Good shepherd, tell this youth what ’tis to love. It is to be all made of sighs and tears; It is to be all made of faith and service; It is to be all made of fantasy

The daily prompt prompted me to think about love, it’s kinds and it’s meaning to each one. For me, Love is an emotion in action. It is one of the most powerful emotions any being can experience. It is also one of the most sought after, used, abused, propagated, forbidden and admired things in the world. The strange thing is nobody can define love. And if there is one definition for love, like the one the Bard felt and I used in the title, does it really resonate with what one feels when they are in love? Let’s look at it from a few different points of view.

Biologically, love is a powerful neurological condition like hunger or thirst, only more permanent. We talk about love being blind or unconditional, in the sense that we have no control over it. But then, that is not so surprising since love is basically chemistry. In true love, or attachment and bonding, the brain can release a whole set of chemicals: pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin and vasopressin. However, from an evolutionary perspective, love can be viewed as a
survival tool – a mechanism we have evolved to promote long-term relationships, mutual defence and parental support of children and to promote feelings of safety and security.

Psychotherapy says that love has many guises. If people try to define love, the definitions differ on various degrees. For some love is the emotion experienced when they have feelings towards the opposite sex. Which, I guess is the most common, most used and abused type of love in the world. Also, a large part of the greeting-card companies and wedding industry relies on this type of love for their daily bread. Let’s digress.
For some others, love is what they feel for their children, parents, siblings, pets or friends. The ancient Greeks have 7 different words to define the various kinds of love experienced by people.

Storge: natural affection, the love you share with your family.

Philia: the love that you have for friends.

Eros: sexual and erotic desire kind of love (positive or negative)

Agape: this is the unconditional love, or divine love

Ludus: this is playful love, like childish love or flirting.

Pragma: long standing love. The love in a married couple.

Philautia: the love of the self (negative or positive)

And all of the above make up the word Love. So does this mean that every kind of love is the same? If we sit down and come up with one definition of love will it be applicable to each kind? I love pastries. I really do love pastries. But I love my husband, too. I also love my mom. I love my friends and siblings. Does this mean that there is some common trait in all these ‘loves’? Then what about my love for my pet, who is not amongst us anymore?? Does love return to zero once your object of
affection ceases to exist?

Well, for me, the answer is that no two kinds of love are the same. Rather it is most unfortunate to categorise love into all the different types. It is like categorizing honey into different types of tastes based on who actually tastes it. Which is ridiculous. Honey will taste the same no matter who tastes it – Sweet! I don’t think that categorizing love into all the different types is appropriate. Since I think that love is not the same for everyone. I think each one experiences a different kind of love when they do experience it. One’s emotional intensity, level of excitement, happiness quotient may not be the same as the other. Love is not quantifiable. And there is no limit in how much love you can feel or experience.

In conclusion, I think love is a way of life. Love is a practice that you either feel to take it up or not. It is not something that you can find or not find. You can practise love for however long you feel the need. You may not express that love after some time even if you feel it inside yourself. There may not be any common trait in all the kinds of love. But one fact starkly remains – that there is love inside everybody. Everyone has the ability to feel, express and practice love. And this is irrespective of anatomy, biology, physiology, psychotherapy, philosophy, geography or any other science.

Just as, a rose by any other will still smell the same, love in any language will still evoke the strongest feelings and emotions….of love.
Language            Love
Afrikaans             Lief
Albanian              Dashuri
Arabic                  Hubb
Armenian            Ser
Azerbaijani          Sevgi
Basque               Maite
Belarusian          Liubic
Bengali               Bhalobasha
Bulgarian           Obicham
Catalan              L’ amor
Cantonese         Oi
Croatian             Ljubav
Czech                Laska
Danish               Elske
Dutch                 Liefde
Estonian             Armastus
Filipino               Mahalin
Finnish               Rakkaus
French                Amour
German              Liebe
Greek                  Agape
Gujarati               Prem
Haitian                Creole
Hawaiian             Aloha
Hebrew               Ahava
Hindi                   Pyaar
Hopi                    Shima
Hungarian           Szerelem
Icelandic             Elska
Indonesian          Cinta
Innuit                   Naglingnerk
Irish                     Gra
Italian                   Amore
Japanese             Ai/koi
Javanese              Kulo tresno
Kannada              Priye
Korean                 Salang
Latin                     Amare
Latvian                 Milestiba
Lithuanian            Meile
Macedonian         ljubov
Mandarin              Ai
Malay                   Cinta
Malayalam           Premam
Maltese                Imhabba
Marathi                 Prem
Norwegian            Elsker
Polish                   Milosc
Portuguese           Amor
Romanian             Dragoste
Russian                 Lyubof
Serbian                  Ljubav
Sindhi                    Pyaar
Sioux                     Techihhila
Slovak                   Laska
Slovenian              Ljubezen
Spanish                 Amor
Swahili                  Upendo
Swedish                Karlek
Taiwanese             Ai
Tamil                     Kadhal
Thai                      Rak
Turkish                 Sevda
Ukrainian              lyubyty
Urdu                     Pyaar
Vietnamese          Yeu
Welsh                   Caru
Yiddish                 Leiba


3 thoughts on “Good shepherd, tell this youth what ’tis to love. It is to be all made of sighs and tears; It is to be all made of faith and service; It is to be all made of fantasy

  1. miamiscrapper1wisewording

    Yes, Sheetal. I liked your Blog, very documented. But, I have this natural tendency to always gravitate over “essentiality”, towards the vortices, and the origin….I do think there is one source for all kind of love, but it “diversifies” at the merely type of presence, or type of stimuli, or different object, and though, as “objects of love” changes, as well does, and modify, and accommodates love to the different objects of it. I think, one can love also an objective in life, a pursue of something, or a challenge, or an endeavor too. Love is something which multiples geometrically it’s ways of expressions, behavior, and it’s workings, depending on the two different points of attraction, and I’m not just talking about sex attraction of course between man and woman, there is also always an attraction for a type of love between any two points, an doesn’t have to be sexual, so the attraction, also varies, cause “touches” different points or necessities contain in the two different points, of love. Love, is not an attraction, attraction is just a phase of it, love is “intelligent”, is creative, is wise, it transforms, and evolves, it revolves, it grows, is geometric, and goes with its engineering and workings according to field of action, and is always “good”, so always “goes right”. If it is Love there is no room for wrongs, it always resolves in a “win-win” situation. Have you heard?: ” Love, cause is the “only” true adventure”, or “Love goes “any ware” uninvited”, or “Affection is the broadest base of a good life”, “Love is as necessary as food and shelter”…….. I think, there is a common thread the runs inside all kind of loves, and that is, that love, warms, smoothest, stimulates, boosts, accompanies, comprehends, creates, and all that love gives, and more, is necessary for any, every, single endeavor on creation. So, love is the force that moves everything, and is in the Beginnings, it is now, and ever shall Be”………any resembles??????. Thank You for the stimuli of your Blog, that made me “mirror” that love is every ware, in many forms.


    1. Sheetal Post author

      Thanks wisewording for that compelling comment. Your idea of love is intriguing and stimulating as well. You made me realise that I forgot to include that love can be for objects and objectives, too. Two of your ideas stood out for me:
      1. “love is “intelligent”, is creative, is wise, it transforms, and evolves, it revolves, it grows”

      2. “So, love is the force that moves everything, and is in the Beginnings, it is now, and ever shall Be”


      Liked by 1 person


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