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Learn to Love Self-Help

Do You Want to Talk About Marriage? Yes, I Do.

Do You Want to Talk About Marriage? Yes, I Do

One of my very good friends, Todzia Aird from Edmonton, Canada, is a marriage commissioner. Love is her business. She tells me that getting married is still in vogue. I love weddings, it is such a beautiful occasion and the perfect excuse to splash out on fabulous outfits and jewelry. I also like seeing the bride being at the center of attention for a whole day surrounded by a small army of professionals doing her hair, make-up, and nails. Then there is the catering, being driven around, taking pictures throughout the whole event making sure to show the couple at their most fabulous. What a day! Who wouldn’t want to have a day like this?

Depending on where you live and what your religious practice is, you will need an official to perform the ceremony. Religious Christian weddings are officiated by a pastor or a priest. Jewish weddings are presided over by a rabbi and in Islamic weddings, an imam is the marriage officiant. Religious ceremonies are not the only way to get married, you can make things official in a civil ceremony which will be conducted by a mayor, a judge, a Justice of the Peace, or a Marriage Commissioner.

Todzia Aird, Marriage Commissioner, Edmonton, Canada

Wedding ceremonies are all about the bride and the groom surrounded by their friends and family, but in this article I would like to take the focus off them and shine the light on the person who officiates.

Marriage hasn’t always been what it is now

Through history, the institution of marriage went through three different stages of evolution. The first stage was all to do with survival of the species and the protection of property rights. In the olden days, marriage was designed to secure an environment for the perpetuation of the species through a system of rules to handle property rights and the protection of the bloodline. The institution of marriage handled these needs and was purely designed to promote the survival and economic prosperity of both families.

During the Victorian era, romantic love became viewed as the primary requirement for marriage and couples spent a huge amount of time and energy in the rituals of courting and finding romantic ways to express their love, affection and loyalty to their chosen ones. In this period, the new ideal was to marry for love and live happily ever after.

Love, particularly the long-lasting kind, has been called one of the most studied and least understood areas in psychology. This fundamental domain of human existence remains somewhat a mystery, but what we do know is that being in love and being married are good for your physical and mental health.

In this modern era, the institution of marriage is now evolving into a third stage, also known as self-expressive marriage. Nowadays, marriage resolve around self-expression, we seek not just love but mutual personal growth. We want partners who are able and willing to help us explore our feelings and our identity, partners who can help us bring out our most authentic selves.

Let’s take a trip to Edmonton, Canada to meet my friend Todzia and ask her a few questions.

How did you become a marriage commissioner?

Marriage Commissioners come from different walks of life; some are retired politicians, school principals, doctors. It is not just a question of applying for the job, you have to be appointed by the Provincial Government. My life experiences seemed to fit perfectly for me to be nominated to this position. A whole chunk of my professional career has been around weddings. When I started, I was behind the camera, now I am in front of it sharing the stage with the bride and the groom. I spent 20 years running my own business videotaping weddings. What qualified me for the job is my natural ability for public speaking, good negotiation and marketing skills, a willingness to serve my community, and my ability to understand different cultures. All this put together put me on the path to become a Marriage Commissioner. Since my appointment in 2009, I had the pleasure of officiating over 1,200 civil marriage ceremonies.

Do people still want to get married and why is it important?

Yes, believe it or not, many people still want to make that commitment. Getting married is not just reserved for the young ones. When you are in love, age is not an issue. I married high school sweethearts, couples who already had children, couples who spent a lifetime living together and then deciding to make it official with a wedding ceremony with their children and grandchildren in attendance. I married couples where the husband was a soldier on the eve of being sent on a military tour to the Middle East and to Africa. The oldest couple I married, the groom was 84 and the bride 76. Being a widow or a widower does not mean the end of your love life, getting a second chance at love is something that is beautiful and should be celebrated.

