If you did not know already, there are several types of love. The usual flavor of love we see in films and other media products is romantic love, as it is seen as the most appealing. However, literature and psychology has identified seven types of love. These include sexual, friendly, family, universal, playful, practical, and self love. Let us explore these categories in detail in the following paragraphs.
Sexual love is most connected to what we think of as romantic. According to Psychology Today, this type of love is called “eros” in Greek mythology, and that, “it is a form of madness brought about by one of Cupid’s arrows. The arrow breaches us and we ‘fall’ in love, as did Paris with Helen, leading to the Trojan War and the downfall of Troy and much of the assembled Greek army. In modern times, eros has been amalgamated with the broader life force, something akin to Schopenhauer’s will, a fundamentally blind process of striving for survival and reproduction” (“These Are the 7 Types of Love”). Though most people do not connect infatuation with love, when one is in this state, it is difficult to say you are not in love.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have friendly love. This type of relationship is strictly platonic. With this type of love, we can say we experience what true friendship is. Psychology Today states that, “Real friends seek together to live truer, fuller lives by relating to each other authentically and teaching each other about the limitations of their beliefs and the defects in their character, which are a far greater source of error than mere rational confusion: they are, in effect, each other’s therapist—and in that much it helps to find a friend with some degree of openness, articulacy, and insight, both to change and to be changed” (“These Are the 7 Types of Love”). So, friendly love is often incurred through the grace of a connection between two people, and by that correspondance, two individuals transform each other’s lives.
Another platonic type of love is the familial variety. Family love among certain cultures is especially strong: Italian, Greek, Irish, and many more societies believe in the foundation of a strong family relationship above all else. According to Healthy Beginnings, “Unconditional love is defined as affection with no limits or conditions; complete love. Familial love and unconditional love seem to go hand in hand. Our mother or father might tell us that no matter how angry they are, they will always love us. Our brother or sister might push us around at home, but when someone else is doing the pushing, they’re always there to defend us” (“Familial Love”). Indeed, familial love is the foundation from which all other loves spring.
A high-minded and spiritual type of love comparable to the purity of familial love is universal love. Psychology Today proposes that, “At a social level, altruism serves as a signal of cooperative intentions, and also of resource availability and so of mating or partnering potential. It also opens up a debt account, encouraging beneficiaries to reciprocate with gifts and favours that may be of much greater value to us than those with which we feel able to part. More generally, altruism, or agape, helps to build and maintain the psychological, social, and, indeed, environmental fabric that shields, sustains, and enriches us” (“These Are the 7 Types of Love”). In other words, universal love makes us a more complete and holistic human being.
Down to a lower level, we have playful love, which constitutes having romantic flings. This type of uncommitted love is common among today’s users of Tinder, Grindr, and other applications that aid people in finding quick meetups to have sexual encounters. This is different than sexual love, however, as playful love does not engender infatuation.
Going higher again, practical love is related to long-term interests founded on one’s sense of duty. A love for achieving goals and working towards the betterment of two people define this type of feeling. Many political and celebrity relationships feature practical love, as they enjoy striving towards certain aspirations.
The last category is self-love. This can either manifest as pride or self-esteem, where the latter is more positive. Throughout times, hubris has been frowned upon, but having confidence in oneself has almost always been seen as a beneficial attribute.
To clear the board, we have many types of love in this world, despite what Hollywood and other media outlets tend to portray. There is sexual, friendly, family, universal, playful, practical, and self love, of which familial love and universal love are seen as the most honorable.
“These Are the 7 Types of Love.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/hide-and-seek/201606/these-are-the-7-types-love.
Healthy Beginnings. “Familial Love.” Healthy Beginnings, 25 Mar. 2016, www.hbmag.com/love2-familial-love/.
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