February 14th is a national holiday in the U.S.–Valentine’s Day. In 2017 ABC News calculated the cost of Valentine’s day and came up with the following:
- Total spending for the day surpasses $18.2 billion
- $4.3 billion is spent on jewelry
- $2 billion is spent on flowers including 250 million roses
- $1.7 billion is spent on candy
- $1 billion is spent on cards
It can be an expensive day for sure, but what about love? Isn’t Valentine’s Day about love? Valentine’s Day is associated with romantic love or what the Greek’s called eros. The Greeks were smart and realized that all love is not equal. They identified seven different types of love (some sources claim eight types but I’ll stick to the ones I teach in sociology of marriage.
- Eros love gets its name from the god of fertility. While we think of it as a wonderful kind of love, the Greeks actually viewed eros love as dangerous. This may be where the phrase “madly in love” originated.
- Next, we have Philia. This is a type of love we have with friends. Close friends can sometimes feel like family members and we treat them with the same respect and loyalty we do family.
- Storge is the love shared between parents and their children. Technically it is a type of Philia, but I like to separate it.
- Ludus is a playful love. Think of this as “puppy love” or the new love a young couple might experience very early in a relationship. Yes, it can lead to eros love.
- Pragma is a more mature love. When the couple moves through ludus and eros, the love may change to pragma. When couples get married and start to make compromises in order to help the relationship, they experience pragma.
- Agape love is a love for everyone. This is the most selfless love a person or people can experience.
- Philautia is loving yourself.
I want to focus on Philautia and Agape love. All religious texts have something in them that talks about loving yourself and loving others.
- Judaism: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
- Sikhism: Treat others as thou wouldst be treated by thyself.
- Bahá’ í Faith: Desire not for anyone the things that ye would not desire for yourselves.
- Islam: Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.
- Buddhism: Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.
- Taoism: Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.
- Hinduism: Never do to others what would pain thyself.
- Confucianism: Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.
So here’s the thing. How can you possibly love another if and until you love yourself? You must first experience Philautia love before you can understand and appreciate any other love. It is vital that we look into the mirror and love the one looking back at us. Because how I see me is how others will see me. I see so many young students who are looking for love outside of themselves. They want to receive love and they will give almost anything to get that love. That is anything but love. Why? Because they have not yet learned to love themselves. Without self-love, the likelihood exists for unhappy or unhealthy relationships because your self-love is unhappy and unhealthy.
So starting today, look in the mirror and say, “I love you.” Love your hair, your body, your intelligence, your soul. Love the clothes you wear, the work you do, and the life you live. Love everything about you because you are unique. You are worthy. You are beautiful. You are perfect. You are Love. You are the only you on this planet and that is a pretty cool thing. Self-love is the foundation for everything in our lives. All of those other types of Greek love begin with Philautia–self-love. When we love ourselves we then have a greater capacity to experience Agape love.
Peace & Blessings,