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Why is love under-valued?
The age of instant gratification
How does love show up in your life?
This is a really important question in the 21st century as there are not that many truly loving acts depicted in the mainstream media. There can be seen to be biases that embrace the negative with confirmation bias, favouring the reported status quo and promote extremism on both sides of the fence.
There are huge emphases on hate, aggression, fear, catastrophe, division, partisan politics, hostile language and platforms given to those who seek to be sensational, extreme and stir up a hornets nest.
The language of love, compassion and support is simply not there at all.
This is a huge problem for humanity.
Love is hard-wired into us.
From before we are born we rely on our mother to provide a safe, secure, loving environment in which we can develop until we are born.
Joy has been mapped on the faces of premature newborn babies when they are next to or held by their primary carers, which infers that we are able to experience joy in utero and it is part of our ability to connect, to create, facilitate and recieve love, all in the name of survival.
Just think about how much a newborn baby depends on its parents to survive.
Human babies are pretty much helpless, apart from alerting adults that it is hungry, tired, dirty, unsafe. This alert depends on the love felt for that baby from the adults around it, in particular the primary carers.
When a baby gazes into your eyes when they are in your arms, that is their way of expressing that they are attracted to you. It is the beginning of a love story that is meant to last a lifetime.
Warm, loving relationships with lots of affection support a child’s development and help them feel safe and secure.
No love and they do not feel safe and secure.
They also do not develop and grow like they are supposed to.
A lack of love, emotional warmth and physical contact slows down the mechanisms of growth in the brain and the body, which in modern times is often labelled as something other than a need for love, warmth and hugs.
If there is a time delay to babies getting their needs met then this causes a stress reaction within the brain and the body, which leads to a lifetime of conditioned stress within them. Of course one offs are completely understandable but make this into a pattern and you have created a stressed baby that leads to a stressed child that leads to a stressed adult.
Why is this important when we are thinking about love being underrated?
Look around you.
How is your community doing? Actually that may be a step too far. How is your family doing?
If you are a parent, how present are you with your child/ren?
This is a really important question.
Do you feel like their challenges are yours to support or do you feel that they need to be handled by ‘experts’.
Love within the family provides a blueprint for all relationships in life.
Love relies on trust, belief, pleasure and reward within the brain.
As I wrote before it starts before birth and builds up over time.
This is a fMRI taken of a mother kissing her baby. You can see where the brain is active. There is something within the prefrontal cortex, the limbic system and the hind brain which denotes that this is something that is very much a system wide brain function.
I often talk about my field of work as being esoteric in that neuroscience is all about experimentation and investigation that propose to find more truth than lies in what philosophers, mystics, thought leaders, authors, writers, healers, wise elders and logis have spoken about for millenia.
How we are meant to live, to love has been depicted ever since man could paint pictures in caves. That is how important it is.
When I work with people who feel that there is something wrong with them, something abnormal about them, something to be ashamed or embarrased about I always have to point out that we as a species are living a way that is increasingly toxic to us.
They are behaving normally in an abnormal environment. It is not them. They are merely trying to survive in the best ways they know how. Which are not often the right ways, but they are all they know. They need love, respect and care to be able to change how they function.
The absence of love and the underrating of love is hugely evidence of this.
We are hardwired to love.
We need to trust our tribe to have our backs, to care for us when we cannot care for ourselves (no matter the why), to value us, to give us credence in our group.
We need to have our opinions heard and discussed respectfully.
Not shouted at, vilified, or shamed.
The family unit is what has, to a large extent, replaced the tribe.
I am so concerned that there are so many children who are actively encouraged to speak to other adults rather than parents or trusted relatives.
Not all families are abusive, toxic or neglectful. We are making them all of these things by inferring that children cannot trust their family so should seek outside help.
I feel that both as a professional and a human being that I can comment on this as I grew up in the most toxic of environments but have striven to give my children the ability to trust me, feel safe with me, be able to grow and develop as they need to, not as society dictates that they do, have strong, solid boundaries that are there to help them be healthy and well, plus allow them to develop autonomy, a curious mind and the freedom to explore.
It saddens me that so many parents now are seeking labels for children that exhibit signs of distress in a world that does not allow difference in the nursery or classrooms in particular.
This itself is indicative of a system that is not supportive, not adaptive, not caring, not compassionate and certainly not filled with love.
I get personally attacked when I propose that parents can make a huge difference to the distressed child by changing their enviornment to one that is supportive, recognising that one educational system does not fit all and that there is certainly too much toxic food, toxic air, toxic water and toxic influencing all around that they need to stop for their child’s sake.
How many parents just mindlessly give their baby, toddler, child, teenager a smart device?
