Types of Love
Love is one of the oldest subjects. Many real and fictional stories have focused on current subject, where such stories as Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella and many others have gained worldwide readership. Love has been discussed at different levels, including individual, family, societal, national and even global. People have always been encouraged to love one another in order to live in harmony. In other words, love is a daily topic that is discussed in various ways. Love integrates families, societies and nations. It is also known as the perfect tool of overcoming evil. In order to describe such worldwide phenomenon, current paper will provide an in depth description of love, its importance, its forms and how values change due to love.
Love is important in people’s life. It is caused by the fact that the society lives in the coexistence mode meaning that people depend on one another. Since people are social and must interact, love is important as it enhances such interaction among them. Love emotion makes people care about others and what happens to them. Moreover, love brings happiness and joy in people’s lives and it is also simple to trust one another in time of love. As for children, parental love helps and increases their survival rate and chances, since it compels their parents to care for them. In times of distress, love is important as it helps people overcome problems, especially when family members and friends express their positive attitude towards a distressed person. Love also increases emotional bond, as well as helps individuals in increasing their mutual support for one another (His Holiness Dalai Lama).
Personally, I think that love is important for survival. It means that my survival depends on love, since my parents gave birth and cared for me as a result of their love towards me. Moreover, the feeling of love is important not only for humanity, but for all living things. For example, animals also need love and they love each other, as well. Likewise, plants need love from humans, since the environment can only exist due to their love. To me, love is when I feel attached to another person or a thing that is important to me, as it helps in satisfying emotional needs. One characteristic of love is that it is biological in that it is an innate feeling that has to be given and also be received. The strength of love is in that it can maintain a society as mentioned above.
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When discussing love, it is always good to define love and explain the different types of it. According to the online dictionary, love has many definitions. Love is an emotion that is strong and constant towards another person. Love can also be defined as an attraction, which is inclusive of sexual desire. However, such type of love, according to the dictionary, is felt by people who have a romantic relationship. The same dictionary defines love as a strong affection towards another person due to such things as personal and kinship ties. Love is also an attraction that is based on common interests, benevolence and admiration. It is also a feeling of devotion, enthusiasm and warm attachment (Merriam Webster Dictionary).
One of the ancient civilizations, the Greek, also has their definition of love. According to them, love can be divided into six categories. The first type of love according to the Greeks is Eros, which is passionate or romantic love. Some of the Greek philosophers stated that it is the most important type of love. The second type of love is Ludus, which is viewed as an uncommitted love or love that is based on game-playing. In such type of love, lying is viewed as part of the game. A person who holds such kind of love is not committed to anyone and is known to have many conquests. The third type of love, according to the same philosophers, is Storge, which is friendship-based and slowly developing. Such love type starts with the participating in mutual activities and leads to long-term relationships. In such type of love, sex is not obligatory or intense. The fourth type of love according to the same group is Pragma, which is practical love that leads to mutual benefits. Current love type is not always romantic. Sex is only included in such love when children are desired or needed. The fifth type of love is Mania, which unlike others is jealous, possessive and extreme. People who fall into current category tend to perform thoughtless actions, such as stalking the people they love. Lastly, there is Agape love, according to the Ancient Greeks. Such love is explained by its gentle and caring characteristics. It is also giving, brotherly and does not look at self-gain. According to the Greeks, it is rare and is only exhibited by rare individuals (Lee).
Apart from the Greeks and the dictionary, modern scholars have also classified the types of love as they exist today. According to the Jonathan Inc., a foundation concerned with youths and teaching them about love, four types of love exist. They are: sexual love, Agape love and friendship love (Jonathan Inc.). In his theories of love, Sternberg developed a triangular theory of love. According to the psychologist, love can be classified in three categories: commitment, passion and intimacy. Intimacy category included such love types as friendship or liking, infatuation, romantic love, companionate and consummate love. Passion category comprises of such love types as infatuation, romantic love, fatuous and consummate love. Lastly, the commitment love can be infatuation, fatuous, companionate and consummate.
