The Love Equation

“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”–Victor Hugo

This article may be considered a cliché; it might even be boring. However, it is timely that we are reminded of this, as it ushers the new year and anticipates the forthcoming “day of hearts.”

What better way to reassess and examine the true nature of our emotions, and how we can manage the same when it is purposely given to another or something, for that matter.

For some, this season brings magic, joy, delight, and even ecstasy; full of promises of hope, happiness, and yes, love.

What Is Love?
Love is defined as “an intense feeling or deep affection.” In another form, it is “the feeling of great interest or pleasure in something.”

Speaking of forms, it is interesting to note that love in itself has eight different types, each for a specific representation and level of affection, as well as effect on a particular person.

Here it goes:
1. Philia – Affectionate Love
This type of love occurs among friends and family members. It exists among people with the same beliefs, ideas, extending mutual values and respect for each other. Also, it is not romantic; hence, commonly known as “brotherly [or sibling] love.” Trust, openness, and gratitude are values lined for this type.
2. Pragma – Enduring Love
Maturing through time, it often involves a couple who are subconsciously drawn to each other and have a special bond between them. It is borne of commitment and dedication for each other, with equal effort for the strengthening of the relationship. A couple chooses to “stand in love” instead of “fall in love” with each other forever.
3. Storge – Familial Love
A natural or instinctual affection between mother and child or vice-versa, or even among best friend, it represents infinite love through acceptance and deep emotional connection. The value of the relationship is strengthened through the memories created. Common manifestations are the sacrifice of one’s self or personal time and pleasures and the quick forgiveness of harmful acts. Gratitude is a value exercised in this type.
4. Eros – Romantic Love
Defined as passionate love displayed through physical affection–usually by means of but not limited to hugging, kissing, and holding hands–it is the desire for an admired partner’s body.
5. Ludus – Playful Love
An expression of flirtatious interest on the person admired, it is typically the initial stages of intimate love, or the “honeymoon stage” in a relationship. Its manifestation involves laughter, playful motives, and teasing.
6. Mania – Obsessive Love
It is the obsession (or madness) of a person towards a love partner, which involves unwanted jealousy or possessiveness, commonly known as codependency. The imbalance of Eros and Ludus is a usual cause of Mania, such that, the person in question is desperately in need of his partner to find a sense of self-value. Trust is a standing value against the occurrence of this form.
7. Philautia – Self Love
It is a healthy form of love drawn towards the self in which one recognizes his self-worth. He accords himself with his personal needs and optimum respect. He also recognizes the responsibility he has to nurture his own emotional, physical, and mental well-being. After all, the love for self is what a person initially needs before he could even love another person. As one of the laws on love goes, “one cannot give what he doesn’t have.”
8. Agape – Selfless Love
Lastly, the expression of unconditional love in any given situation, whether good or bad. Considered the highest form of love since it involves being empathetic to others, at the same time not asking for anything in return. The purpose that it gives to a person in this act of love motivates him even more as far as to enrich the lives of those in need. I remember back in grade school when I was a teeny-weeny star scout; our moderator would always talk to us and remind us about Agape love and how it is important to be always kind and generous to others.

Truth be told, there is no perfect love. It is actually a combination or balance of the above and how this applies to our relationships, in line with our purpose. A well-balanced form of love requires a sound and rational intellect and stable emotion. The opposite will be chaos.

Overall, the kind of love that we choose exhilarates our sense of purpose in the way that fills our needs. Love moves in strange ways, but we are the ones who make that move concrete and possible. Love (the well-balanced form of it) makes the world go round.

*Currently working at Philippine International Convention Center, where she began services 21 years ago, Kathryn Valladolid Ebrahim is an alumna of St. Scholastica’s College-Manila; she finished a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology, at University of Sto. Tomas.