There's A Fourth Kind Of Love You Probably Never Knew Existed

Photo: Grustock/ Shutterstock
couple in kitchen

The word love means many things to many people.

No one seems to agree on how many different types of love there are, and that's not even taking into consideration religious, spiritual, and/or philosophical points of view on the subject.

In an Elephant Journal article, writer and spiritual practitioner/coach Kristin Luce discusses three types of love that we're all familiar with and one that some of us may not really know.

Here are the 4 kinds of love:

1. Loving kindness

This is when we're loving and kind towards ourselves. Or, as Luce puts it, "It is a lack of self-aggression and a gentleness toward all that arises from within us as well — a welcoming."

RELATED: 20 Little Things Women Do That Guys *Secretly* Love

2. Compassion

This is when our hearts break when we see someone else suffer, and we empathize with what they're going through.

3. Sympathetic joy

This love is when we're happy for others, including our enemies. Luce puts it this way: "I feel joy when you feel joy, no matter what our relationship."

4. Equanimity

One way to describe equanimity is the feeling that you don't mind what happens, or having the ability to see without being caught by what you see.

Luce says, "The fourth kind of love is one very big, 'Okay. Yes, I accept.' It is not dismissive, distancing, or sarcastic. It is relentlessly and ruthlessly real."

RELATED: 11 Signs You're Dating A 'Marriage-Minded' Person

Equanimity might not be logical, but not everything that happens is. "It [equanimity] is a radical opening of acceptance to what is.

If we go further, it is more than just 'Okay,' It is a 'yes' to everything that happens."

Let's break it down further. The English word equanimity translates into two separate Pali words used by the Buddha. Each represents a different aspect of equanimity.

The first word translated as equanimity is upekkha, meaning to look over.

It refers to the equanimity that comes from the power of observation, the ability to see without being caught by what we see. This power can give one a great sense of peace.

Upekkha can also mean the peace that comes from seeing the bigger picture or seeing with understanding and patience.

Think of a grandmother's love; she clearly loves her grandchildren, but due to her experiences with her own children, she's less likely to be caught up in her grandchildren's lives.

The second word that's often translated as equanimity is tatramajjhattata, a compound word made up of the words Tatra, meaning "there," Majjha, meaning "middle," and Tata, meaning to "stand" or "pose." Put all the words together and you get to stand in the middle of all this, or remain balanced in the middle of whatever is happening.

RELATED: If A Guy Really Likes You, He Will Never Say These 7 Things

This centeredness comes from inner strength, stability, calm, well-being, and integrity.

Luce writes, "When we open to equanimity, we become open to everything.

We stop picking and choosing based on what we like and don't like. We stop separating ourselves in an attempt to feel less than."

When having equanimity, our relationships improve.

"With equanimity, we become unchained from the burden of having to judge, manage, figure out or fix anything anymore," Luce says. "Relationships become beautiful, exciting, and changeable, and in a sense, they are not personal, just like the weather."

Equanimity allows us to feel the other types of love in a more real and honest way, without negativity.

Luce writes, "We just love ourselves for no reason. We are just compassionate for no reason. We are just happy for others for no reason, and when it doesn't even make sense. Equanimity is the secret ingredient that makes the bread rise."

RELATED: 'Love Dusting' Is The Horrifying New Dating Term —And It's Probably Happened To You

Christine Schoenwald is a writer, performer, and frequent contributor to YourTango. She's had articles featured in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Bustle, Medium, Huffington Post, Business Insider, and Woman's Day, among many others.