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Eight (8) ways to express love this Valentine’s.
Get yourself something nice, love yourself as you deserve, Be your own Valentine
If you have been reading my blogs from day one you may remember that I started by saying I am a single parent before listing all my “constituencies” i.e., the groups I feel I belong to or for some reason or another identify with. Today in the light of St Valentine’s day having been celebrated this weekend I think it useful to talk about love and the single life.
Now, do not believe I ever chose to be single, that is I never set out to be on my own in this world. I think like every little girl I had every expectation that “Mr Right “would come along and rock my world and then I would get married and we would live happily ever after. Well suffice it to say -That just did not happen! At least not the way I had hoped or dreamed.
At a time like this especially in the face of a pandemic which forces already isolated people to isolate even more, I find myself reflecting on life and love and what it means to me or at least how I perceive it now in my “older but wiser” years. As a single woman how do I “find it” and or notice it when it presents itself or in the areas of my life that are not so obvious. Well, experience has taught me that there are several types of love and I have experience with them all. The following is a breakdown of what they are and which I engage in and those I stay clear from.
Firstly, there is that love you feel for your mother or father, a kind of no matter what love known as Storge and is shared between parents. children and childhood friends. It is a deep true love that is pure and real, and I can feel it when I look into the eyes of my children. It is there. The kind of love that makes you feel like you are going to burst inside and that you would do anything to express it, including laying down your life should the need arise.
Then there is a different kind of love that you have for your brothers and sisters- Philia – this is a love that may also be shared with friends and has no romantic feelings attached. My heart has also been filled with this love and I enjoy reminiscing on times gone by where I can notice it in my life in abundance especially in moments spent with my brothers in the recent past or friends that I consider like family.
Next up is that love that makes you giddy and feel like you are falling head over heels for someone. They call it Ludus, it is playful and flirtatious and usually occurs at the beginning of a relationship. I must say this is the kind of love I would most readily associate with cupid and his bow. I enjoy the feelings associated with ludus immensely and it may be one of the reasons I love being single the most because I can show myself openly and honestly to people without reservation and not feel badly because this is the kind of love that I can feel towards a child or an old lady as well as a man- young or old. It is one of the ways I most easily connect with others – and though it may ofttimes get me into trouble it is one of the most pure and simplistic ways of showing my love to others. There are many places and people in my life where I can express this[ED1] love. I feel truly blessed in this way.
This is closely followed by Eros– romantic love which involves personal infatuation and physical pleasure. Now whilst eros is all well and good and can be great fun, lately I have found that I am not interested in investing too much into this if there is no commitment involved. There was a time when eros was all I sought after and felt that it would be enough to fill my life, but in the end I found it lacked something if there was not a kind of mature love that went along with it. Eros on its own more times than not left me feeling empty and unfulfilled (and still does).
One type of love that I have felt perhaps one time too many isMania– obsessive love!. This one I could do without. I have been on the receiving end of this at least once – with my ex – husband – and more times than I care to mention with partners I was attached to. I find the balance between eros and ludus needs to be carefully met to avoid this mania. One way I manage to achieve the right balance is by focussing more on myself versus the other person. I try to recognize obsessive behaviours and make a point to not act on them. There was perhaps a time when this type of love might have driven me to act the psycho chick role. Not interested in that kind of drama at this stage of my life. Now I avoid it like the plague.
So now I find myself longing for a much more mature kind of love that develops over time. A type of love called Pragma whichis a unique bonded love that matures over many years. It is an everlasting love between a couple that chooses to put equal effort into their relationship. Commitment and dedication are required to reach “Pragma.” Instead of “falling in love,” you are “standing in love” with the partner you want by your side indefinitely. This is the love I find most attractive now. In fact, soooooooo attractive that I might add I am accepting applications this week – serious enquiries only though!
As I wrap up, I must mention that I am actively working on Philautia aka self-love. No matter where you are in life, or what your status is I think this kind of love is a definite must and ought to be developed and nurtured over time if you are to be successful in sharing any kind of love to another human being. Until you can respect, accept and appreciate yourself all your attempts at love will fall short and lead to frustration. This year I have made an extra special effort to develop a heathy self-compassion and love towards myself.
Last but by no means least is the Big daddy / momma of ALL love types and it is the one that we need to adopt as a matter of fact. This is selfless love or Agape – an empathetic attitude of love towards anyone and everyone. This love is unconditional and is most in line with the love that brought us here. This above all is the love that we need to work daily to achieve. This is the love that makes it possible to forgive no matter how hard it feels. This is the love I wish for all when I say I love you!
In conclusion, in order to achieve the love we deserve in our lives in the right doses, or even to be able to see where they play out and appreciate them fully it might be prudent to look out for and apply a combination of love types to different relationships and then sit back and watch them flourish:
For friendship: One part Philia, one-part Storge and one part Philautia
For Family; One-part Storge, one part Agape, one part Philia
For your Significant other Equal parts Pragma, Eros and Ludus
This brings me to the end of yet another blog. It was fun sharing all my thoughts on love today. I hope it was informative and engaging and ultimately leads you to a more loving experience. If you are like me single and disengaged, I hope you got a chance to see just how much love you have in your life and that regardless of where you are or what your status, I wish you a Happy Valentine s week from the bottom of my agape loving heart.
Happy Valentine’s Day Y’all!! Hugs and Kisses! Peace out. –