The Most Colossally Misunderstood Four-letter Word
If there are any Queen fans out there, you know that the crazy little thing I’m talking about is called love. Freddie Mercury had it right, and like him, most of us “ain’t ready,” either.
It’s not just the romance we ain’t ready for. It’s often difficult for us to show anything resembling love in any of its forms. There’s just something about letting people see our softer sides. And it’s not just romantic love. It’s love for parents, siblings, children, and friends.
Expressing sentiment or anything that shows our underbellies is difficult, as some see it as a sign of weakness. Odd how we are not judged when we are rash, judgemental, or angry. But God forbid you cry or get “mushy” as they say.
I have a friend who has this big, soft heart. It has taken him years to show his true self. He’s finally comfortable being vulnerable and open, but it’s a new experience for him. He’s one of those big, burly, bear hug guys. When it comes to love, it pours out of him.
He now joyfully gives as much as he receives. It’s changed his life and is proud to be called “a girly man.”
Let’s take a look at the different types of love.
Types of Love
There’s more than one type of love, and the Ancient Greeks had many different words for it.
- Eros- romantic or erotic love
- Philia-affectionate love, love between equals but not family.
- Storge- love for family or close friends. Love without physical attraction.
- Ludus- playful love like among young lovers.
- Mania-obsessive love. It signifies an imbalance between eros and Ludus.
- Pragma-enduring love, love beyond the physical that has lasted a long time.
- Philautia- self-love
- Agape- love of humanity or Self-less Love. Also called a spiritual type of love. It is free from desire or expectation.
Love is hard
Unless it’s an occasion where the expression of love is expected, like a wedding, it’s not something that comes easily.
You can see and feel the love. And it’s not only the bride and groom that feel it. Love is in the air, everyone is on the prowl, and the desire for it seems to penetrate everyone’s skin. This playful, obsessive, romantic, passionate type of love is readily available here. Of all the types of loves, once we find it, it’s the easiest to accept.
It’s the enduring, every day, love that comes after the romance that proves to be the most difficult. It might be someone who we felt passionate about, but now that love has settled down into everyday life.
Where did the love go?
At this point, you may be asking yourself, “Is it true that love never dies?”
Yes, and no.
Yes, that hot, romantic eros, Ludus, mania fades with time. Nothing can burn hot forever, or it will burn itself out. You’ve settled in, and all the normal life things are now a part of the picture. The excitement is gone. So yes, in a sense, that type of love has died.
You fall in love, and then life happens.
But no, the love itself has not died. It’s changed. It’s moving toward the pragma, that love that has passed the test of time and endured. It’s the time where you know this lover is your best friend for life, BFFL as they say.
You’ve put up with each other’s shit and supported one another. And you still want to see their face when you wake up in the morning.
Like everything else, love has changed. But it’s essence is still love.
There are two problems in my way of thinking.
One is you begin to find it difficult to show love, affection, or appreciation for that person in general. Life is difficult can indeed get in the way. Then the words and actions might become harsh.
To expect life to be easy, or go smoothly, or not have stuff happen is to set yourself up for failure.
Accept that life is hard for you and everyone, whether or not you can see it. No one’s life, or love life or marriage, is perfect. Once you get that out of the way, try to touch back into what brought you together to begin with.
Maybe you just need to find it again.
And love for your kids? Can you go back to that time when you first held them in your arms as newborns? That’s like the beginning of a romance. You love them so much; you want to protect them. They then do things that scare the crap out of you, and when they don’t end up dead, you want to kill them.
The same goes for siblings and parents. There are times we love them dearly, and times we can’t get far enough away. The point is to come back if it’s healthy for us. Yes, we hurt the ones we love, and they hurt us, and sometimes time apart can give us a much-deserved break.
Little things mean a lot, and now more than ever, it’s the thought that counts. Do the little kind things to keep the love alive. An unexpected compliment, a phone call, or a word of encouragement can go a long way.
Number two. To get to this point that your love has lasted years, you’ve got to have a strong sense of self-love. Agape. Yes, you’ve got to love yourself before you can love anyone else.
You can’t give what you don’t have or what you’re hiding and afraid to show. If you don’t have it, your partner isn’t getting any love. It also means you feel unloved and require a lot from your partner.
You take, but you can’t give. And if you’re not giving any to your partner, eventually they will be empty.
It all begins and ends with you.
Love is crazy and sometimes blind, but there’s no denying it’s worth the trouble. If it weren’t, it would’ve gone out of style a long time ago, and we wouldn’t be searching for it.
Love is also about balance and knowing it will change.
To get it, you’ve got to have it for yourself and then give it to others, even if you “ain’t ready, Freddie.” Life is short and time-is-of-the-essence. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so go for it and give it.
My girly-man friend exemplifies agape, and he’s willing to go the extra mile to show love and compassion. We can learn a lot from the people in our lives, and I’ve certainly learned from him. He puts himself and his love for others out there every day.
But even he has a limitation.
“Don’t ask me to wear a dress.”
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