This writeup is an excerpt from an interview with Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones, of Utah Health University.
Love. It is a word some of us use a lot. "I love that color for you." "I just love pizza." "I love you, I love you, I love you" to our young grandchildren. Some of us have never felt comfortable using a word out loud. Philosophers, theologians, and now neuroscientists and therapists are all thinking about love. We use this word with many senses.
Maybe as we approach Valentine’s Day we should think a little bit about different types of love. Some are good for you and good for your health and some are not. Western culture among the Greeks distinguishes four types of love and has the Greek word for all. There are many sources that describe many other types of love but four are a good number.
Eros: erotic love, love
We might get the first one off the road. Eros love is either provocative or sexual or romantic. Usually it is all about the need and it is about the person who feels sexually attracted rather than the person who is the focus of that love or something that is focused on that love. It's addictive. It can cause great joy and sorrow. It is not always good for you. Many hearts are broken on Valentine’s Day because of the imperfection of sexual love.
Philia: love of friends and equals
It can be a love affair between lovers when they have been together for a long time and are not too hot and uncomfortable. It is also called brotherly love, as in the city of Philadelphia. The city of brotherly love. After all, it can be the love of my sister and the welcoming love of a good friendship. This is the love that is right for your life. A touch of a loved one. The philia touch lowers blood pressure. People in a loving relationship feel your love with fewer doctor visits, shorter hospital visits, less pain, and better moods. All these good effects of philia love, loving friendships enable us to endure difficult times.
Storge: parental love for children
This kind of love is what mothers know best but it is not so much talked about when we talk about love. Parental love for children. It is described as very natural love. Naturally because it exists without rust. It is affected because we cannot help ourselves and pay close attention to whether that person is worthy of love.
It is a temporary morality that cannot be tolerated in the love of the philia. For example, women may continue to love their children despite their misbehavior. Behaviors that they would not tolerate in their girlfriends or partners. It seems to be neglected in the care of the newborn and it is growing to allow us to love our children even if they behave in the right way. Thank goodness for that. In many ways it may be genetically engineered and strong love compared to romantic love, philia, which may not have such a hot cord.
Agape: the love of humanity
Love mimicked the love of God's Christian love for man and man's love for God. Love given whether it is restored or not. Love without self-interest. According to Buddhist tradition it is the basic principle of loving-kindness for all mankind. This kind of love is essential to the process of forgiveness. Forgiveness is essential to your life, for unforgiveness is linked to anger and many other serious health consequences. It is the kind of love that is the strongest bond of love ever, but it can be the foundation of happiness and satisfaction.
So, if you are planning something for Valentines Day with the focus of your sexual love, I hope you get it. The good news for your budget is that people tend to have sex with one person at a time. So it means one card. Good for you.
When you plan your philia love cards I hope you have a few and they make you smile and that you get a lot more.
If you are planning your favorite card games you are probably planning out some heart-shaped cookies for your kids.
If you are planning your favorite agape cards, we wish you the best of luck with that. You will break the budget and postal service to send a card to all humanity. But we can take a moment on Valentine's Day to send a little thoughtful message of love and peace to the world.
The interview was first broadcast by The Scope Radio. Scope Radio, from the University of Utah Health, promotes health advice and research that you can use to achieve a happier and healthier life.