What Does Love Mean To You?

This episode is all about love, surprise surprise! Today, we use the word "love" in many different ways, many different feelings. You might love your morning coffee, but the love you have for your family, that's a different type of love. The ancient Greeks gave a name to the different types of love that we experience, including self-love. As you listen, you might think about who you love, what you love...what does that feel like?

Feel free to DM us on Instagram to share your definitions of love. We would LOVE to hear from you!

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to Inner Warmup where your inner work begins. My name is Taylor Elyse Morrison, creator of Inner Workout and you as always are our expert guest. Thanks for being here. Let's go ahead and get straight into our micro practice. What I'd love for you to do is to take three deep breaths. And as you're breathing, I want you to imagine filling yourself up with love on the inhale in, sending that love out to someone you care about on the exhale. So three breaths just like that. Inhale, love. Exhale, love.

Okay, so before we get into the interview, I want to make a quick announcement and let you know that we have a really cool event coming up later this month, well actually next week, if you're listening to this right when it comes out. It's called Here’s The Love. It's a one hour event where we'll start with a loving kindness meditation. And then we'll have a group discussion about love, inspired by bell hooks’ book All About Love. It should be a really great time of both personal care and community care. And I'm really excited to gather the Inner Workout community together in that way. Okay, let's get into the interview. 

The question that we've got on the table today is what does love mean to you? And I almost titled this What Is Love, and then sung that song that’s like “what is love, baby don't hurt me” and that's all the singing that you're going to get. But just know that as I've been preparing for this episode, I have had that song stuck in my head. And if you remember the commercial where the people would move their neck, that has also been stuck in my head for over a week at this point. So you're welcome. 

The reason why I wanted to talk about the definition of love as we explore love in community this month, is because, in English at least, we use love to mean so many things. I say that I love pasta, which is true. Right now I love Encanto the movie, such a good movie. It really got me in my feels as I was watching that with my younger cousins. I love my husband, I love my dog. And it's all that word, love, even though the love that I feel for pasta is obviously different than the love that I feel for my husband. And I remember a while ago being introduced to the ways that ancient Greeks talked about love and how they had these different words to describe different types of love. And so I thought it would be cool to explore some of those as kind of an entry point into thinking about what love means to us and that it means a lot of different things. 

And if we don't take the time to define it, then love can also end up being kind of a meaningless just throw away word and I don't know about you, but I want, when I say that I love something, for it to mean something and for me to know what it means. 

So going back to those Greek definitions, the first type of love that they talk about is Eros. And you can probably think like Eros…what does that kind of sound like that's love related? It's where we get our word erotic. And that's the love that is sexual. It's passionate. You might even relate it, if you didn't want to relate it to sex, to like that really creative birthing process. And Eros, this sexual, really feeling emotional, driven love is often what we see and romanticize when we think about any rom com, right? Even if it's not a rom com, even like a romance novel, I love Jasmine Guillory’s books, and there's always this like sexual tension between the characters unless you're watching a Hallmark movie, then you may get a kiss at the end, but it won't go beyond that. But there's that eros that that sensual type of love, which is a type of love, and it is a valid kind of love, it's just not the only kind of love. None of these is the only kind of love. So that's Eros, the sexual.

Then there's Philia, which might remind you of a city in the United States. Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. Philia is the love of deep friendship. Like ride or die friendship is how I think about it. And I'm reading this book right now by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman called Big Friendship and they talk about elevating the role of friendship in our lives. Because like I was saying, the eros, the romantic love is the one that really gets elevated in our lives, often to the detriment of the Philia, the friendship love, which is disappointing. And maybe you've had this experience where you have a good friend, and then they meet someone, and then all of a sudden, they're ghost until the relationship doesn't work out. And then they they come crawling back. And in some cases, we just kind of normalize it, like friends are the stop gap until you meet your person. And then your person is supposed to fulfill all of that for you, which was a lot of pressure on one person, right? I really like Philia as a reminder that we need these deep friendships, these big friendships in our lives, not just the romantic partnerships. 

The next type of love is Ludus and it's a playful love. The way that they described it as I was reading about it is the love that like kids have with each other, where they're just having fun together. And it doesn't mean that they have to be best friends forever. Maybe you had it where you were a kid at a playground and you like super got along with that person, and then you never see them again. But they were your best friend for 30 minutes, an hour. Or your camp friends…you'd like build this really great relationship and then you may not see them again until next year at camp. It's this love that is meaningful but it's a little fearful. It doesn't need to last forever, it's casual. 

The next type of love is Agape love. And if you grew up in the church, you maybe heard this talked about as unconditional love, the way that in the Christian theology God has for us. And if you don't want to put it into that type of box, it's more thinking about our love for everyone, our love for humanity, our love for this earth, this love that encompasses something bigger than us. It is ultimately selfless. When you think about an unconditional love, that means loving folks, even when they don't treat you the best, or even when you don't agree on everything. Practicing Agape love is very, very difficult. And that's why we often see it most in the relationships where we have these long term investments. I'm not a mom but I've heard that this is how a lot of parents feel with their kids. Like yeah, they're disappointed when their kid screws up but they're going to be there for their kid. They're not going to write them off. Even if they make a mistake, if they don't get the grade that they expected, or they do something stupid. At the end of the day, they still love them. 

The next one is Pragma. And this one, I decided to include it. The jury's out on if the ancient Greeks actually talked about this kind of love, but I thought it was worth including. In pragma, they talk about it as long standing love. It's the stuff that happens after the butterflies fade. It's the love of understanding that your friend doesn't love Thai food, and you don't love Mexican food so you'll switch off ordering each of those so that you both can compromise. It's like we're in this for the long haul. We're not all starry eyed about each other. We don't necessarily have butterflies in our stomachs but we want to be in each other's life. And so we're going to do the work and make the compromises necessary to make sure that we can stay together and that can show up in friendship, that can show up in partnership. But it says pragma, related to the word pragmatic, where you're thinking, really practically what does it take for us to stay in relationship with each other?

And then the last one is Philautia and that’s self love. The love that we have for ourselves, the love that we extend inwardly. all of these other ones that we talked about the Eros, the Philia, Ludus, Agape, Pragma, are all looking at us in relationship to other people. Philautia is really looking back internally and asking, how do we love ourselves?

So those were a bunch of words, maybe they gave you some things to think about? Like I said, the reason I wanted to include them is because it reminded me oh, yeah, I can say that I love my friend. And I can say that I love my dog. And I can say that I love my husband. And it's all different types of love. And when I put it through the filter of these Greek words that I just went through, I have some new language to talk about what those different types of love actually are. But you don't necessarily have to learn Greek and use those words, you can create your own words. So now that you have that context, hopefully you have a widening, a broadening of what love can look like. I want to turn the mic over to you. First question is what does love mean to you? How would you define love? And then the follow up question is what different types of love do you experience? You can use the Greek words if you want or just make up your own categories. What does love mean to you and what different types of love do you experience?

Thanks so much for taking the time to reflect with me. We always love hearing what came up for you. Feel free to shoot us a DM on Instagram and if you feel so inclined, we'd love it if you would take a moment to rate and leave a review of the podcast. Thanks again for being here. And take care!