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A Dozen Kinds of Love to Have in Your Life

Love is like a vital food.  It nourishes and energizes, helping one’s life to be healthy and full.  Just as there are many kinds of food there are many kinds of love.  Just as each basic food group gives us different major ingredients for healthy living so does each kind of love.  Here are a dozen kinds of love I recommend that you consider growing and harvesting in your life’s garden.

1.  Self Love
To love others AS you LOVE YOURSELF is the ancient admonition.  Bernie Siegel, the famous cancer surgeon, says that if he can teach a patient to love themselves and others their blood level of cancer fighting cells raises.  More research suggests that others tend to ‘effectively’ love you only to the degree you love yourself.  Developing your self love abilities can be one of the most important things you ever do.

2.  Friendship Love
A host of studies show that much higher rates of illness and death from illness, accidents and suicide occur among those who lack a supporting network of loving friends.  Active involvement with loving friends (not just acquaintances) is a major way to increase enjoyment and health in life.

3.  Family Love
Similar to deep friendship love, love between siblings, relatives and even the new family member called an “Ex” has been found vitally important to staying healthy, to recovery from illness, and to life enhancement.

4.  Parental Love
Without love behaviors being shown to infants they tend to die of wasting away diseases in the first year of life (although they are otherwise well taken care of); so do monkeys and most other mammals.  Adults well loved by parents achieve higher quality of life ratings sooner and more easily than others.

5.  Child to Parent Love
This form of love starts from a kind of ‘need love’ but can grow to a very enriching part of a “love-feedback-loop”.

6.  Lover Love
Lover (spouse, love mate) love is the type of love our western world culture both emphasizes most and seems to have the most trouble with.  It also is the type most easily confused with false forms of love, and the type that may take the most work.  Never-the-less it’s a very special, important, and highly health & happiness producing kind of love.

7.  Love of a Special Identity Group
Some people manifest a love of Country, others a love of tribe or clan, others a love of their Alma Mater, town, or a group that holds particular values or ways of being.  Little research has been done on this kind of love but acts of strong and pervasive love are known to occur in this area.

8.  Cross-species Love
Having a loving relationship with one or more pets has been shown to improve immunity factors in the blood, lengthen life and even greatly improve and speed recovery from surgery.  Mammals seem to work the best in this capacity and return love behaviors most.

9.  ‘Philio’ Love (there are several spellings of this word)
Love of human kind or people, sometimes called brotherly love, and what ancient Greeks identified as “philio” love is just beginning to be studied.  Hous Lelye, the famous stress researcher, calls it altruistic egoism and found it very important to extending healthful living.

10.  Love of Nature
Looking at nature (even at pictures of nature), taking care of green plants and a love/appreciation of nature has been found effective in stimulating immunological responses, tissue repair, and maintaining biochemical balance in people.

11.  Love of Life
Some people seem to have a love relationship with all things that live.  A number of philosophers, theologians and theoretical scientists have speculated that love may be the prime force of life itself.

12.  Spiritual Love
From research into the highly self-actualizing, to studies of the underprivileged and disadvantaged (which include cross-cultural studies) come findings that people involved in various forms of spiritual love actions lived healthier (both mentally and physically) than their counterparts.  A sort of ‘universal love’ element intrinsic to one’s spirituality seems to have considerable potency for healthful, happy living.

As always – Grow with love.

Dr. J. Richard Cookerly

Love Success Question
ill you pick one of the above dozen kinds of love to have in your life and perhaps decide to strengthen it by meditation, or journaling, or researching, or making an action plan and carrying out those actions concerning that kind of love?

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