How To Listen

Love Is a Basic Human Need

People seek a sense of nurturing. They also search for shelter, a sense of belonging in a safe, secure, and trusted territory, and a sense of purpose. Yet the one most important need they have is for love. People must have love, touch, and contact with others. Let’s not underestimate this for a moment.

If you travel to another country, you’re likely to notice that Americans (especially those who live in the cities) seem to be, for some reason, less tactile and more concerned with privacy and space than people of many other countries. This may sound like a generalization, but in the last decade here, there has been increased awareness of the need to “reach out,” as evidenced by an upsurge in “encounter groups” and all sorts of “therapies” encouraging people to hug one another and express more of their feelings.

Is it possible that some people’s isolationist tendencies stem from their unnatural birth experiences? Ever since doctors and hospitals took over, childbirth has become less and less natural. The traditional medical birthing ritual routinely separates newborn infants from their mothers. It places them alone in cribs in the nursery, and one might ask what emotional price these children have paid. Did they “adapt” and, rather than become bonded in their first intimate relationship with another human being, adjust to their aloneness by becoming “more independent”? One can only wonder. In this society, families are also separated more often as people become increasingly mobile.

It’s not difficult to see that many people make up for that restless, empty space inside by eating. Why isn’t it evident that we won’t find love and affection in a double banana split? The conscious mind may be reaching for a bag of chips, but the subconscious mind isn’t fooled. The person is no closer to his natural desires, and the frustrations left behind because of unfulfillment are merely buried deeper, to be reckoned with later.

Sound familiar? Just as we palliate detoxification symptoms through drugging, so too do we resort to food for palliation of symptoms such as inertia, boredom, restlessness, thus leaving the mental toxins inside instead of dealing with our true feelings. Some people have difficulty admitting their true feelings to themselves. They may not see that it’s love and contact they’re after, deep down, but the subconscious knows, even if they don’t see it in their conscious minds. The games people play with themselves far outnumber the games they play with others. They must first fool themselves before fooling others.

Some of us “cheat” when “no one’s looking” (including ourselves, presumably) and eat something we’ve been trying to avoid. Trying to fool ourselves! We try to convince ourselves each time that it “doesn’t matter” or that “next time it will be different.” As long as our intentions are good, we are off the hook temporarily. But the truth is the truth, whether we like it or not. We must see ourselves as we really are, not as we should be. Again, our subconscious mind knows what is really going on. If we choose to let our conscious minds rule the subconscious, we will remain captives of our lower selves.