The very clever Ancient Greeks came up with six words for love: eros, philia, ludus, agape, pragma and philautia.
I might not know how to pronounce half of them but I can appreciate the importance these individual words give to the different kind of relationships we have in life!
Eros is the first kind of love we think of when Valentine’s Day approaches or just whenever we hear the word love. It means the kind of love shared between two individuals of a romantic kind; with your husband, wife, partner, lover or significant other. The red roses and chocolate kind.
Philia refers to the love between close friends. In our family, we call these kinds of people our mafia-friends – they know everything about you and could quite possibly blackmail you with the kind of information you entrusted to them!
Ludus simply means a good night out! When you hang out with some pals and you just have a jolly good time. Children often display this kind of love when the play together. Laughter and noise are often associated Ludus.
Agape – now Mother Teresa had loads of agape. Agape is the love we have for our fellow human beings. People in our community. A lack of agape is cause for concern in modern society. So many people become lonely in a city with millions because there is so little love between strangers.
Pragma is what most couples are striving for – when you have a long-term relationship that has become so stable, dependable and wonderfully comfortable that you understand and deeply appreciate each other, you have pragma.
Philautia: this should really be right at the top of the list as without this, all the other loves are impossible. Philautia, or self-love, is essential to be able to establish or form deep relationships with others. When you have respect, understanding, empathy, patience and compassion for and with yourself, you will understand the value of those qualities and apply them in all other relationships
What is eros without respect, philia without empathy, ludus without caring, agape without compassion and pragma without patience?
This February, use the ancient Greek words to guide you on the path of love. Include some of every kind in your daily life and see how rich and beautiful your life becomes.