self-worth and is necessary for most other types of love, and hubris, an inflated sense of self marked by narcissism and arrogance.
Which kind of love are you feeling most in your life right now? Which one is missing? Let me know in the comments below!