Monday, November 21, 2011

The five parts of love


The philosopher's nature is to know. He seeks to understand the truth of all things. The lover's nature is to feel. He doesn't care why or how something works, his wisdom comes from feeling it. The most sacred emotion for the lover is love. He may also learn from joy and pain, but love is his highest experience. Jesus Christ was a lover, I am a philosopher. One way that I try to understand something is to take it apart and learn from its parts. It may seem sacrilegious to a lover, but this technique can be very effective and has helped me greatly in understanding what love really is, when it exists, when it doesn't, and why.

Love is a very mysterious thing to most of us. It is a strange force which binds people together in both ecstasy and pain. Upon careful inspection it can be seen that love is much more than one thing, in fact, it is at least five things with the same name.

Although true love is composed of these five parts, relationships of friendship or even marriage can be successful with less than five. In fact, we often call it love when we only feel one of these five parts of love. However, to experience the complete love that we all wish for, all of the following five parts must be present.

The first part of love is the desire to touch and be touched. We desire to pet puppies, to fondle children, and to hug our mates. This desire to touch sometimes leads to sex, but, in its most simple state, the desire to touch, hug and caress is a pure part of love and can be seen in its primitive state in the grooming between wild animals.

The second part of love is the desire to spend time with the beloved. If we enjoy the time spent together, whether in play, work, talking, or just hanging out, we love that person. Although, we all need some time alone, when we love someone, we want to spend as much time as possible with them.

The third part of love is the desire to protect the beloved. We want them kept safe, and to make sure they survive and grow physically, mentally and emotionally. This is what I call genetic love, because parents who don't seem to love their children in any other way usually love them in this way. They want them to be safe and survive. They feed them, clothe them, educate them, nurse them back to health when they are sick, and try to make them happy, even if they don't like them much.

The fourth part of love is trust. When we trust a person we feel physically and emotionally safe in their presence.  We trust that they will remain loyal on good days as well as bad., that they will be there when the children are small and when they are grown. We know that even when they are angry, they care about our physical and emotional well being.

The fifth part of love, which is often missing in relationships, despite its importance, is admiration. No one admires anyone completely. There are qualities that we despise in ourselves and in others that we cannot admire; and there are qualities in which we are just not interested. However, to love someone completely, we must admire certain special qualities in our beloved. Although this part of love can get out of balance when someone idolizes another, such as with a famous musician, actor, politician, or religious leader, a certain amount of admiration is necessary for a complete love relationship.

Besides being necessary ingredients for the lover to know he is experiencing true love, these five parts are also necessary for the beloved to feel totally loved. They must know that they are desired to be touched and hugged; that their company is treasured; that their well being is cared about; that they are trusted; and that they are appreciated and admired with pride for their special qualities. These five parts of love must be communicated back and forth between lovers, friends, parents and children. When we feel loved, and in love, we feel good about ourselves, and are filled with the self esteem we all need replenished daily.

Sometimes it is hard to know why we don't feel loved in a certain relationship. Isolating and pondering these five parts of love may help you understand why you feel the way you do. It may help you understand why you feel totally loved, and in love, at times, but not at other times; or why you doubt the sincerity of the love of a mate, parent, child or friend. If only one of the five parts of love are present, it may be true when they say, "I love you", but, you are not loved in that special way that we all seek...completely.

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