Welcome to the archived web site of
Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. Psychologist (1950-2013)
California License No. PSY 10092
Specializing in Presence-Centered Therapy
balancing mind and heart, body and spirit
Now in memoriam - This website is no longer being updated
Articles by Dr. Friedman (except where noted otherwise)
The Five Levels of Love
The Full Bounty of Love is Available For Those Who Grow
by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Over the years I've been blessed and gifted in being invited into the innermost workings of couples committed to forging a workable, loving and respectful ground for their relationships. They have helped me recognize and refine five levels of love as a useful map of emotional development in lasting and deepening intimate encounters. Since we all tend to select, attract, and find the level of consciousness we've developed, so we find the level of loving we are both capable of giving and willing to receive.
Typically the five levels of love are hierarchical,
that is, an individual develops from the lowest to the highest stages step-by-step
with emotional and relational maturity. The all-too-common danger is to be stuck
at one level and not progress on to the next. If you would believe the popular
media of films, television and music, most people don't progress much beyond level
two, and sometimes level three. If you have ever loved another person deeply,
then it is likely that you have tasted of levels three and four, with possible
glimpses of level five. With love, every one has untold depths worth plumbing
and heights worth ascending. The full bounty of love is available for those who
consciously grow. As in all things, it begins and ends with you.
The Five Levels of Love
BEING 'IN LIKE': There's clearly a comfort, attraction and enjoyment of another's interests, humor, manner and possibly values. It's fun and free, yet without much depth, understanding, or commitment. This innocent, naive attraction is sometimes called teenage 'puppy love.' Inside of this experience, we are certain we are in love, no kidding.
'FALLING IN LOVE': This level of "heart over mind" infatuation is usually blinded to realities, other than what one wants to perceive and pretends to find. Although it can be somewhat short-loved, it is oh so sweet, intense and magical for the child within us all. Love at first sight, chemistry and all the non-rational, wonderful, awful craziness is here.
'BEING IN LOVE': This stage brings a greater depth of knowing, valuing and sharing another's life. Your mate actually looks like your true match. Your hearts beat together to a strong inner pulse of mutual appreciation and cherishing. You experience a calmer sense of security in the relationship, naturally expressing kindness and support to each other and with a greater awareness of each other's goals, hopes and dreams.
'STATE OF LOVING': A broadening of trust, emotional honesty, knowingness, belonging, and tenderness is present in this ever-growing relationship. This more mature love is born of shared experiences-both trying times of major challenges, losses and turmoil as well as delightful times of pleasures, growth and successes. The steel of this fuller relationship has been tempered and sharpened, yielding an unconditionally warm acceptance without ego. There is undeniable respect, and often, mutual admiration.
'LOVE INHABITS US AND WE EMBODY LOVE': This highly mature, spiritual love
is sometimes called 'agape' or brotherly and sisterly love. It transcends earthly
limitations, incorporating an abiding spiritual relationship to all living things,
the earth and the Divine. Living this humane stewardship, an appreciative reverence
grows along with a communion of the spirit blossoming into our true nature. Ineffable
and beyond expression in mere words, when love inhabits us and we embody love
with another person it shows itself as two souls silently rhyming in brotherly
and sisterly fulfillment.
© Copyright 2013 by Will Joel Friedman, Ph.D.
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