Life can be complicated sometimes, and couples can go through many ups and downs. I married couples who were once married, divorced, married to someone else, divorced then came back to each other to remarry. As long as love is around, I am around to officiate and make them husband and wife even if it is for a short period of time. I will never forget the ceremony I conducted for a couple who had lived together for 35 years; the groom had cancer and had only a couple of months left to live. The ceremony was conducted in the living room of their home with their two adult children as witnesses. It was heartbreaking but also beautiful. The last thing that the groom wanted to do before he passed was to become a husband and make the love of his life his wife.

Marriage is something that is beautiful and should be celebrated

This is a good segment to mention the fact that in addition to being a marriage commissioner, I am also a funeral celebrant. Funerals are usually sad and somber events; when people book me to officiate as a celebrant the emphasis is on celebrating the life of the deceased by recalling happy memories and having friends and family giving beautiful testimonies. Those ceremonies are really special. I have clients who told me how the ceremony helped their mourning process in a very positive way.

[Author Joanne Reed. Note to self: Make sure to leave some instructions to my daughters to organize a ceremony/party for me when the time comes to celebrate my life and not focus so much on the dying part.]

What is the most unusual wedding venue you have officiated at?

Everyone has got in mind an image of the perfect wedding venue for their perfect wedding subject of course to the limitation of their budget. But you don’t need to go all fancy in order to have an unforgettable wedding in a magical setting. I have officiated inside a home or apartment or a barn, backyards, city parks and provincial parks, legislative ground, acreages, golf courses, historical buildings, parks, community halls, river cruises, trains, coffee shops, restaurants, hotel ballrooms, churches (yes, some churches have allowed a civil ceremony to take place). The most original ceremony I performed was outside the city in a small plane. There were 15 people in this plane. As we reached the top height, the ceremony started. Right after the couple signed the legal document, they jumped out of the plane. There were beautiful parachutes floating in the sky with the sign just married. I was asked to jump too but I decided not to. I was a flight attendant in the past but that job did not require jumping out of the plane. This is a new rule of mine “ I will officiate in any venue of your choice with the caveat that I will not be required to jump out of a plane!”

Everyone has got in mind an image of the perfect wedding venue

Is the Canadian weather kind to newlyweds?

The weather in Alberta province changes very quickly. In one day, you can have sun, wind, clouds, rain, snow and even hail. Therefore, couples are very prepared for unusual weather on their wedding day. If the couple wishes to have an outdoor location which I call Location 1, then I automatically ask where is Location 2 (in case of rain, snow or hail). Everyone seems to dread a rainy wedding but one of the most beautiful ceremonies that I officiated was in the biggest downpour ever. And it was the most beautiful wedding ever. It was in a couple’s parents’ backyard, under a large, white, wedding tent. This was an evening ceremony where small candles were lit on very beautifully decorated tables with the rain pouring all around us. While I officiated the ceremony, you could hear the rain in the background. It was so magical. Brides always fear rain on their wedding which no one can control, I say it is good luck.

Wedding weather, you can’t predict it, but you can prepare

What do you think are the key ingredients for a successful marriage?

For me the Key ingredients are, mutual respect, good daily communication, don’t be patronizing and resist the urge to order your spouse around, appreciate what you have in common but also appreciate the differences, move through different chapters of lives together, think of your marriage as a garden that needs to be tended to daily and be prepared for different seasons, some days are rainy and some are sunny.

Key ingredients for a successful marriage

Is love the most important thing in marriage?

There is a long section in your book about love that was an eye-opener to me. Of course, I was aware of different Love but not to the extent you so beautifully wrote. The different categories and examples of historical events to back them up were very interesting and educational. I really think that young couples who are getting married should read your book, it is like an introductory course to relationships for single or married couple. You said in your book that people spend so much time and energy trying to find love and so little time in learning how to maintain it. This is so true. Getting married is the beginning of a wonderful adventure that will last a lifetime, so once the wedding and honeymoon are behind you there is still lots to look forward to and that is your life together each and every day whether it is a sunny or rainy day outside. Another reason why young people should read your book is because it really teaches you to know yourself before you commit to share your life with another person. When people get married, there is a tendency to lose your own identity under the label of wife and mother, but you should not forget your own identity even when you become a wife and a mother; and I thought that your book illustrated this point quite well.

