By Hagit Malikin, Student Intern
Jumping into my grandparents’ bed early morning was a tradition at 5 years old. For us, the mornings were a time to chat, laugh and wonder. As we laughed and talked about all topics a 5-year-old can contribute to, one question popped into my head. ‘’Hey Grandpa, who do you love more? Me or grandma? ‘’. Taken by surprise, he answered. ‘’Sweetie, I love you both very much, but in different ways”. As a young 5-year-old, I couldn’t quite understand how love can be different depending on the person you love.
Now, 20 years later, his answer, still resonating in my mind, makes a world of sense. We love our parents, friends, siblings and significant others. Though we use the same word to describe this feeling, the type of love we feel for each is different. More specifically, the way we express the feeling of love is different.
1. Romantic Love: This type of love is expressed with our significant other in intimate relationships. It allows us to deepen our connection with that person as we learn more about each other. We may be inclined to express our love through romantic gestures such as dinners, show affection through hugs and kisses or use words such as I love you.
2. Parental Love: For many, love for parents is one of the first loves a person experiences. It teaches you about the meaning of love that you carry throughout your life journey. Expressing our love to parents may come in different forms such as helping, hugging and kissing them or simply by showing gratitude.
3. Neighborly Love: Showing respect and compassion to those living around you is another important type of love. Being kind through words and actions to strangers is what neighborly love is all about. February 17th marks the National Day of Random Acts of Kindness to allow us to celebrate kindness. A police officer in Florida didn’t have to wait for February 17th. All over the US news in June 2018, a story about a heartwarming random act of kindness was circulating. The officer helped a random homeless man shave for an interview as the man didn’t have a mirror in hand. Acts like these create a sense of union and peace throughout!
4. Friendship Love: People you have known for many years, people you trust and respect, those you call friends. For some, friendship love can turn to romantic love, but for others, friendship remains forever with those we can rely on and trust without exhibiting romantic feelings.
5. Children Love: I believe that the love for your children is one of the most selfless feelings a person can experience. As a parent, children are the extension of the soul, wanting nothing but the best for them. “In my husband, I know true love. In my children, I know pure love.”
6. Pet Love: Taking care of your pet and creating a strong bond with your animal is what pet love is all about. “Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” Research findings show that having pets may reduce stress and increase life satisfaction. Therefore, having a place in the heart for a furry little creature allows you to discover a whole other non-human type of bond.
7. Self – love: One of the most important types of love is the love we feel for ourselves. I am not talking about being selfish. I am talking about accepting yourself, nurturing yourself just like you would your children, parents, and significant other. For some reason, self-love seems to be the hardest one to accomplish. Yet, the relationship with oneself is the only one you are going to have 24/7 for your entire lives. As Oscar Wilde said, “to love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance”.
February has always been about romantic love. Why? Maybe because that’s all we remember when we think about this heartwarming word.
I would like to propose something a little different: Let’s celebrate February, the month of ALL types of love.
On behalf of Evolution Psychology Center, we wish you a month full of every L.O.V.E possible!