Ancient Greeks had six distinct words for different types of “love”, eros, philia, ludus, pragma, agape, and philautia. Philautia is self-love. The more you like and feel secure in yourself the more philautia you enjoy.
In this recent New York Times personal essay, “I Just Turned 60, but Feel 22“, Margaret Renkl provides the single best example of philautia of all time.
“The joking birthday cards that start coming at 40 were funny 20 years ago because they were so far from reality. Now they’re funny because they’re so true. One of the cards I got last week featured a vintage photograph of plump women in swimsuits who looked remarkably like me in my swimsuit. “At your age, swimming can be dangerous,” the card read. “Lifeguards don’t try as hard.”
I laughed so hard, my belly jiggled, a feature of being 60 that troubles me only a little. This is just who I am now, a person who looks exactly like her late mother, despite far more exercise and a far healthier diet. Besides, I loved my mother, and I love seeing her again in every store window I pass.“