In closing I would like to thank Todzia for sharing some of the precious memories she has collected over the years as a marriage commissioner.

My take on this is best summarized by a famous quote by Charles Franklin:

“No one gets out of this life alive. So, leave a footprint of your choice. You are writing your epitaph. You are writing it now! Life is a process, not a goal. Live it now, or you will miss it! We have time to spend and no time to waste.”

Charles Franklin

And this, my dear friend, is your Quest.


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For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

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Learn to Love

Love’s Unending Legacy. The Greatest Gift You Can Bestow.

Love’s unending legacy. The greatest gift you can bestow.

No matter how many years we spend on this planet, they ultimately become a fleeting shadow fading into human history. We may marvel at the centenarian without fully grasping their influence and impact. Leaving a legacy, love’s unending legacy, is a consideration often running through our minds while the fear of being forgotten is troubling and distressing.

There is no minimum age requirement for when this notion begins to percolate in your thoughts. However, it does appear to happen more frequently the older one gets. It may be inherent in our DNA, or may reflect a slight selfish desire to leave part of ourselves behind – which in this instance, is not necessarily a terrible premise.

Regardless of what the aspiration for leaving your legacy is, the actions and motives affecting your day-to-day lives are what ultimately determines what your legacy is.

Love’s Unending Legacy (Photo credit: Susanne Jutzeler at Pexels)

There is a distinct difference between being remembered and being well known. Fame or celebrity is not what leaves a lasting impression on the future of the human race. It is often the insights of a grandparent or a “seasoned” citizen imparting wisdom and altering the course of impressionable lives. These conversations are rarely planned. It’s as though the circumstances beckoned the elder’s experience and intuition to enlighten the younger, yet never fully comprehending the tremendous influence those words would permanently render.

In most cases the motivation which sparked those transforming words was none other than love itself.

Love, a determining influence

Love, and nothing less, should be the determining influence in every aspect of our legacy. As discussed in my previous two articles, its definition is wide-ranging and covers a multitude of positive emotions. The simplest and most convincing way to become immersed in it is to begin practicing it at the earliest age possible.

No one, short of an inherently corrupt individual, would disagree with the premise that love is the most important goal we can have and share. There are many types of love and it has been the subject of countless essays from philosophers, sermons, songs, poems, paintings, and more. It has always been heralded as not only vital but imperative. The most famous passage about love from the Bible states that even if one had the power to move mountains, predict the future, give away a fortune; without love it would all be entirely futile.

When love becomes the foundation of your life, it will automatically be the embodiment of your legacy. Embrace it and it won’t let you down. Expand its meaning and it will increase how others perceive you. Use it both as a weapon and a shield; it will never leave you defenseless.

Love is not easy

With so many benefits love eagerly awaits to bestow upon us, it only makes sense for it to constantly be the preferred choice. But choosing love is not easy. Upholding its virtues is far too demanding and requires enormous discipline. Unfortunately, it is too often readily cast aside – especially by those who ought to be brandishing it the most.

Love is not a sign of weakness, although many employ this interpretation strictly as an excuse not to wield it.  However, not choosing love forces one to utilize methods which directly contradict it – dividing, demeaning, and utterly destroying any hope of reconciliation and understanding.

Love can only beget positive outcomes. Kindness, generosity, compassion, and an entire barrage of constructive and encouraging outcomes are love’s legacy. Deciding against employing these actions as a strategy is typically indicative of extremely selfish desires and a lack of self-confidence. Utilizing animosity is but a tool to cover up greed and self-seeking desires. It indicates a complete disregard for anyone who does not pander to you and the horrific lack of concern for anyone outside your petty circle.

