The 4 Types of Love
Love is one of the most difficult things to define. There is a constant struggle within us as to how we personally define love. Love is a broad spectrum of emotions, from a purest form of love or the highest spiritual virtue, to the easiest recreational pleasure. Love is not only about bonding with another human being, but can also be expressed between humans and other living creatures. Love does not have to mean romantic love between spouses, or sexual love between lovers, or even the emotional love that comes when a parent loves their child. The definition of love then is almost limitless.
To truly love someone, one must not only know them, but be able to experience love for them. This is the ultimate test of our humanity and makes all the definitions and categories of love all the more difficult. We are indeed limited in what we are capable of feeling or thinking, but also in the depth of love which we can express. When love is expressed, it takes on an entirely different quality, one that is uniquely personal and uniquely spiritual.
If there is no such thing as love, then it is important to understand what it would feel like to love. Some of the ways that we express love may not be very comfortable for us. Let’s examine some of the more common expressions of love:
Adoration – This is the very basic love in all relationships. It is often expressed by falling in love with one another. Gazing into the eyes of your loved one is an expression of adoration. It is also a way to connect with your partner and to give them your undivided attention. You may find that when you are looking into the eyes of your partner, they seem to melt into your eyes. This is love in its very essence.
Compassion – This is often described as a fulfilling love for another human being. While compassion is often felt for those one loves, this is often different than an emotional kind of love. This involves putting yourself in the shoes of another person.
Empathy – When you are feeling compassion for another person you are truly feeling love for them. Empathy allows you to put their feelings and thoughts into perspective. You see the situation from their perspective. You can draw strength from this connection when it arises in difficult times.