The 4 Forms of Love


Hasta que la muerte los separe... | by W1LL13 via Creative Commons

Retelling some of his tales from his pilgrimage experiences in Spain, Paulo Coelho mentions the three forms of love in one of his books. However, there are four different words for love in the Greek language: Eros, Philia, Storge and Agape. In the English language, the word “love” is often overused, misused and sometimes abused to the point of somehow obliterating the mere essence of the word. The Grecian philosophy, nevertheless, reminds us that love has different forms based on how one feels about the other person.

Eros translates to desire. This is the kind of love which drives passion and longing. This is romantic and sometimes it lacks the balance of logic. Eros lies mainly in the emotions and feelings beyond the appreciation of the being. This form of love is not only about the sensual side of man though it could be the spark of a more profound connection. Plato believed that Eros helps the soul remember the emotion that goes with the beauty and contributes to the understanding of the ultimate truth about love.

Philia is affectionate regard or authentic friendly love. Philia is mental and sometimes it requires reciprocity. Loyalty to friends, family and community is a perfect example of this form of love. It is based on virtue, familiarity and equality. Philia is brotherly love.

Storge means natural affection. This form of love is best described by the feelings of a parent for offspring. It is exclusively used to define the relationships within the family members. Among the forms of love in the ancient and modern Greek language, Storge is the most rarely used since other words can also describe a mother’s affection to her child.

Agape is unconditional and selfless love. It is the total sense of spiritual experience among those who feel it. It goes beyond the attraction. It gives everything without expecting something in return. This is the form of love you feel towards someone you hold in high regard and contentment. This is the kind of love being preached by most religions. As Paulo Coelho describes, “Agape is the love that devours”. This is felt by those who believe in something from the core of their being which makes them feel stronger than the world and gives them the peacefulness that originates from the certainty of faith towards the thing, idea or person they love. This particular form of love surprises the lover by his capacity to do something beyond his awareness. Agape can mean someone chooses a life of contemplation and isolation or a life of enthusiasm which is directed to an idea. Agape is the strong tie to divinity.

These four forms of love in the Greek language give the notion of the boundless description of this type of feeling. No matter where you begin or where you are in your relationship at this point, it is a good thing to know where you are leading with the kind of love that is present. When love seems to be a long journey, know that it can also be eternal or temporal with the way you handle it.

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