Part I—Multidimensional Love
I love oatmilk lattes. I love baseball. I love my family. I love you. Do we really mean the same thing when we speak of our love for America’s favorite pastime, our family, or our partner? In the English language, we have one word to cover all the bases (pun intended) of love. But this hasn’t always been the case. The Ancient Greeks had much to say on love and notably had multiple words for love, in order to more precisely express love’s different facets.
The most significant ones being:
Philos—love between friends
Agape—sacrificial love or what is often translated in English to “charity”
The Ancient Greek language reflected the truth that there are different kinds of love we experience depending upon the relationship and context.
In his revered work, Symposium, Ancient Greek thinker Plato asserts that love is born into us. In other words, Plato contends that being loved and loving in return is a fundamental feature of the human experience. We will feel incomplete and unsatisfied if our lives are absent of love. We are fulfilled and happy when we give and receive love.
In our modern context, we often assume that romantic love, or what the Greeks refer to as eros, is the chief way we fill up our love tank. But taking to heart the wisdom of the Greeks, meaningful love is multidimensional because the human person is.
Fast forward 2000 years, Sue Johnson, founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), gets it right—human beings aren’t just created for connection; we need it to flourish. When we don’t have love, we feel the deprivation because we are wired for it. While the definition of love is something that has been meditated upon for millenniums, sorting through the experiences of love is a bit murkier. In today’s world, we don’t distinguish between the different kinds of love. But we do use more clinical terms to explain love—attachment science, emotional regulation, and bonding.
If different communities of people like the Ancient Greeks and modern social scientists agree that giving and receiving love is necessary for our happiness and human development, why does it seem like a dream that has eclipsed so many of us?
This Post Written By:
Nicole Rizkallah, LAMFT – Therapy With Heart
8737 E. Via De Commercio, Suite 200
Scottsdale, Arizona 85258
Phone: (480) 888-5380
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