With Valentine’s Day now just a few days away, clinical psychologist Maria Cloete says it is important to distinguish between the many different types of love. She unpacks love and all its kinks on the latest episode of Sisters Without Shame, Health For Mzansi’s weekly podcast.
Love is both a psychological and biological phenomenon, says Cloete who practices in Cape Town. It is also associated with enjoyment, attachment, affection, care and devotion.
Cloete says people tend to generally celebrate romantic love or romance in February, leading up to Valentine’s Day. Romantic love is an intense attraction involving the idealisation of another within the erotic context and the expectation of “forever.”
“It is important that we understand that romantic love is mainly just a stage of the love felt by the people in question, doesn’t last forever, and certainly not the only love that exists,” Cloete says.
Other common types of love include:
- Philia or sibling love which is shared between friends or family members and is based on values and respect for one another.
- Parental love that is shared among parents and their children. It’s an infinite love built upon acceptance and deep emotional connection.
- Religious love is the passion you have for a higher power or having love for other people based on their belief systems and their values.
What about self-love?
People talk a lot about relationships with other people and talk so much less about relationships with themselves, adds Cloete. That is why we should seek to answer the following questions often: Do you know who you are. How close you are with yourself? Do you know that you have a relationship with yourself?
What is unconditional self-love really?
Cloete explains that unconditional self-love means loving yourself without conditions. She says unconditional love often exists among yourself and other people where you want to be loved without having to do anything for that love.
“Sometimes we love ourselves after exercising at the gym and doing some health checks on our food and bodies. Due to this, often our love for ourselves is conditional. But these conditions are ones that make us whole, feel better, and love ourselves better.”
According to Cloete, it is important that we think of ourselves in a positive light. This will avoid feeling down or having our emotions tampered with by people who do not have much positive regard for themselves. In other words, treating yourself to a spa day or taking yourself out on a date would be another great way of giving great regard for your existence. You can be your own Valentine after all, babes.
Listen to the full interview on Sisters Without Shame
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