bell hooks

‘Everyone who has witnessed the growth process of a child from the moment of birth on sees clearly that before language is known, before the identity of caretakers is recognized, babies respond to affectionate care. Usually they respond with sounds or looks of pleasure. As they grow older they respond to affectionate care by giving affection, cooing at the sight of a welcomed caretaker. Affection is only one ingredient of love. To truly love we must learn to mix various ingredients – care, affection, recognition, respect, commitment, and trust, as well as honest and open communication. Learning faulty definitions of love when we are quite young makes it difficult to be loving as we grow older. We start out committed to the right path but go in the wrong direction. Most of us learn early on to think of love as a feeling. When we feel deeply drawn to someone, we cathect with them; that is, we invest feelings or emotion in them. That process of investment wherein a loved one becomes important to us is called “cathexis.” In his book [Scott] Peck rightly emphasizes that most of us “confuse cathecting with loving.” (All About Love)

I picked this up from the Zen Center bookstore when I went down recently – along with a couple of other books I hope to be excerpting soon. I feel like I have read a few pieces from it before, but setting out from the start, I could tell there was going to be a lot to sit with. When I mentioned it to a practitioner with whom I have discussed trauma and resilience, they responded that this book had helped them clarify so much of their own experience, and they were surprised I hadn’t remembered them telling me so…

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