Most realize the inherent value of love, but do we recognize the variety?
While the depths of the English language may not do ‘love’ much justice (we really only have the one word to describe the plethora of positive emotions experienced during everything from an exquisite meal, to a favorite past-time, or a passionate, entwined embrace) the Greek language DOES: they use upwards of six! Given the inherent impact of the words we use (check out our blog post, here, on their power-packed potential) our limited vocabulary can limit our ability to feel, express, and emote the full range of emotions that fill up, and fall under, the category we call love.
Expanding our ‘love’ vocabulary
There’s eros for one, possibly the most easily associated of all the variations of love: a lust-based, maddening, over-the top drive to be close, kiss, hug. Intoxicating at best, toxic at worst… Or lupus the playful, frolicking love of flirtation: simple, innocent, lighthearted and fun… Friendly philia… or the longstanding love of time-tethered attachment, filled with compromise and compassion, called pragma… We can’t forget the soulful feeling of ‘oneness’, or agape, where the love for all beings becomes a beacon for others…
But have you ever heard of philautia?
Better yet: have you practiced it lately?
In English “philautia” translates most closely to ‘self love’ or ‘love of self’ and, if you’re anything like me, it is easily the area in this expanding-love-spectrum that has the most opportunity for growth. The ancient Greeks believed that when philautia was practiced appropriately (in a healthy, blanced and non-narcisisstic way) it provided the foundation upon which all other love could be built. The better your self-love-foundation was, the more brilliant loving home you could build.
As Aristotle put it, “all friendly feelings for others are an extension of man’s feelings for himself.” Lets expand the depth, breadth, and love we can feel for others by learning to love ourselves: with frequency and fervor.
3 Private Practices for Self Love
Many of us think of exotic, indulgent experiences of escape and pampering (read: tropical vacation spas) when we thing of showing ourselves a little love. In truth, loving and appreciating who you are does not necessitate furry slippers and decadent robes. It is, in fact, a daily practice and intimate way of life… don’t worry, though, you can still keep the “SPA” part.
S… set aside time
In our current time-crunched culture, carving out a little time for someone or something is a direct reflection of how much you value it. Are you making yourself a priority? Do you set aside time to do something simple and small, daily, that you love? Take a walk, sip tea, listen to your favorite track, read your most beloved book. Take time for yourself: it proves how much you care.
P… praise yourself!
Did you accomplish an arduous task of might, will, or intellect? Have you stepped up your game in commitment? Learned something new? Discovered something novel? Transformed a piece of your life? Reached a life goal? Make sure you give yourself a little praise: you deserve it.
If finding something glorious and grand about yourself is a daily difficulty, then affirmations are a powerful tool for you. They offer a unique opportunity to speak in what many call ‘future present tense.’ Think of the beautiful human you want to become… call to mind their qualities, the feel of their life. Now, create a sentence, maybe two, that would come out of that beautiful human’s mouth. “I am beautiful. Bountiful. Intelligent. Courageous. Kind. Compassionate. Energetic. Lovable.” … any and all (or your own unique blend of self-love words) will do just fine. Want to kick it up a notch? Do it in front of a mirror: say it, literally, to your own reflection, looking into your own eyes.
Build a deep, vast, solid, and steadfast foundation for love. Practice philautia and experiences all the value AND variety of love.