Did you know that the Ancient Greek language recognized 8 different words for love.  In English, we have one.  I think the ancients had something on us.  The layers and context of the word love in Greek took many forms.

Eros.  Named after the Greek god of carnal love and fertility, Eros represents sexual passion and desire.

Philia.  The kind of love expressed in a deep friendship.

Ludus.  Playful love, the kind usually present in the early stages of a relationship, such as flirtation.

Agape.  Love for everyone such as friends, family and acquaintances that you treat well.  Agape is a selfless love where your show universal kindness to others and offer to listen and understand those in need.

Pragma.  A mature, long-standing love.  Typically present in between 2 long time friends or those who’ve been married a long time.

Philautia.  Love of self.  Let’s face it, you have to love yourself to take care of yourself.  If you can’t love yourself, you can’t begin to extend feelings of love, in any form, to anyone else.

Storge.  Love for family.  The kind of love rooted in kinship and allegiance to a common name.

Mania.  This kind of love evokes madness, it’s an obsessive love.  It’s the kind you see on creepy movies when a person desires someone else they can’t have.

Yet, in English, we have 1 word for all the complex layers and meanings.  That’s the word Love.  Languages are funny aren’t they?  What the Greeks expressed in 8 different ways, we lump into one, small, four letter word.  So, to us English speakers, it’s a bit tricky, don’t you think?  For example, I say “I love you” to my wife and kids all the time.  But I also say “Oh, I love that outfit!”  Completely different contexts right?  At my firm, we declare that our desire is to be a place where you can “Do work that you love with people that you love.”  That’s way different than the love I have for my wife.  A bit of Storge and Agape I’d say.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a broader palette of words to choose from to distinguish the types of love you’re talking about?  I think so.

So, what is love, really?  Such a mushy word.  Yet so powerful.  It’s an emotion like none other.  It’s what makes us human, unique from the animal kingdom.  In a relationship, the ultimate form of love can be expressed in marriage.  In a friendship, it’s what keeps you together in the hard times.  In a family, it’s the common bond you share from the traditions and legacy that have been passed down from generation to generation.  But of love, this I know to be true:

Love is patient, love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs.

Love does does not delight at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.

May you seek to love others, to be kind and compassionate to those around you.  To be someone others can love and to love yourself, as your mental, emotional and physical health depend on it.

Love well.  Love often.  Love one another.

So now faith, hope, and love remain.  But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13, New Testament of the Bible