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Dorien Grey

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Love
2/6/2012 4:15:09 AM    [ Flag as Inappropriate ]

Looking at why we all need and expect love, yet sometimes find it hard to express to others.
Love is one of the most basic, powerful, and admirable traits of our species…though humans cannot claim exclusivity on it, as anyone who has ever had a dog or a cat can attest. Like so many things in life, love has an infinite number of shadings and varieties and intensities, as does its balance between the two individuals involved..

The love between parents and children is quite different than the love between friends, and that indescribably unique love between two people which includes and transcends the others. The one thing that separates loving friends from lovers is the element of sexual attraction.

Love feeds us and sustains us, and without it we wither and die. It is essential for our survival and our emotional development, and we seem able to store it up, like some animals store up body fat for use during periods of deprivation. Science has shown babies need to be touched and held and fondled as much as they need physical nourishment. Deprivation of love and attention warps the individual forever. (I have seen experiments conducted on baby monkeys denied of any contact with their mothers, and it horrified and devastated me. Such experiments may further science, but their effect on the individual monkeys is unconscionable.)

As we grow older, our sources of love grow fewer. At the risk of eliciting a scrinched-face “eeeeee-eeewwww!!” from those under 40, I can assure you that for probably most people, sex remains a strong factor even after one’s sexual appeal to others is totally lost. Our parents, the primary source of love throughout our lives die, as do, over the years, our partners and our friends. Gradually, we find ourselves like newborns once again, desperately needing love and attention and touch, and having fewer and fewer people in our lives to provide it.

I am comfortable in my life. I am blessed with supportive, caring friends who provide emotional nourishment the human soul requires, and I try to reciprocate it, though I am far less adept at it than they. I still have some family left, and they remain my anchors to the past. I am fortunate, too, to have friends I’ve never met but who know and seem to appreciate me through my writing.

For the most part, people tend to be pretty selfish when it comes to any form of love. They want it, need it, and even expect it as their due, though they are…like me…somewhat loath to express it as frequently as they should.

I have never met or even heard of a single person who, without some source of love to draw upon, ever claims to be happy. It is a tragic fact that far, far too many people in our increasingly self-isolated world, are deprived not only of love, but of affection, of kindness, of the even casual genuine touch on the arm from someone who cares about them.

Our society, unfortunately, discourages even the most innocent and casual physical contact with anyone other than one’s own immediate family, and we are rapidly becoming a nation of paranoids. That teachers are forbidden to hug a troubled student for fear of official reprimand or dismissal is a sign of just how far down the path of dehumanization we have traveled. That a kind, well-intentioned stranger cannot reach out and casually touch a child without being suspected of being a child molester is disgusting.

As elemental as it sounds, the fact remains: the best way to get positive attention is to give it without really expecting it to be returned; the best way to make a friend is to be a friend. The best way to be loved is to love unconditionally.

*****
Please take a moment to check out my website (http://www.doriengrey.com) and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (http://bit.ly/m8CSO1 ).



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