Resorting to bashing and name calling is a whitewash for a multitude of egocentric, venal, and narcissistic demands. Love heals. Employing its antithesis is akin to picking at a scab or worse, purposely stripping away any chance for healing to occur.

We must remedy the current absence of defaulting to love by committing to the hard work and always choosing it for ourselves. We must not wait for its popularity to rise but rather be the ones who raise it up. We can applaud those who choose its power and speak out against individuals who refuse to see its worth.

None of this is easy but we all have a part to play. I have stopped myself on many occasions from railing against people with radically different political views from mine. As tempting as it is to fire back with more blistering and clever barbs than they shot, fanning the flames does nothing to unite and will ultimately create more damage and discord.

What will be your love’s unending legacy?

Whether the views you protect are political, religious, cultural, or education-related; if in your opinion, there is no room for listening to an alternative voice, you very well may be part of the problem. We don’t win an argument by telling someone how ignorant they are. We can’t convince someone their views are wrong because of clever quips or name calling. We will never be able to unite while at the same time engaging in repulsive behaviors.

Love’s Unending Legacy (Photo credit: Andrea Piacquadio at Pexels)

It may be tempting to resort to the tactics others have used on you but if you can refrain and choose love, you’ll be enriching you and those who will always appreciate and treasure the person you are.

The world is experiencing many challenges, difficulties, and struggles. While it may be impossible to reach across the globe, you can always choose love and be the change this world needs.

A true legacy is not how many people remember you, but how your memory is cherished. How your love changed the lives of those who were blessed to know you.

What will be your love’s unending legacy?


This story, Love’s unending legacy. The greatest gift you can bestow., was written by John Dunia, the ShameDoctor. John’s passion is guiding others on their journeys of emotional healing and greater understanding, ultimately empowering individuals to overcome damaging and abusive moments from their pasts, you can find him at his website here.


If you liked this post you can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or you may also like:

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

Categories
Learn to Love

Happy Valentine’s Day Message

Happy Valentine’s day! The 14th of February is that special time of the year when we celebrate love and romance, a day when restaurants are booked up and chocolate sales go through the roof! To understand why it is celebrated it is helpful to understand it’s history, how the traditions of Valentine’s Day started, and the importance of love.

A Happy Valentine’s Day Message

The Importance of Love

Falling in or out of love is one of the strongest emotions that people can experience. Love can be kind. Love can be cruel. Love is everything. Love has been called one of the most studied and least understood areas of psychology, but while perhaps not understood it is not a surprise that we celebrate it and Valentine Day is this time of the year when lovers get together to celebrate their love for each other all in the name of St Valentine.

Why Valentine’s Day is Celebrated

There are various accounts as to the origin of Valentine’s day, but perhaps the most romantic is associated with the martyrdom story of Valentinus, or St Valentine of Rome.

St Valentine of Rome

Valentinus was a priest who served in third Century Rome. At that time Rome was involved in many unpopular and bloody expansion campaigns, the Emperor, Claudius II, had to maintain a strong army but found it difficult recruiting soldiers as young men with wives and families were reluctant to serve fearing turning their wives into windows and their children into orphans.  The Emperor decided to outlaw marriage for young men on the basis that single men made better and more willing soldiers. Valentinus defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for lovers in secret, but when his actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. On 14 February around the year 270 AD, Valentinus was executed.

As it often happened during those days, the injustice of the execution was brought to light and recognized much later. For his great service in the name of love, Valentine was named a Saint after his death. The act of marrying young lovers in secret made Valentinus a criminal and a Saint.

Legend also says that while imprisoned, Valentinus grew close to his jailkeeper. Seeing he was erudite, the jailkeeper asked Valentinus to tutor his daughter, Julia, who was a pretty girl with a curious and intelligent mind but had been born blind. Valentinus taught her history, arithmetic, theology, and described the world of nature to her. Julia saw the world through his eyes, trusted his wisdom and found comfort in his quiet strength. On the eve of his execution, Valentinus wrote a last note to Julia, and signed it ‘from your Valentine.’ It is said that Julia planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave. Today the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship.

