Posted February 22, Reviewed by Jessica Schrader.
That, unfortunately, is not the case. Horror stories, such as those described in the Adverse Childhood Experiences studies, abound, detailing challenges faced by unloved children.
One inevitable outcome is that they then need to learn to give and receive love. Because love was not something they always knew, they do not automatically know how to do it well, especially when it comes to loving themselves and feeling worthy of being loved by another. Happily, a capacity to feel love seems to be as hard-wired as our abilities to walk, speak, read, or play. Some internal conditions such as a sound sensorimotor system, absence from pain, access to relative comfort, and basic safety from harm allow a baby to enjoy the pleasures of touch, of reciprocity in gazes and laughterof being able to depend on someone to care for needs that cannot yet be met independently.
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When neglect, abuse, or squalor replace basic comfort, the baby develops a different understanding of and set of expectations for relationships. Human impulses to help and provide care cannot be assumed.
The delight of feeling accepted and valued is yet to be experienced. Yet love can be learned, especially once we reach adolescencegain capacities for forethought and conscious intention, and can learn to love ourselves. With a maturing brain that permits reflection and expanded life experiences that make room for a broader social circle, people are able to observe themselves with curiosity, attention, compassion, and kindness.
Curiosity, attention, compassion, and kindness, practiced as ways of honoring ourselves, allow us to develop a loving relationship with ourselves. And once we learn to love ourselves, to treat ourselves with care, consistency, and affection, we can direct our loving hearts outwards.
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If your life did not begin on a note loaded with love and attention, do not despair. Love can be learned, and you can have the joy of not only feeling it, giving it, and sharing it, but also of teaching it.
What greater blessing can there be? Acevedo, B. Csikszentmihalyi, M. Handbook of Competence and Motivation.
Teach me how to love you… and i will teach you how to love me
The Guilford Press. Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly ISBN Roni Beth Tower Ph. Relationships Learning to Love and Be Loved When you have not grown up with love, you need to learn it.
References Acevedo, B. About the Author. Read Next.
Back Psychology Today. Back Find a Therapist.
Yes, you do need to teach your partner how to love you
Back Get Help. Personality Passive Aggression Personality Shyness. Family Life Child Development Parenting. View Help Index.
Do I Need Help? Back Magazine. July Who Is the True You? Back Today.