Understanding Love

Understanding Love

“Who are you buying this for?” asked Vishal.

“It’s for my wife. She loves these handmade shawls,” replied Akash.

“Man, I feel jealous of you sometimes.”

“Why so?”

“I mean you both have been married for so many years now. And you still seem to be as much in love as you were before. I wish I could have something like this in my life as well,” Vishal said with a bit of longingness.

“Let me tell you something, my friend. Love is a very misunderstood word.”

“What do you mean Akash?”

“My friend, the world wants us to follow a script when it comes to love. As per this script, you are only in love if you always wish to be around your partner, if you always long for them when you are away, or if you are full of passion whenever you are with them.”

“Our movies, books, and media have somehow led us to believe in a very particular definition of love. And when we don’t fit in with that definition, we start doubting our own selves. We start thinking of ourselves as unworthy of love,” Akash continued.

“Interesting. So, what does love actually look like?” Vishal asked curiously.

“There is not and can not be one definition of love. But a comparatively mature understanding of love can be achieved by looking at what ancient Greeks thought of love.”

“What was their definition of love Akash? I am really curious now.”

“Instead of thinking of love as some sort of great attraction or passion towards a person, the Greeks understood that love can have different meanings during different phases of life.”

“As per them, our youth offers us an opportunity to experience the first phase of love that is physical attraction and passion. We feel attracted to people because of their physical appearances or good looks. The Greeks used to call this phase EROS.”

“But this phase is very brief and we soon grow out of it. So, irrespective of how attractive a person is, in some time, you won’t feel the same passion towards them.”

“That makes sense. But does it mean that love ends soon?” Vishal asked.

“Not the slightest. On the contrary, love only grows deeper with time. The second phase of love, which the Greeks used to call PHILIA, is centered around friendship. Married couples experience this phase when they move past the physical attraction and start seeing their partner as a friend.”

“PHILIA allows us to have a more mature understanding of love. One that is built on mutual respect and support.”

“Then comes the third phase, which the Greeks used to call AGAPE. It is the stage in love where we tend to love someone despite their weaknesses or flaws.”

“AGAPE allows us to experience love not only towards someone’s virtues but also towards someone’s imperfections.”

“Together, these three words help give us a much deeper understanding of love.”

At this point, Vishal was spellbound. Hearing the words of wisdom from Akash made him contemplative.

He wanted to thank Akash but speaking anything at this moment would have been a disservice.

So, he just nodded and smiled gently.

Thanks for reading. I am Shikhil Vyas, a professional content writer and blogger. Subscribe to my weekly newsletter called Simpler Sundays by entering your email address below.

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