Lupercalia and St Valentine’s Day

Lupercalia was an ancient, pagan annual festival, observed in the city of Rome between 13–15 February to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. The Lupercalia festival survived the initial rise of Christianity but was outlawed, deemed un-Christian (well, OK, it was a bloody, violent and sexually-charged celebration awash with animal sacrifice), and replaced at the end of the 5th century by the celebration of St Valentine’s Day on the same date as today, February 14.

Ophelia, “Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day, All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window, To be your Valentine.”

Coinciding with the start of birds’ mating season, at some point during the Middle Ages, Valentine’s Day or February 14 was associated with romance. The English poet Geoffrey Chaucer was the first to record St. Valentine’s Day as a day of romantic celebration with his 1375 poem Parliament of Foules. Later, Shakespeare cemented the day in two of his plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet, where he alluded to the superstition that if two single people meet on the morning of St Valentine’s day they will likely get married.

Traditions of Valentine’s Day

The base and the root tradition of Valentine’s day is to spread love and share wishes and gifts. Traditions, and the choice of gifts, vary around the world – from wine in Bulgaria, to chocolate in Ghana (it is also National Chocolate Day there), but here I would like to share the Valentine experience in Korea.

Happy Valentine’s Day in Korea

In Korea, where I live, Valentine’s Day is celebrated a little differently. On February 14, the men can relax – they don’t need to worry about shopping for flowers or chocolates, because here it’s the day when women shower men with gifts. If that seems a little unfair, then think again, because the Korean Valentine’s celebration is perhaps a little more democratic than most other places and is just one in a series of calendar-dictated romantic days.

Black Day in Korea

Korean men return their Valentine’s favor a month later on March 14, called White Day, by offering candy and gifts to their chosen one. Then, on April 14 – Black Day, all the single ladies (and men) head to their local Chinese restaurant to eat Jajangmyeon, or Korean black bean sauce noodles, to console their sorrows.

Romantic Love is Not Everything

Valentine’s day is a celebration of romantic or erotic love. This romantic love, called Eros by the Ancient Greeks, is the love that perhaps most naturally springs to mind and is the love that has been the inspiration for countless ballads, stories, pieces of art and has captured the imagination of singers, artists and poets throughout history. However, the Ancient Greeks were quite sophisticated about love and defined in total 8 types of love, Philia (Affectionate Love), Storge (Familial Love), Philautia (Self-Love), Agape (spiritual love), Ludus (Playful Love), Mania (Obsessive Love), and Pragma (Enduring Love).

If you are averse to romance you may find solace in the knowledge that the Ancient Greeks valued certain types of love such as Philia, Storge or Agape far above Eros.

Love is in the air; my happy Valentine’s Day message to you, is simply to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!


If you liked this post you can follow me on Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook, or you may also like:

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

Categories
Learn to Love

8 Types of Love – Which One Are You?

8 Types of Love – Which One Are You?

Let’s Talk About The Different Types of Love

Falling in or out of love is one of the strongest emotions that people can experience. Love can be kind. Love can be cruel. Love is everything. Love has been called “one of the most studied and least understood areas in psychology.” Everyone has experienced feelings of love to some extent or another. There are those who found love then lost it, those who found it and kept it and those who are seeking it in odd places. There are also those who don’t know they have it, not realizing it is closer than they think. Let’s talk about love!

8 types of love

The ancient Greeks were sophisticated in the way they talked about love and would be shocked by our modern crudeness in using a single word both to whisper, “I love you” over a romantic candlelight meal and to casually sign an email, “lots of love.

Romantic love, the love that perhaps most naturally springs to mind, has been the inspiration for countless ballads, stories and pieces of art and has captured the imagination of singers, artist, and poets throughout history. However, there are many “flavors of love“, from brotherly love, family love, the love of God and self-love. In English, as with other languages, it has been difficult to distinguish the separate meanings of these words without carefully considering the context in which the words are used.