Sternberg argued that it was most common among true friends, whereby feelings such as bonding, closeness and warmth are felt. The sociologist explained infatuated love as love at first sight, which is felt devoid of intimacy. In his view, such love does not last long, since its disappearance is sudden. He also explained the notion of empty love, which stems from deteriorating of strong love. In this case, all is left is commitment, but passion and intimacy disappears. Such love was explained as common in cultures where arranged marriages exist, since relationships begin from empty love. The other one is romantic love, which, according to Sternberg, is characterized by passionate arousal and emotional bonding. Companionate love is also identified by the sociologist and involves commitment and deep affection without passion in marriages. Steinberg explained that companionate love is stronger when compared to friendship and it requires stronger commitment. Family love was categorized as a part of companionate love, since it is among people that spend much time together. Fatuous love was characterized as the type of love that exists among married people, since it was driven by passion without intimacy, which is a stabilizing factor. Lastly, Steinberg identified consummate love, which is complete and only achieved by few people, though desired by all. When talking about the three major types of love, namely intimacy, passion and commitment, Steinberg explained that the type of love can shift during the relationship (Steinberg).
How the Different Types of Love affect an Individual
From the earlier discussion, three types of love can be noted: godly love, family and friendship love and romantic love. One of the loves, Agape or godly love is difficult to avoid for a person. Scholars argue that such love comes from God and then flows to the individuals. Agape love leads to commitment. In addition, Agape love leads to endurance and commitment to the other person. As for Christians who believe in Agape love, it brings them joy and hope. The effects of Agape love on an individual are different from the effects of romantic love on a person. Psychologists explain that romantic love affects a person psychologically. Researchers have explained that romantic love produces the same effects on an individual’s brain like drugs, such as powerful pain relievers and cocaine. The researchers explained that it is the reason why some people love taking cocaine, as it has the power of touching the area that makes a person feel good like when the person is in love. Additionally, romantic love has an ability to make people happy. Psychologists have also discussed the role of romantic love in relieving pain (WebMD).
Although they may seem similar, romantic love is unlike Agape love, since it causes pain when it is lost. From the earlier observation, Agape love cannot be withdrawn, since it is unconditional. However, romantic love can actually be withdrawn. In such cases, a person may be subjected to pain and emotional suffering caused by the negative experience. In her attempt to determine the negative effects of withdrawing romantic love, Sailor argued that romantic love is important in marriages and is a necessary ingredient of them. However, when it is withdrawn, it can lead to various disorders, such as mood disorders for both adolescents and adults. It can also lead to anger and sadness after being withdrawn. Sometimes, life satisfaction may be lowered as a result of such negative experience (Sailor 3). Additionally, the author explains that the more the years that individuals had engaged in romantic life and the amount of trust also determines the amount of emotional distress. It is caused by the fact that closeness leads to trust and breaking the trust is considered painful by many people (Sailor, 4). However, one of the most painful forms of romantic love is rejection to an extent that people fail to function after they are rejected. The psychologist explained that different gender groups have different reactions to romantic love and its ending. Women tend to experience more distress than men when they are deprived of romantic love. Sometimes, the effects of romantic love and its withdrawal is physical. For example, some people after such ordeal tend to experience physical pain in their chests. Others may become depressed to an extent that they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
According to scholars, family love is important to the children, since it helps in boosting their intelligence level (Ian). Therefore, when children are deprived in terms of family love, their emotional well-being and their intelligence are damaged. When such children have problems with stunted growth, lower IQ develops from love deprivation. In addition, stunted growth is another effect of love deprivation among children. A study done to support such argument proved that stunted children who move to foster home show higher results in terms of growth. Love and care positively affect not only children. The researchers explain that love also affects adults, since it improves their psychological health (Shulz and Paula).