Would they give them a pipe of crack cocaine?
Would they take them to a casino?
Would thet take them to a brothel?
Their brains react the same way as if they had.
It is the quickest route to instant gratification.
Definition - Habits and patterns associated with addiction are typically characterised by instant gratification (short-term reward), coupled with delayed deleterious effects (long-term costs).
One theory about substance use disorders is they stem from disconnection.
In his popular TED Talk, Johann Hari describes some rat experiments. In the early experiments, one rat was placed in a cage with two choices: a regular water bottle or a water bottle laced with drugs.
The rats overwhelmingly chose the drugged water, literally drinking themselves to death, leaving the researchers with the impression that addiction was primarily physical and inevitable if the subject was given access to the substance.
Then Bruce Alexander revamped the experiment but added what he called Rat Park. This is one of the most famous connection experiements of all time.
Instead of being alone in a cage with two bottles and nothing else, the rats had all sorts of toys to play with and some rat friends to relax, play and groom with. Due to the stimulation and conenction within Rat Park, the rats favoured the regular water, changing how addiciton was thought about.
I have written before about the pitfalls of instant gratification and that we all need to nurture delayed gratification within the brain.
The rats are a clear example of why we need to work at love, work at connection, value love, value connection.
What we are all being conditioned into thinking is normal, is extremely abnormal.
Human beings are wired for love, not hate, we prefer compassion to punishment, we need attachment not detachment.
The break up of the family is a huge part of this.
Human beings need human beings.
We cannot be ‘INDEPENDENT’ it is not good for our homeostasis and it certainly is not good for our souls.
It can be so difficult to rewire and relearn how to trust other human beings, how to connect to other human beings, how to love other human beings.
It is essential though as an antedote to modern times.
This will shift us into the realms of delayed gratification not its instant relative.
We need to support more attachment models, get to the oxytocin and vasopressin which will sustain our ability to be attached.
Oxytocin and vasopressin are made within the hypothalamus which I wrote about as an area of the brain that benefits from summer, the light, and the ability to connect more. Developmental exposure to social experiences and to peptides, including oxytocin and vasopressin, also can "retune" the nervous system, altering thresholds for sociality, emotion regulation, and aggression. Without oxytocin and without the ability to form attachments the human brain as we know it could not exist.
For society now, and in particular the undervaluing of love, this is huge.
Society in the west is getting sicker. There is no getting away from it.
I, myself am having to take more time each day to re-ground, re-group and re-organise myself, and this is my job!
Only by valuing the things that make us human and turning away from those that do not can be begin to turn the tide. We can do this, if we want to do it enough.
Hate. Being offended about everything. Intolerance of others. Not working hard for things that matter. Wanting it all and wanting it now. Discharging care and comfort of children to ‘experts’, unwillingness to stop the fear agenda influencing. Not being curious. Not being kindly critical. Not loving enough. Not being loved enough.
All of these things are making life tougher and humans sicker.
We need connection. More than anything, we need human connection.
It suits those who hold power and control for humans to not be connected. If humans are disconnected it makes them feel very alone and that they are completely disempowered. The lone voice that is never heard.
It suits humans to be loved, to value love, to connect, to value connection.
It suits big business to have instant gratification as the predominant motivation circuit in the brain. It them suits big pharma who provide the drugs to stop addiction and addictive behaviours.
It simply passes down the chain.
Who do you think benefits from the breakdown in families and the trust within the family?
It is impertive that we protect our family units, however they are made up.
If you have had to start your own family unit as had to break free from abuse, neglect and trauma, that is still ok.
How are you going to build your unit? What are the values, what is important?
We need love from our people, we need to love them, especially the ones that are difficult to love.
Love is contagious, much like fear and hate are too.
Love is better for us, we age better, we heal quicker, we grow and develop faster, we laugh more, we enjoy more, we just thrive when in and around love.
Choose love not hate. It is really important to do so. Even when that hate is dressed up in social justice and fighting the good fight, it is still hate. It still generates disconnect, it still undervalues love.
It is really difficult to begin to love those we perceive as enemies, but we can do it, if we want to do it enough.
This is not about ‘giving in’ or being ‘weak’ this is about seeing what is happening to humans and wanting it to be different.
This is the greatest and most needed protest of all.
Protest for love, demonstrate love and expect to be loved.
Value it highly as it is the most precious of commodities, which is exactly why it is being dismissed and disregarded by the mainstream media as being of no consequence to success or status.
Being loved and loving others is the highest status we can strive for. Plus it is free and cannot be commoditised (although many have tried).
Choose to connect and choose to love.
Humanity depends on it.
“If you are not upset about humanity you do not know what humanity is.”