The question “what is love?” generates a host of issues; some have sought to analyze them; others have preferred to leave them in the realm of the ineffable.  This article, ‘Let’s Talk About Love‘, is my attempt to shed some light on this subject.

1.  Types of Love: Eros or Erotic Love

Eros was the Greek God of Love and fertility, born of Ares (God of War) and Aphrodite (Goddess of Beauty and Eternal Youth). Eros is said to have been the one who blessed the union of Gaia and Uranus after which the Universe came into existence. Gaia was a Greek Goddess; she symbolized the Earth and was the mother of everything. Uranus symbolized the sky. Eros represents the idea of sexual passion and desire.

Eros

The ancient Greeks considered Eros to be dangerous and frightening as it involves a ‘loss of control’ through the primal impulse to procreate. Eros is a passionate and intense form of love that arouses romantic and sexual feelings. Eros is a primal and powerful fire that burns out quickly. Eros is usually depicted as a young boy, with his bow and arrows, ready to either shoot into the hearts of gods or mortals to rouse them to desire. His arrows came in two types; golden with dove feathers to arouse love, or leaden arrows with owl feathers to cause indifference. Eros is known as being bitter-sweet and cruel to his victims. Unscrupulous, and a danger to those around him, Eros would make as much mischief as he could by wounding hearts of all. Without warning, he would select his targets and forcefully strike at their hearts, making them fall in love.

2.  Types of Love: Philia or Affectionate Love or Friendship

The ancient Greeks valued philia far above Eros because it was considered a love between equals. Plato felt that physical attraction was not a necessary part of love, hence the use of the word ‘platonic’ to mean ‘without physical attraction.’

Amongst the different types of love, Philia is a love that is felt among friends who have endured hard times together. Aristotle defined philia as a ‘dispassionate virtuous love’ that is free from the intensity of sexual attraction. Philia often involves the feelings of loyalty among friends, camaraderie among teammates, and a sense of sacrifice for your pack. It is about loyalty and sacrifice for your friends and the sharing of emotions with them.

Philia

Aristotle thought deeply about the concept of human well-being and the virtues necessary to live well; he wrote his findings and conclusions in ‘Ethics.’ Aristotle concluded that to live well, is a proper appreciation of the way in which friendship, pleasure, virtue, honor and wealth fit together as a whole.

3.  Types of Love: Storge or Familial Love

Storge’ closely resembles philia in that it is a love without physical attraction, however, Storge is primarily to do with kinship and family. Storge is the natural form of affection that flows between parents and their children, and children for their parents.

Storge is the bond that a mother develops with her child as it forms inside her womb as the miracle of life is happening. Once born this bond will continue to strengthen as the mother and baby get to know each other through the nurturing and breastfeeding process.

Storge, the bond between dog owners and their dogs

Storge’ can also be found in the unconditional love that dog owners gain from their dog. Dogs are the only species who, like a child, run to their owner when they are frightened, anxious or just pleased to see them. Dogs have a very special capacity to demonstrate unconditional love that is quite refreshing. Studies have shown that being in contact with animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, and horses can lead to lower blood pressure and can combat stress and ease anxiety disorder and depression. Pets can provide friendship to those who are lonely, sick or depressed.

4.  Types of Love: Ludus or Playful Love

Ludus’ has a touch of the erotic Eros in it but is different in that the Greeks thought of Ludus as a playful form of love; the affection between young lovers. Ludus is that feeling we have in the early stages of falling in love, the fluttering heart, flirting, teasing and feelings of euphoria. Playfulness in love is an essential ingredient that is often lost in long-term relationships. Yet, playfulness is one of the secrets to keeping the childlike innocence of your love alive, interesting, and exciting

Ludus, playful love

Aristotle frequently emphasized the importance of pleasure to human life and stated that a happy life must include pleasure. For Aristotle, pleasure is not a process but an unimpeded activity of a natural state. It follows from his conception of pleasure that every instance of pleasure must be good to some extent; how could an unimpeded activity of a natural state be bad?

