Are you in love, or are you looking for love? Do you love your customers? Do you love your work? Do you love someone? Do you know what love is? In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, let’s explore three types of LOVE named by the Greek gods, that impact individuals, businesses and the society.
1. Eros – Physical Love
The first type of love is called Eros, aka physical love, named after the Greek god of fertility. Eros is the attraction we feel toward other people that makes us want to be near them. It is the spark that ignites a relationship.
The movie The Titanic shows how Eros, a passionate and intense form of love, can take hold of you and possess you, as it did to Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio), the leading male character, who died saving Rose (Kate Winslet), his newfound love.
For individuals, the presence of Eros strengthens the bond between two people and fosters closeness, love and affection between couples. It is a significant binder that helps couples iron out their differences. From a scientific angle, chemicals at work during romantic love are oxytocin and vasopressin, hormones that have roles in pregnancy, nursing, and mother-infant attachment. The release of oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, provokes feelings of contentment, calmness, and security — we need more.
According to United Nations data, by 2100, the world’s population is projected to reach approximately 10.9 billion, with annual growth of less than 0.1%, which is a steep decline from the current rate. This raised the alarm on the loss of workforce potential, pressure on wage increase and reduced economic growth, posing a formidable fiscal challenge.
Eros might be the solution to slowing world population decline. Perhaps it’s time businesses should invest in campaigns to promote love on Valentine’s Day instead of selling more products and services. Let’s reclaim Valentine’s Day for love – the long term antidote.
2. Philautia – Self-Love
Philautia is the beautiful Greek word for self-love. Self-love is the most important ingredient for our mental health and well-being. It’s about more than liking who we are—it’s about loving ourself and being kind to ourself, as well as being able to practice self-care.
It is heart wrenching to read in the report The Impact of Covid-19 on Global Mental Health that someone dies by suicide every 40 seconds and the global economy loses more than US$1 trillion per year due to depression and anxiety.
As coaches, we’ve seen many people who are dissatisfied and unhappy with themselves due to their constant self-criticism, and a persecutory inner voice that tells them they need to be perfect and how they could’ve done things better at work and in life. We can be our harshest critic.
To build self-love, remember that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Nobody is perfect, everyone makes mistakes or has bad days or weeks occasionally—and that’s okay. Loving ourself isn’t vanity. It is sanity.
Walking past many 24-hour gyms that focus on physical health, we can’t help but wonder if there are similar 24-hour outfits that strengthen emotional and mental health. We can walk in anytime to recharge positivity and strengthen our mental resilience.
3. Agape – Selfless Love
Agape is the Greek word for selfless love. This type of love is not directed towards a spouse, family or friend. It is a selfless and altruistic kind of love that we show to people who are in need.
In a competitive society, we can be so self-absorbed and self-centred that the idea of agape seems almost foreign to us. Selfless love can be difficult in the workplace because it requires us to be kind and patient with people who may not deserve it. This can be incredibly challenging when we are being treated unfairly or unkindly. Agape is an act of your will, as you choose to respond with kindness instead of anger or retaliation.
Agape can be expressed in many ways such as physical touch, verbal communication or even time spent with others. We can give your time to others and help them in whatever way you are able to do so, without expecting anything in return. People who practice agape on a regular basis tend to live more fulfilling lives because they know how much they matter to others around them and vice versa. If we applied agape to our everyday lives, it would change the world and business as we know it. It would transform our relationships for the better, improve our health and make us feel more fulfilled. The world will be kinder and more joyful. Let’s continue to make Agape love contagious!
What can we learn from these three different types of love? What are the Greeks really trying to teach us? Like the Greeks, let’s nurture the varieties of love and tap into its many sources. Don’t just seek Eros, but cultivate self-love by being kind to yourself, or develop your Agape by helping others. Love comes in many forms. Love is beautiful; love is a practice; it is not something you find or don’t find. You can practice love for the rest of your life.
On this Valentine’s Day, we wish you abundant happiness and love, but above all, we hope you will gift an abundance of love to others.
Happy Valentine’s Day!