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What Is Love?

             Love is a word used more or less to designate warm, positive feelings directed to individuals; it may encompass attachments to pets, institutions, things, activities, and ideas. Love usually implies intense feelings, but may it be restricted to feelings with strong sexual components. Most people would agree that love comes in different forms, corresponding to different levels in their own being. The most important distinction is that between general goodwill, familial devotion, and romantic attraction.
             General goodwill (Agape) possesses the features that distinguish it from desire and longing for passion. It is characterized by friendship, understanding, and a concern for the welfare of others. The Bible advocates this type of love: "Love thy neighbour." This benevolent love should be shown to our fellow humans without the anticipation of any benefits. Examples of this love are doing charity work, volunteering time and services, such as, working in "soup kitchens" and helping to build/renovate homes for the poor. Also one can become a mentor or a "Big Brother" to a troubled child by giving guidance, helping with school assignments and also taking him/her on trips.
             Another love is family devotion (Storge) which is a much stronger love than agape; it is an unconditional love for one's family. We tend to forgive, always patient, kind, and protective of close family members. An example of this, is a mother's love for her child. She may tend to be jealous if an aunt or a nurse wins too much the child's affection. But, if her love for the child is genuine, she is grateful for the kindness shown to the child, and the jealousy is inwardly controlled. Or she may be eager to shield him/her from every danger, but will surrender him/her despite her fears to the inevitable perils of growing into adulthood. A category of storge love is friendship which is (Philia) a platonic companionate love, a solid peaceful love between close friends.

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