The Language of Love (and Chocolate)
Love is a language with many dialects. We love our friends and family, our partners and significant others, and ourselves, but not all love is the same. In English, "love" covers all of these, but in other languages, one word is not enough. In fact, in Greek, there are seven different types of positive love that we can experience in our lifetime.
Few foods encapsulate the language of love the way that chocolate does—every kind of love. Join me on a journey as we walk through how chocolate suits each of them!
If you're familiar with Greek mythology, you'll recognize Eros as the god of love and sex. This makes it no surprise that "eros" corresponds to passionate love, the breathless attraction to another person usually experienced at the beginning of a relationship.
What food is more closely associated with passion than chocolate? What other food can match chocolate in decadence, yet be so deliciously versatile? The experience of chocolate itself can be as sensual as a slow seduction: the slip of the chocolate against your fingers as you slide it between your partner's lips, the slow melt of it over their tongue, the way it coats their palate as they suck on the morsel. (Did you know that chocolate releases the same endorphins as sex?)
What do you think about when you see a couple in a long-standing relationship that's lasted decades? Although there may still be passionate love involved, it's more likely a sense of contentment and enduring love—which is just what "pragma" is. Pragma is the love that develops over time, the kind of committed love molded through a life spent together.
This is often a kind of love celebrated at Valentine's Day: the love of shared time and experiences in common, that quiet love that isn't necessarily easy but is always rewarding. And what is more popular on Valentine's Day than a box of chocolates? Nothing! In fact, 87% of Americans enjoy Valentine's Day chocolate (and candy), which leads to sales of approximately $2 billion.
Before pragma, before eros, there's ludus. Ludus is that light-hearted love that bubbles in your chest when you think about someone you're developing feelings for, when you're in the flirtatious, not-quite-a-relationship stage.
Ludus itself is a little like chocolate: a sweet treat that makes you smile whenever you experience it. Chocolate is wonderful for ludus, too, as it offers a small gift that conveys your burgeoning feelings without heavy expectations. Even a single wrapped piece of chocolate is a lovely way to let the object of your affection know you're thinking of them.
If you've ever experienced a love for every living creature, you've experienced agape. Agape is selfless and compassionate, a love you give to everyone without expecting anything in return. It's an enlightened love, one that can help you not only appreciate others but also feel comfortable in your place in the world.
When you give a gift to support workers, employees, or clients, you're practicing some extent of agape. You're expressing that you care about them and their happiness, that they're in your thoughts. Chocolate is the perfect gift for this, as it's something almost everyone can appreciate and enjoy. (We have a selection of gift boxed treats that are just the right size for an individual to share your regard!)
Like agape, philia is not a romantic love, but that doesn't make it any less important. It's the love between friends, that core group of people you share a deep bond with—your found family that you trust and cherish. Philia is the love for that friend you can't imagine your life without.
Strong as bonds of philia are, they still need to be nurtured, and gifts are one way to show your friends how much they mean to you—nothing obligatory or lavish, just simple tokens to let them know that you value them. Chocolate is an easily-accessible choice with the bonus of being shareable, so you can bond over the treat together.
Philautia is one that many of us struggle with; we tend to be very critical of ourselves, sometimes for the very things that we support in other people. In practicing philautia, we accept and love ourselves; even our warts can be beautiful. Self-love builds confidence and provides a wellspring that can help fill your bucket, giving you a reserve to build other kinds of love in return.
A retail chocolate company famously has inspirational sayings inside of their wrappers for good reason—chocolate is a fabulous way to express love to yourself! Whether it's a reward for a good accomplishment, a pick-me-up after a stressful experience, or simply a spot of sweetness to brighten your day, the endorphins that chocolate releases enhance your enjoyment of being you.
Even when they drive you crazy, most people have an inherent love for their family, an ingrained love born of lives shared from an early age. It's the kind of love that has siblings standing up for each other two seconds after squabbling or gets parents through the terrible twos (or twelves). It's protective and defensive, unconditional and shared.
Chocolate fits here, too! A family can build bonds by sharing a box of smooth, delicious treats. (We have gorgeous gift towers that offer arrays of chocolates so there's something for everyone!) Failing that, the endorphins that a piece of chocolate releases can soothe your nerves when you love them but they're getting on your last one.
Whatever kind of love you're feeling, chocolate can have a place in it—and a valuable one, at that! Enjoy the tasty sweet and its benefits as you develop every healthy kind of love and live your best life.