The Greeks had 6 different words for love—is our single-word concept of love too narrow to inhabit the big way we long to experience Love?
It’s Valentine’s Day and the fix is in. It’s just so clichéd—and even if you’re in a fulfilling relationship, it’s hard to escape the watered-down, grasping quality of love offered up by our commercialized culture.
But it wasn’t always this way. The ancient Greeks understood the complexity of the human heart—and yes, they had 6 different words for love.
We, on the other hand, long for Aphrodite’s offerings of love, beauty and pleasure, but get caught up in battling Kronos. How advanced are we when we discount our own longings as a time management strategy for accessing life’s riches?
“One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.“— Henry Miller
One of the Greeks’ love definitions is the concept of philautia, where there are two ways to love oneself: the less healthy variation describes narcissism and self-obsession, whereas the healthier form of self-love is about investing attention in caring for ourselves, which enhances our love capacity.
The Greeks also developed a culture centered on daily ritual bathing, and this is where I believe we can fulfill our longing for Love.
Too often, self-care is the first thing we sacrifice, usually in the interest of time, and without recognizing how being in touch with ourselves—and nurturing self-compassion—will enhance our chances of loving and being loved by others.
Here are a few suggestions to not only sidestep the commercialized version of Valentine’s Day, but to tap into the richness of love that’s always available to you.
3 Ways to Take 5 and Take Care of Your Skin:
- Make the Time—because love starts with you. Most people spend up to 30 minutes getting ready for their day, so I recommend dedicating just 5 minutes of this time to focus your attention on how your body feels. Name what you feel. You don’t have do anything about it, just noticing your state of being builds self-love.
- Take the Risk. Instead of putting other demands for your attention and time in front of your own, take the risk to say no. By standing guard for small, moisturizing moments with yourself, you give yourself love that only you can give.
- Close the Gap. Soaking, bathing and moisturizing all involve the human touch, which is the fundamental language of how we communicate and bond. These everyday gestures close the gap, putting us directly in contact with the one place that enables our experience of love: the body.
So take the trip with self-love and come home to your body. It’s being away from the body that invites feelings of emptiness and loneliness.
Make time at the start or end of your day to mind your body with loving attention and access the profound emotional and physical benefits gained by daily touch.
It’s all in your hands to change your destiny with love. After all, the power of love is at your fingertips.