Why People Love Me
A personal look at myself shows that some people love and adore me. Starting with my parents, their love towards me is caused by the natural fact that I am their child. In addition, they are the one responsible for delivering me into this world. Without them, I would probably not exist. Therefore, they love me as their own child. They also love me in a Christian manner. Since they are Christians, my parents love me as a way of exercising their Christian faith. My brothers and sisters, on the other hand, love me with their sibling love. They also love me because they have simply used to me. It has been discussed earlier in Steinberg’s theory, whereby he defines such type of love as companionate love, which is shared among family members. Some people also love me because they like me. Some like me due to my looks, while others like me due to my personality. It is mostly observed among my friends, as some of them have a strong liking for me, while the others envy me, as well. In addition, I have noticed similar liking among my teachers. Some of them like me because I perform well in class and I finish my homework in time. Others like me because I am good at answering questions.
Liking is also evident among my neighbors. Some of them argue that I am peaceful and friendly, while others like the way I interact with their children, since I always try to be polite. Regarding the above information, I have observed another type of love among my parents, which is also observable among my church members and some of my religious neighbors, namely Agape love. Such people love me without any particular reason. Instead, they love me because it is their duty and the way they live and things they believe in make them love others. I have observed their love, which is not egoistic and is shared in any situation. However, it is not common for all people, since only a small number of them can experience such love. For example, I have also seen people loving me because sometimes they could use me for their personal intentions. Such people love me because they know they can gain something from me. But when such people receive what they want, they stop hating me or withdraw from me, since their feelings were temporary as explained by Steinberg.
Does the Value of Love Change Culture?
It should be stated that love is strong and sometimes unmatchable. When talking about love in an organizational setting, Barsade and O’Neill argue that love has the capability of positively impacting an organizational culture. It means that if love can affect the culture in an organizational setting, it can also affect the society’s culture in a positive way. According to the two researchers, love starts with the company’s employees and then flows to the clients. The researchers also explain that the employee who lives in a loving family or in a loving relationship can impart the same culture of love to his/her fellow employees (Barsade and O’Neill, 2). Employees who often experience love and other related emotions are also tend to share positive traits among the fellow employees. The researchers explain such love calling it companionate love, which is the same notion provided by Steinberg.
According to them, such love is similar to romantic love only in that it is less intense and does not necessarily involve such things as passion, since it is based on tender connection between people. It occurs when people’s lives are interconnected as explained earlier by Steinberg. Such love, which positively impacts the organization’s culture, is not self-focused. In addition, it promotes sensitivity and interdependence among one another. As a result, it helps in strengthening the social bonds in the society and in making people committed and connected to each other at the same time. When explaining the type of love that can change body culture, Barsade and O’Neill state that it can be expressed in cognitive appraisal, body language, vocal tone, facial expression, psychological sensations and subjective experienced. Such expression can be transmitted from one individual to another forming a culture of love in the organization (Barsade and O’Neill 4).
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In addition, Barsade and O’Neill explain that such love can also be shaped by the social context within which it operates. When expressed, it makes people feel as objects of care and also leads to softness, sentiments and fellowship among the employees. Other emotions, such as tenderness, compassion, caring and affection, also stem from companionate love. In some situations, it helps in attracting employees in a certain area of expertise.
In conclusion, a description of love, its importance, its forms and explanation of how values change due to love helps in understanding such widely shared phenomenon. The description helps in understanding that love is important not only to individuals, but to the family and to the society, as well. It is caused by the fact that love acts as the uniting force and helps in survival of the human race. A research on love reveals various types of love in traditional setting, as well as in modern settings. However, three main forms of love, which include Agape love, romantic love and companionate love that is shared among friends and family, dominate in definitions and description. Moreover, the researchers say that love has positive effects on individuals. Such effects include increasing of the intelligence level among kids and bringing happiness and joy into the lives of individuals. However, when withdrawn, love may have negative effects, such as depression, physical illness and negative emotions. Regarding the culture, love is said to have the ability of imparting positive values, such as care and cohesiveness. Due to such positive attributes of love, it should be promoted at all levels. People should love one another, while families should work hard to promote love. The society and the world at large also need to promote the value of love in order to ensure the continuity of the human race and ensure that happiness and joy are promoted at a higher level.