Isn’t that just the question to everyone’s heartache that we all wish to solve or to have an answer to? So, what is love?
I thought I knew once upon a time but I realised the concept of love had changed tremendously in my life. I am not attempting to decipher what is love to you but just what the “Me” today think love is and could have been.
I think LOVE in the english word is just too vague. It doesn’t bring out the essence of different sort of love. As always, I felt the world of English are often overly simplified.
According to the Ancient Greek, we can break love down to as below:
Eros – “intimate love” or romantic love
Storge – familial love
Philia – friendship as a kind of love
Agape – “selfless love”, or the love for humanity or greater good, perhaps
I think it just get even more complicated from here onward. Will only be concentrating in EROS for this post.
Eros – What is really Eros? Infatuation? Love at first sight? It is truly only about physical attraction? Desire? Lust? Or is it Eros at his truest form? For me, I think it can be all the above depending at where in life are you? For me, I think Eros to me is love at appreciation of its purest form. I think I am with Plato on this. Plato did not consider physical attraction to be a necessary part of eros. Ya, it might not be necessary and I don’t think he say not needed. But then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For me, inner beauty surpasses any external beauty of any sort.
So, what sort of purest form of Eros that attracts me?
- Knowledge and The Mind
Oddly, enough when you read the work of Plato and Freud, many theorists think their work are of the opposite extreme. But, I think it’s just part of the process in itself.
First, the platonic love of eros according to Plato. Then, comes Freud where our unconscious “ego” influences the initial eros with a hint of narcissism seeking for fulfillment of the imagined expectations of our ideal ego of what love should have been and searching for the satisfaction we get when our love is returned to us. And, when not, we become destructive.
Yes, I do think love is a narcissistic process. As an individual falls in love with an idealized version of him/herself. You start to learn and adapt at becoming the idealized self. The process of the new you; You love what you have become when loving that person. ; You fall in love with what you discover about yourself when you are with him/her; you realized the new version of you and possibly the idealized version that the other has about you.
So, when things are not exactly going your way, the fear of losing the other self and the enhanced version of yourself most often makes us destructive to ourself or people around us.
This is where we will see if our super-ego is in place. And, how well we will adjust in accordance to the society’s expectation of what can and cannot be done to cope with your pain, fear and lost.
I think Eros also involves a mirroring process. Attraction most often is based on mirroring. It involves both components of finding the similarity and looking for the desired differences. Finding similarities, brings the couple closer and the differences at the spices to the relationship.
What sort of similarities do we seek, you asked? I think from my experience and observation, the few similarities that are crucial in a relationship are:
- Common Values
- Similar Aspirations
- Similar Rhythm
- Shared Passion
The similarity gives security while the differences creates excitement and mystery.
I personally feel that we can apply Freud’s concept of Id, Ego and Superego in love. What I am trying to say, it really depends on individual when and where to first fall in love whether it’s in ID, EGO or SUPEREGO. We can totally observe the media popularised idea of love where
- Love is Tolerance
- Love is Giving
- Love is Patience
- Love is Kind
These sort of love are the society culturally popularised concept of love that is totally governed by the Superego. So, asked yourself this honestly? Whenever you love – was it really out of selflessness and giving? Or is it (as most would deny it) to fill the narcissistic self for what oneself is lacking by finding the other to fulfill the idealised self?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean that love is a selfish process. All I want to say is that I agree with what psycho-dynamic therapies have been advocating for some time: LOVE/Relationship is also a HEALING process. It is the process by one’s identity merges with another’s identity thus creating a common personality which are shared and intertwined; building the better versions of both individual.
Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise. -Sigmund Freud
So, what is love? It is all up to you to define it. I really don’t think there should be any rules or guidelines for it.