I tout my blog as one that talks about love. It's been my mission to figure out what exactly love is... How do we get it? How do we give it? So first of all, it might be good to break it up into different kinds of love. For the record, I am not going to cheat and google these different kinds of love (yet). I'll just offer my opinions and I welcome you to comment and add your own thoughts.
Romantic Love - This is the type many of us think of first when we talk about love. It's the type that goes with lust and desire and sex. It's the type where you want to be together all the time. This type of love feels really, really good. It's usually what we mean when we say we're "in love."
Platonic Love - This is the type of love we have for our friends. This is pretty easy to give and find... you just have to give and receive support, find the good in people, listen, share, be vulnerable. This can get tricky because it might lead to confusion as to whether or not you're interested in romantic love. It's not too uncommon to move from Romantic Love to Platonic Love. That's when you hear (or say) the old "I love you, but I'm not 'in love' with you line." But it can go the other way, too. Sometimes platonic love can develop into romantic love.
Familial Love - This is the type of love you have for your siblings, parents, and maybe extended family... grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews. You grew up with them and accept them regardless of their faults or quirks. You have absolutely NO romantic interest even if they're extremely attractive. (Tempted to make incest joke here, but I'll resist.) You feel like you can be truly yourself around them, though you can get on each others' nerves. You can often take this kind of love for granted because you trust it will never go away.
Love of Children - This is a love that's different and deeper than familial love. This is a protective love. Perhaps because it starts when a baby is completely dependent on us for care, this kind of love is usually given freely and unconditionally.
Love of God - This is a spiritual kind of love. It's about belief and faith and feeling that there is a higher power that will guide us. It's the kind of love we feel when we see beauty and goodness in the world.
Love of Pets - Sometimes this can almost be as strong as love of children, especially for people who don't have children. Again, it probably comes from caring for a living thing who is completely dependent on us and who loves us in return.
Love of Other Stuff - Though this may sound like a "materialistic" kind of love, I'm talking about when people say things like, "I love ice cream" or "I love summer" or "I love my house" or "I love my job." I think it's a positive thing to enjoy life and a good thing to love what we have. And when we lose something we loved... like a house or a job or even a treasured possession, we grieve.
Love of Self - This, of course, is very important. It may be hard to have any of the other kinds of love without tackling this one. This is the one in which we accept and embrace everything that's unique about us. We don't try to defend ourselves or pretend to be someone we're not. We know we're not perfect and that we have our faults, but we also celebrate our talents and want to share our gifts with others.
OK, that's all I can think of. Just thought I'd set that reference point so that in the future when I talk about "love" I can clarify the type I'm talking about.
Which of these types of loves do you have in your life right now? Is there a type you want but don't have? What can you do about that?