Celebrating a deeper love

Staff reporter highlights more than just romance on Valentine's Day

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Abigail Bell

The ancient Greeks believed in six types of love, and they had words specific to each kind.

Valentine’s Day can often be brushed off as a hyper-commercialized, substanceless holiday. People mope about because they don’t have a date or they don’t want to wait until the next day for candy to be on sale (which is fair). February also holds Galentine’s Day, or Palentine’s Day, the maybe-nationally-recognized-but-probably-not holiday reserved to celebrate your friendships.

Recently, the date has been receiving more press on the importance of self-love. While these are all valid reasons to celebrate the holiday (you can catch me in the candy aisle at 3 a.m. this Saturday), I don’t believe they can truly encompass what Valentine’s Day is. 

It is the capability to show love towards others simply because they are humans too.”

— Abigail Bell, 10

According to yes!magazine, the ancient Greeks believed in six types of love, and they had words specific to each kind. There was “eros,” a type of passionate, romantic love. “Philia” described the bond between two close friends. “Ludus” was lighthearted and fun. In relationships that lasted for great lengths of time and required compromise, there was “pragma.” And “philautia” described a love for the self. However, there was one type of love considered all-encompassing and selfless. It is often used in a religious sense, however “agape” simply describes the love one has for everyone and everything, from family to strangers. It is the capability to show love towards others simply because they are humans too.

This is the most moving and impressive type to me. This world is a broken and scary place. How could anyone love a stranger? You can’t know what they’ve done or who they have been. How do you know that they are even deserving of love?

These questions haunted me for a while. At some point, I had an epiphany; no one should have to be “deserving” of love to receive it. It is an inherent need for people to be loved, and I believe we inherently want to give it as well. Sometimes the politics and conflicts of the world can interfere with us expressing this love, but it is there. “Agape” is the part of you that holds doors open for strangers when its cold outside. It is the part of you that aches when you see others in pain. It is seeing the best in somebody when everyone else only sees their flaws.

It is seeing the best in somebody when everyone else only sees their flaws.”

— Abigail Bell, 10

We’re all flawed in some way. Maybe you think your nose is too big or your voice too squeaky. Maybe these imperfections lie front and center in your mind, or maybe you can push aside your doubt and lie to yourself. Maybe you’ve come to love yourself in spite of what you deem unworthy, and I hope this is the case. Flaws are human. There is a certain beauty that can be found within imperfections, and just because you have faults does not mean you lack worth.

“Agape” isn’t limited to humans either. It is searching for beauty in everyday life. It is when a day turns breathtaking because you noticed the way the sunlight falls onto the floor through a window. It is when a stranger crosses the road in front of your car, and they do that awkward half-jog while waving at you, and you smile because you do the exact same thing. It is the sense of awe that washes over you when you look at the night skyline of a city for the first time. It is that hushed feeling of completeness that falls over you when you step into a bookstore. It is looking at an utterly average day and seeing immense beauty.

Beauty, love and goodness are inseparably intertwined; each is the basis of another.”

— Abigail Bell, 10

One of my favorite books when I was younger was “The Lost Hero” by Rick Riordan. In it, the Greek Goddess of love, Aphrodite, was described. Riordan writes, “Aphrodite is about love and beauty. Being loving. Spreading beauty. Good friends. Good times. Good deeds.” Beauty, love and goodness are inseparably intertwined; each is the basis of another. They work together to make this world lovely.

The Greeks had six words for love of six separate kinds. However, just because we lack their extended vocabulary does not mean we don’t love as strongly or as passionately or as deeply as they did. Yes, Valentine’s Day is a day to express to your significant other your feelings. It is a day to celebrate your friendships and to accept and love yourself, but it is so much more. It is a day to find beauty in the minute details of our lives and in the scenes which play in the background of our consciousness. It is a day to recognize the beauty of this world, and it is a day to fall in love with humanity.