I am often disappointed that we’ve only got one word for love in English. Or rather that that word is expected, in our language, to embrace all manner of ways of loving.
The Greeks had seven or eight concepts of love – each given its own label. In the same way Inuits have dozens of words for snow. Strikes me that the more a people think about something, the more vocabulary they give it.
So what does our only having one word for love say about how we think about it? Does it affect the way we feel? How we talk about it?
Do we even talk about it?
Is it true that by limiting the language, we also limit the concept and its permissibility?
I certainly feel that in the society in which I live the concept of love is rather biased to the side of the romantic or the erotic. And if for whatever reason people don’t feel that way inclined, then love starts being treated either as something a bit pink and fluffy and light-weight; or a bit shameful.
This doesn’t feel good to me at all.
Of course we love our families and our children and our friends. But how often do we tell them? Are we talking about love in the right places?
And what about in our public lives? Do we act with love in our businesses, with our acquaintances, our colleagues, in our everyday life?
How easy is it for you to love the white van man who’s cut you up on the roundabout? And how do you show love to the sick and the needy?
And the real million dollar question is how well we love ourselves. How well do you know what love feels like to you? What are the physical sensations that you experience? What activities are you engaged in when you feel them?
Personally I think that understanding our own brand of love is one of the most important priorities of our age. We need to be able to talk with greater eloquence about what love would do in a wider range of scenarios than simply the romantic.
Journal-writing is an act of self-love. Paying attention to our inner voice in our journals is an important step towards cultivating love for ourselves. After all we are the most important person in our life. The better the relationship we have with ourselves, the better our relationships with others will be.
So – is it time to expand your experience of love? Pick up your journal and reflect on some of the questions here. Slowly but surely you will begin to identify and recognise your own particular brand of love.