Aristotle did not mean that every pleasure should be chosen. Simply put, although some pleasures may be good, they are not worth choosing when they interfere with superior activities. We must choose our pleasures by determining which ones are better. The standard we should use in making comparisons between rival options is virtuous activity because virtuous activity has been shown to be identical to happiness.

5.  Types of Love: Mania or obsessive love

Mania,’ or obsessive love, is a type of love that leads a partner into a kind of madness and obsessiveness. To those who experience mania, love itself is a means of rescuing themselves; a reinforcement of their own value, as they suffer from poor self-esteem. Because of this, they can become possessive and jealous lovers, feeling as though they desperately “need” their partners.

Henry VIII – George IV – Louis XV, Examples of Mania Love

6.  Types of Love: Pragma or enduring love

Pragma’ is an enduring love that has aged, matured and developed. Pragma is beyond the physical, it has transcended casual love, and has formed a unique harmony over time. You can find pragma in couples who have been together for a long time, or in friendships that have endured for decades.

Unfortunately, pragma is a type of love that is not easily found as we often spend so much time and energy trying to find love but so little time in learning how to maintain it. Pragma is the result of effort on both sides. It is the love between people who have learned to make compromises, who have demonstrated patience, and tolerance to make their relationship work.

Pragma or Enduring Love

7.  Types of Love: Philautia or self-Love

Philautia,’ or self-love, is about caring for ourselves. The Greeks understood that self-care is necessary before we can care for others. Philautia is not unhealthy vanity nor self-obsession focused on personal fame, gain and fortune as is the case with narcissism. Instead, Philautia is self-love in its healthiest form. It shares the Buddhist philosophy of “self-compassion” which is the deep understanding that only once you have the strength to love yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin that you will be able to care and demonstrate love for others.

Aristotle described “all friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.” You cannot share what you do not have. If you do not love yourself, you cannot love anyone else either. The only way to truly be happy is to find unconditional love for yourself.

Philautia, or Self Love

Buddhism also promotes self-love as vital for health and happiness. Buddha, “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Loving ourselves unconditionally in exactly the same way we love our children and pets is what we are striving for. Instead, we love ourselves with conditions. We only expect to be happy with ourselves when we get the job we want, or after losing weight. Then and only then do we feel worthy of self-compassion.

Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail or feel inadequate. Self-compassionate people recognize that being imperfect, failing and experiencing life difficulties is inevitable; they tend to be gentle with themselves when confronted with painful experiences rather than getting angry when life falls short of set ideals.

Self-compassion requires taking a balanced approach to our negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated. Balance requires putting ourselves through a process of relating personal experiences to experiences of others who are also suffering, thus putting our own situation into a larger perspective. Balance also stems from a willingness to observe our negative thoughts and emotions with openness and clarity.

8.  Types of Love: Agape

Agape,‘ or selfless love, is the highest and most radical type of love according to the Greeks. Agape is what some call spiritual love, it is an unconditional love, bigger than ourselves, a boundless compassion, an infinite empathy. Agape is the purest form of love, free from desires and expectations is given regardless of the flaws and shortcomings in others. Agape love is altruistic love, love that is given for its own sake, without expecting anything in return.

Agape, Divine Love

Agape is the love that is felt for that which we intuitively know something as being the divine truth; a love that accepts forgives and believes for our greater good. Aristotle makes the point in several of his works that the happiest human life resembles the life of a divine being.

8 Different Types of Love

We are often hankering over romantic love, but the message from the Greeks is that there are many types of love. A better understanding of love and a larger vocabulary helps. It helps to recognize how we feel, and it helps to recognize feelings being bestowed upon us.

