Love is probably one of the purest forms of human emotion. So strong that hiding it hurts, so empowering that embracing it enlightens and so incredibly beautiful that every language is incomplete without a word to express it. Amor. Liebe. Grá. It is an emotion so encompassing that the Greeks could not describe it in less than seven words.
Eros is the love that you and I know. The romantic, passionate type of love. Some psychologists referred to Eros as the life instinct of all humans. A love so intensely intimate that it is maddening. In Ancient Greek, an example of Eros would be Paris falling in love with Helen and resulting in the downfall of Troy.
Philia is the affectionate love, love without romantic attraction. The love you would feel for your friends and family. A bond so beautiful that it is often translated to ‘the highest form of love’. The feeling of affection for your pet is a form of philia.
Ludus is the playful uncommitted love. The love before you fall in love, the infatuation, the overt flirtation, the butterflies in your stomach. It's rooted in having fun, whatever that means to you. Of all the words for love this one comes without any attachments, yet it remains so powerful that it makes your bad days better as you unconsciously smile.
Storge is unconditional familial love. The love despite the faults, the love that remains after fights with your siblings, the intense feeling a mother has without having met her child. It's in the small things like knowing you're sad with the tone of your voice. It's so intricate and complicated that you forget you feel it and yet your heart turns when it's amiss.
Philautia is self-love. A necessity in today's world, although there is a divide in the way it is defined. Some would say it's the healthy kind, caring for what you put in your body, the ability to walk away from what hurts you. Others define it as selfishness, fame-seeking, the foundation of narcissism. In all consideration, it can be both healthy and necessary but in excess a danger.
Pragma is committed or companionate love. It is a way of loving reached through eros, the ultimate, some believe. It is the love in the honour, in the respect, in simply accepting. The love when you compromise, the feeling and the promises that last when all else is lost. There is pragma in the graves that lie next to each other, in the spirits that hold hands. It starts when you let them change the channel and lasts even when you say goodbye.
Agape is empathy, love for all of humanity. For strangers and for nature. It is altruistic, for the sake of loving and loving only, with no expectations, just actions - sometimes even unconscious ones. Picking a fallen item for the person next to you, kicking a thorn out of the path, even a smile at the child that stares at you in the store. There is a certain beauty in referring to it as a way of love, it gives you hope.