This blog post is part of a regular series where I answer TableTopics questions. What's in it for you? Reading this answer may spark a new idea, opinion, or emotion. If this happens I would love to hear about it in the comments!!!
This is the hardest question I’ve had to answer so far in this series. It’s a heavy hitter.
As the famous Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen says:
And he’s absolutely right. Love requires a person to be their most vulnerable self, something which I know personally to be far harder than any other endeavour I’ve pursued (and that’s why I’m going to skirt around this TableTopics question for the next few paragraphs)!
The Greeks classified love as being one of four types: agape, phileo, storge, and eros.
Agape is a unconditional love that accepts the person for exactly who they are. Loving someone just because they are a fellow human is an attribute of agape. It also means that you give without expecting anything in return
Phileo love is warm, affectionate, and platonic. It makes you like someone, and you don't feel it towards everyone. While you may feel agape love towards an enemy, you are unlikely to feel phileo love towards them.
Storge love is warm, secure, and safe. You feel it with your family and friends. It is also unconditional (this is what I learned from Google. I don’t quite see how it’s different from agape and phileo. If you have any ideas on this, I would love to hear them in the comments!).
Now for the good stuff! Eros is romantic love. It is highly emotional, sexual, and focuses more on the self than the other person. The downside is that eros love can fade, and if it’s not supported by one of the other types of love the relationship can self destruct.
How does this relate to who I love, and what I’m doing about it? Well, I have a lot of agape, phileo, and storge love in my life right now. I tell my mom I love her everyday, and I’m not shy to tell my friends how important they are to me. I strongly believe that this is a very important thing to do in life. I never want to regret not telling people I love how much they mean to me.
I also know how nice it is to receive love and acknowledgement from people I care about. So making this part of my life is really a practice in empathy.
As for eros love, I find it more difficult. Why? Probably because I don’t have oodles of experience with it. And anything where I don’t have lots of experience tends to diminish confidence.
This is something I aim to change in the future. It’s a part of life that’s just too important to ignore.
I know you probably have a much more insightful answer inside of you, and I’m genuinely interested to hear it!
For the full list of questions + answers go to this post: 365 TableTopics Questions + Answers