Love is a four-letter word that may be described in many different ways. Different people have different notions about love. For some, love might be sharing that last slice of pizza, it might be making time in their busy schedule, and for some, it might be sharing their playlist. Similarly, there are various elements of love. When we talk about love, we also have certain unrealistic expectations that we gain from the rom-coms that we watch.
Types of Love
Love is very simple, and in its truest form, love is an eternal feeling of bliss. There are many other types of love apart from just romantic love. By chasing romantic love, we often forget about other types of love that exist in our life, which might prove to be more fulfilling and comforting in the long term. The different types of love are:
It is affectionate love. It is not romantic in nature and is shared between friends. It exists between two people when they share the same values, have the same wavelength, and respect each other. It can also be referred to as “brotherly love.”
People who share philia are open to each other, trustworthy, supportive, and engage in deep and meaningful conversation. The distinctive feature of philia is shared goodwill. Friendships founded on goodness are connected to mutual benefit and togetherness, reliability, and trust.
It is passionate love. It is sexual and is displayed through physical intimacy or affection. Our body releases hormones that awaken our sexual desires, which the admired partner must fulfill. This type of love is basically a desire for another individual’s physical body.
It can be displayed through physical touch such as hugging, holding hands, kissing, or any other romantic affection or admiration.
It is familial love. It is kind of a philia but between parents and children. This type of love is built on deep emotional connection and acceptance. Storge is the fondness that grows as a result of dependency or familiarity.
It is a naturally occurring type of love. It can be displayed by sharing memorable and eventful moments, sacrificing time, self or pleasure, and forgiveness.
It is playful love. It is the flirtatious and childlike love found in the beginning stages of relationships. It can also be the uncommitted love with the focus of no strings attached. Ludus works best when both individuals are emotionally mature and self-sufficient.
In this type of love, our emotions allow us to feel excited, giddy, and interested in the other person. It can be displayed through dancing, teasing, seducing, engaging in whimsical conversation, or conjugating.
It is obsessive love. In this type of love, there is unwanted possessiveness or jealousy; it leads to codependency. Here the survival instincts drive an individual to want their partners desperately. When there is an imbalance of love between couples, mania or obsessive love arises more often than not.
It is enduring love. This love develops over one’s long-term interest and matures as the years pass. In this type of love, personal qualities, shared goals, and compatibility are more important, and sexual tension takes a back seat.
The subconscious drives the two towards each other. To develop this kind of love, commitment and dedication are required.
It is self-love. It is love that makes you realize your self-worth and personal needs. Self-love begins with having a sense of your self-worth and acknowledging that you are responsible for your own well-being.
Our soul always allows us to reflect on our physical, emotional, and mental needs.
It is the selfless love that you have to offer to the universe. It is the love that you give without expecting anything in return. Our spirits create bigger purposes than ourselves, which motivates us to pass on kindness to others. Agape can be said the love for the unknown or can be linked to the concept of altruism. This kind of love can be displayed through staying conscious of our actions for the good of humankind, helping others improve their life, or donating to charity.
All the different types of love are present in individuals to some degree at any given point.
Elements of Love
As there are different types of love, there are different elements of love too. The love relationships should have these elements of love for one to have a solid and mature relationship. The different elements of love are:
In Sanskrit, this element of love is also known as “Maitri.” This element means that to love someone in the truest form, we should be kind towards them and not intentionally hurt them.
Genuine love ought to create happiness and not agony; having the option to offer happiness to your partner is the pith of this element of love. But one must always keep in mind that the first person to offer love-kindness should be ourselves, because if we can’t keep ourselves happy, how will we offer others happiness.
This element of love is known as “Karuna” in Sanskrit. Like love-kindness, we need first to practice compassion towards ourselves. Then only will we be able to have compassion towards our partners or anyone else? With compassion, we understand our sufferings and other people and wish for others (and ourselves) to be free from them. True compassion is free of personal attachment or intention. One compassionate action, word, or thought can diminish someone else’s anguish and bring them delight.
“Mudita” is what this element of love is known as in Sanskrit. Love in its truest form will always bring one joy. True love will always help one suffer less. When we know how to create opportunities for joy and deal with agony ourselves, we can always help our partners in this domain. There is no true love if there is no joy in that relationship.
This element of love is known as “Upeksha” in Sanskrit. The word “Upeksha” literally means to overlook (‘up” means over, and “iksha” means to look). This element of love means that if your love is bounded by attachment, discrimination, or clinginess, it is not in its truest form. As long as we see ourselves as different from others or of more value than others, true equanimity cannot be attained.
Growth is one of the elements of love that implies that the partners should grow as individuals. People should encourage their partners to do things that might bring them closer to their goals or make them develop internally. Partners should push each other to reach their full potential. Among other elements of love, growth is a very important one cause if the love is true, you should grow along with your relationship.
This element of love implies that true love will always feel safe and comforting, and the person will always feel at home. If you don’t feel secure in a relationship, it is not true, and it might also cause irreversible damage. Feeling secure isn’t equal to feeling caged. True love gives you the space to feel free and yet feel safe.
One of the elements of love is shine; it exists as one being loved to such a great extent that they radiate light and warmth in the presence of their partner. If this element of love exists in one’s relationship, the partners will feel excited, happy, and optimistic. In true love, partners help each other shine.
There is no feeling more beautiful than being seen and accepted for who you are. Acceptance is one of the elements of love that is basic to any relationship. We should accept our partners wholly as they are, with their flaws, insecurities, and vulnerabilities. True love means accepting each other without any filter, both mentally and physically, and if one cannot do so, you know that it is not true love.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, and he has written many books, and one of them is “How to Love.” It is a tiny book of only 125 pages that are filled with snippets that have the power to transform our lives. The book has in mention many elements of love with Buddhists as well as today’s modern perspective. Thich Nhat Hanh said that true love has healing and transformative powers, it helps one gain deeper meaning about life and their surroundings too. Happiness comes hand in hand with true love.
Your love needn’t stick to any particular definition. We all experience different types of love, and it might be unique to us. As long as the elements of love are present in your relationship or above, that relation brings you happiness, and it is all worth it.