The Different Ways We Love One Another

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Exploring Different Types of Love

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Different Ways We Love One Another. Kim van Dijk Photography / Getty Images

Learn about the different ways we love. There are many types of relationships we share with others through family, friendship, lovers and general compassion for people in general. From self love to familial love to romantic love, all love is important for health and healing.

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Self Love

Self Love
Self Love. PeskyMonkey / Getty Images

Love yourself first! Until you are able to embrace self love it will be really difficult to truly love others or attract love from others. Some people equate self love as a selfish act or a form of narcissism. Self love has nothing to do with narcissism. Narcissism is a pathological disorder. Loving yourself is about self-acceptance and learning not to focus on your imperfections. We are so much more than our flaws and our mistakes. Humans are all perfectly imperfect and for this reason, we are here on the planet to learn and strive to be better persons. Love yourself and love your life journey.

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Brotherly Love

Sister Consoling Crying Little Brother
Brotherly Love. Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy / Getty Images

Brotherly Love would fall more under mutual respect. It is a love for your fellow man or kinsman. It falls under the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you:

  • Showing compassion for anyone hurting.
  • Empathizing with human frailties.
  • Acceptance of differences.
  • Taking the initiative to helping others who are struggling.

One way of extending brotherly love is ​namaste, which means acknowledging the god/goddess light in one another.

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Crush and Infatuation

Guy Crushing on a Girl
Guy Crushing on a Girl. Christopher Futcher / Getty Images

You know the crushing feeling if you have ever gone off the deep-end gaw-gaw for another person. Perhaps you place the person on a pedestal, thinking that he or she can do no wrong. There may be a sense that there is no chance to ever requite your love for such an adored person.

A crush is not love, but it certainly is confusing and emotionally wounding. It hurts when your affections are not returned or outright rejected. It can be uncomfortable for the other person, too, who is now in the uncomfortable position of potentially turning you down.

Keeping your crush a secret is also a safe love stance. Crushing on a celebrity or some other unreachable person is really having a fantasy love life in your mind. Your love feelings are not based on reality. You can safely adore someone from afar and not get hurt. It is okay to fantasize. 

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Sweet and Adorable Puppy Love

Puppy Love
Puppy Love. Cultura/Paul Simon / Getty Images

Puppy love is so adorable and sweet. This is when two young hearts go pitter-patter for one another. This naive type of love has the smell of fresh spring air. Puppy love is a wondrous and unharnessed love that sees no boundaries. We've all been there and for anyone who can remember that rush of adrenaline feeling filled with emotion and idealism―it is a cherished memory. Puppy love is a love that stands apart because it occurs before having experienced the pain of a broken heart, or the agony of a love gone sour.

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Karma Pulls at the Heart String

I Love You Sticky Note
Love and Conflict. Rebecca Grabill / Getty Images

Karmic pairing usually starts off with a strong attraction that pulls two people together. The magnetic pull is necessary to bring them together to form their karma-based relationship. Karma is about payback and learning from past mistakes. Few people would choose to enter a relationship with fore-knowledge that it is going to involve conflict and trials. Often times these relationships are labeled as "love-hate" relationships. The individuals can't get enough of one another romantically or sexually, but they seldom get along otherwise. Often times, difficult emotional lessons are being taught and learned in karmic-tied partnerships.

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Beneficial Contractual Relationships

Cats Cradle
Partnership. Yagi Studio / Getty Images

Contractual love is similar to karmic love, but there is more choice involved in this type of pairing. These partnerships, also called Soul Contracts,  are not formed to pay penance for past misdeeds or to even the karmic scoreboard. These contracts are entered with specific goals in mind. There is an understanding at a soul-knowing level that their pairing will benefit one another somehow. Contractual partnerships are generally supportive relationships.

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Obsession and Love Addiction

Bleeding Heart
Bleeding Heart. Mihaela Muntean / Getty Images

I hesitate to associate the terms "obsession" or "addiction" with love. This is not love. It is control, or probably more likely, lack-of-control. Sometimes struggling to maintain or renew bad relationships is simply a bad habit. You can get so caught up in your current situation that you are not able to see a way out. Sadly, we can become comfortable in our difficult relationships because they feel so familiar.

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Star-Crossed Love

Star-Crossed Lovers
Star-Crossed Lovers. Tim Robberts / Getty Images

Are you living a fairy tale life? Or are you waiting patiently or impatiently for the promise of "living happily ever after." 

Compatibility reports (astrology, numerology, enneagram) can signify the traits, characteristics of the perfect match for you. Do you really think that if it were not for the help of cupid that you could flounder alone for years and never find your soul mate? Aunt Bessie, the family's eccentric matchmaker, may really know what's best for you. What? What is all the fuss about having a soul mate anyway? Why don't Mars and Venus play well together?

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Love of Family

Paper Doll Family
Paper Doll Family. Tetra Images - Vstock LLC / Getty Images

 Love from your mother or father is likely the first love you ever experienced. It is natural to return love to a caring family member. A family is a unit that feels compelled to care for one another. It's a tribe thing... you squabble amongst yourselves but ultimately you will come together as a group to fight or protect yourselves against any outside forces that could possibly bring harm.

If the family unit is dysfunctional, the concept of love can be convoluted. When children who were raised in dysfunctional family grow up they will likely be drawn to others who are confused about love too. But if you do the inner work you can break the pattern of forming unhealthy relationships and form a healthier and truly loving family with people of your choosing. 

Love of family does not necessarily have to be blood ties. Join the tribe that fits you best and start sharing the love.

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Tough Love

Tug of War
Tough Love. BarA Muratolu

Tough love is not really a type of love, but it may very be the truest love of all. Taking a tough love stance is strong path to undertake. It required stepping away from personal control or the desire to help a loved one who has become too dependent on drugs or alcohol. In some cases, no substance abuse is indicated, but when an unmotivated person who has been taking advantage of your caring ways needs to kicked to the curb.

There is a lesson for both individuals in this Tough Love scenario. The caregiver learns to not be so giving of themselves and will allow the other person space in which to help himself. The dependent one is shown that he needs to take charge of his own life. Tough love can be "sink or swim" and can be a heart-wrenching situation to endure. But when the swimmer rises from the depths of his dependence and becomes fully his own person, it is a win-win for both individuals.

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Unconditional Love

Love Captured in a Jar
Love Captured in a Jar. Jordan Parks Photography / Getty Images

If there ever was a perfect love it would be unconditional love. We've all heard about ​unconditional love and many of us strive to embrace this type of love. Unconditional love is a maternal instinct and can occur naturally. But, it is also natural to get side-tracked with our judgments, expectations and good intentions. You don't have to approve of or agree with someone's life choices to love him or her unconditionally. Try it. Unconditional love is the ultimate.

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Desy, Phylameana lila. "The Different Ways We Love One Another." ThoughtCo, Mar. 28, 2017, thoughtco.com/ways-we-love-one-another-1732119. Desy, Phylameana lila. (2017, March 28). The Different Ways We Love One Another. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/ways-we-love-one-another-1732119 Desy, Phylameana lila. "The Different Ways We Love One Another." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/ways-we-love-one-another-1732119 (accessed January 21, 2018).