Robert Sternberg, an American psychologist proposed his ‘Triangle Theory of Love‘ and made the world nod in acceptance. According to him love can be categorized into 8 different types. The classification is done by considering a triangle with its three corners being intimacy, passion and commitment.
Literal meaning of intimacy is close familiarity or affinity. Passion also refers to uncontrollable emotion for someone or something and commitment points to the state of being dedicated. If A, B, C stand for commitment, passion and intimacy respectively then the eight types of loves that Sternberg enlists can have only A, B or C, any two AB, BC, CA, none or all three ABC.
People interested in psychology and love theories can dig deep into the topic. I will deal with application of Triangle Theory of Love to the concept of loving yourself. We are often told that if we love ourselves, there can be nothing stopping us from being successful. This can be true only if you know how to love yourself the right way.
Let’s start with sketching the person I want myself to be in the immediate future. Let’s name the sketched person Sigma. Say, I want myself to be a flawless and effective writer by next year. At present I am in ‘Nonlove’ with Sigma. Nonlove has absence of all A, B, C. Once I decide that no matter what, I am going to do my best to become an amazing writer, I bring in B or passion component in my love for Sigma. This type of love is called Infatuated love mostly seen when we have a crush on someone.
Now I start reading different books everyday. I start studying literature and different styles of writing. I start writing in various styles and start experimenting with my writing styles. By doing this I pair B with A or commitment. When A and B exist together, the love is called Fatuous love. This type of love has minimum chances of growth without C (intimacy). I cannot show intimacy towards Sigma if I am not Sigma. Simply saying, intimacy can only be attained between two people if they know each other well. A person knows himself well because of his present lifestyle, habits, thoughts and way of approach towards life.
Months pass by, an year comes to its end and I soon acquire the abilities I had sketched for Sigma. I transition from me an year ago to Sigma. In the journey I develop C. Intimacy develops when one learns to accept, acknowledge and appreciate other person’s positives and negatives. The same happens between me and Sigma over the time. In the journey, Sigma looses some lines in the sketch and gains some other. Now I acquire the love which is called Consummate love which rests at centre of the triangle and is a perfect balance of A, B and C.
Now the real task of maintaining the perfect balance between A, B and C begins. I can say that I love myself if I successfully maintain the perfect balance. Intimacy, passion and commitment are likely to endulate themselves especially when loving yourself is in focus. You can aquire this stage of loving yourself only and only if you love what you do, accept your lacunas and sketch your next Sigma with none of them.
To clear you from confusion, Sigma isn’t a person as such, it is the quality, skill or lifestyle that you want to have. Sigma is sketched as a person just to effectively apply the Triangle Theory of Love. Having intermediate and short term goals prove to be effective against monotony. Your love for someone or something can start with any of A, B, C and can be succeeded by any of the remaining two. It largely depends on what your goal is. All you need is to sketch your Sigma and apply the triangle theory.