We are all students of love and can thank the Ancient Greeks as our esteemed teachers. We have learned that there are many types of love, that it’s good to talk about love, and when loving:

  • Stay away from ‘Mania.’
  • Don’t just seek ‘Eros’ – it usually ends badly.
  • Cultivate ‘Philia’ by spending more time with your friends, family.
  • Add some frivolity into your life from time to time with ‘Ludic’ activities.
  • Seek ‘Pragma’ for a long-lasting relationship.
  • Indulge in ‘Storge,’ let your maternal and paternal instincts out. For any lonely souls, get yourself a dog!
  • Practice ‘Philautia’ to stay away from stress, anxiety, and depression.
  • And for the most advanced students, seek ‘Agape.’

And this, my dear companion, is your Quest.


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Categories
Learn to Love

Unconditional Love – Part 2

The amazing and true story of Professor Ueno and his dog Hachi is described in This Is Your Quest – Chapter 14 – Page 184:

This story takes place in Japan in the 1920s. The main characters are Eizaburo Ueno, Professor of Agricultural Science at Tokyo University and his Dog Hachiko (nicknamed Hachi). 

Professor Ueno lived a normal and quiet life.  He used to take the train to Tokyo every day to teach.  One day, one of his students offered him a pure breed Akita puppy to adopt. Akita dogs are well known in Japan. They were originally bred to fight and hunt bears and to guard Japanese royalty. They are excellent guard dogs and are used today by the Japanese police and military for security, and thanks to Hachi, they are also known for their loyalty.

Louis, my own little ‘Hachi’

Professor Ueno and Hachi developed a very strong bond and became inseparable. Hachi got into the habit of seeing his owner off to work in the morning at Shibuya train station, in Central Tokyo and then going to meet him at the station in the afternoon when he returned from work. Hachi did this every day without fail.  

Statue of Hachi & Professor Ueno at University of Tokyo, Japan

On 21 May 1925, Hachi was sitting by the exit at Shibuya train station, as usual, waiting for his dear Eizaburo to return.  But his owner never showed up.  It turned out that Eizaburo had suffered from a cerebral haemorrhage and died suddenly and unexpectedly while at work. 

Hachi moved in with a former gardener of the Ueno family, but for the rest of his ten-year life, he continued to go to Shibuya train station every morning and afternoon, waiting in vain for the return of his beloved owner, who sadly never came back. 

A major newspaper reporter picked up on the story of Hachiko in 1932 and published it, which led to Hachiko becoming a celebrity all over Japan.  In 1934 a statue of Hachiko was unveiled at a grand ceremony in front of Shibuya train station with Hachi himself present as the main guest.  Hachi became an international sensation in 2009 when Hachi’s story was turned into a Hollywood movie with Richard Gere as the lead actor. 

Hachi, A Dog’s Tale, 2009 starring Richard Gere

On 19 May 2012, a bronze statue of Hachiko was placed at the train station in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, where the movie “Hachi” was filmed.  The Rhode Island statue’s dedication ceremony was part of the Cherry Blossom festival. Dignitaries including the Mayor of Woonsocket and the Consul of Japan attended the ceremony. Decades after his death, the love and loyalty that Hachi showed for his master is still celebrated on the other side of the world and has drawn crowds and dignitaries from both the US and Japan.

And this my dear reader is the power of Storge.


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Categories
Learn to Love

Unconditional Love – Part 1

Extract from This Is Your Quest – Chapter 14 – Page 183:

According to the Ancient Greeks, there are 8 types of Love

Storge is a natural form of affection that often flows between parents and their children; but it can also be found in the unconditional love that dog owners get from their dog.

Dogs are the only species who, like a child, run to their owner when they are frightened, anxious or just pleased to see their owner whenever they walk through the door.

Dogs have a very special capacity to demonstrate unconditional love that is quite refreshing. Their enthusiasm for their owner never falters. Dogs are the only animal to actively seek out eye contact with people, and truly want to be with us. Studies have shown that being in contact with animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits and horses can lead to lower blood pressure and can combat stress and ease anxiety disorder and depression. Pets can provide friendship to those who are lonely, sick or depressed.

Meet my sweet dog Louis

 


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For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.