GOD, HUMANS, AND THE NEED FOR CONNECTION (PART 1 OF 5)
By Caralee Frederic, LCSW | Certified Gottman Therapist | Couples Workshop Presenter
What happens when human connection is lost? When we become overly concerned with virtual connections? How do we fight back against obsessive technology-use in our homes? This is part 1 of a 5-part series, “Love Touches: Being Human and In Tune; Why We Need Human Connections in an Increasingly High-Tech World.” The series concludes with my ATTUNE formula to help couples and families truly connect and form lasting, loving relationships.
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Love Touches: Hardwired, Divinely Inspired
Humans are hardwired for connection with other humans. The worldwide scientific research that supports this thesis is so prolific that I can’t even begin to cite it all. One that is especially interesting and relevant is a 2007 study published in Science magazine which found that infants who received meaningful human connections – consistent, long-term, endearing love from a parent figure – did much better than infants raised in institutions.
The study looked at healthy, parent-less infants and tracked what happened to those who were placed in foster families versus those who remained in institutional care.
Foster infants grew faster, had better brain development, and had higher IQs than infants who stayed in orphanages. Children taken from orphanages and randomized to foster care had half the rate of conditions like anxiety and depression compared to those who remained institutionalized.
About 52% of those who ever spent time in an orphanage developed some form of mental illness, compared to 22% of those without that experience.
A lack of love caused the body to physically, mentally and emotionally shut down.
Touch develops better humans, better societies
Bruce Perry, Ph.D., is a psychiatrist and author who wrote the book, “Born for Love; Why Empathy is Essential and Endangered.” Perry and co-author Maia Szalavitz assert that infants need nearly constant physical touch, rocking and cuddling, smiling and singing for the brain to stimulate normal physical, mental and emotional growth.
The authors further conclude that human connection develops our ability to empathize, which underlies the qualities that make our homes places for us to learn – such things as right from wrong, how to appropriately interact with others, and how to love and be loved. Our homes and families are the foundation of who we are and become, and it is through our homes and families that we can achieve our greatest joys.
And, researchers have found, the empathy we learn in our homes lead us to practice important societal values such as trust, altruism, collaboration and charity.
Likewise, common religious beliefs shared by many faiths help explain why connection is so vital to our lives. Regardless of your specific faith or belief system, most believe we were created and sent to earth by a Divine Being, where we live as families, to learn to love and be loved.
Being in a healthy, loving relationship – a relationship with successful bids* – is a central part of God’s plan of happiness for His children. Thus, it should not come as a surprise that we are hardwired spiritually as well as biologically with a deep-seated desire and need for familiar (family) human connections.
In Part 2 of this 5-part series, I discuss research on hand-holding and its effects on the human brain, as well as the effects of tech-caused disconnect.
*John Gottman, Ph.D, originally identified failed vs successful bids in his research on couple interactions. A failed bid is that moment when a person seeks the attention of their partner, and the partner does not respond or mis-responds. A successful bid is when a positive connection is made.
THE COMPLETE “LOVE TOUCHES” SERIES:
INTRO to Love Touches
If I Could Pinpoint One Thing That Breaks Up A Good Relationship
Love Touches: Hardwired, Divinely Inspired (Part 1 of 5)
God, Humans and the Need for Connection
Love Touches: The Soothing Touch (Part 2 of 5)
How Your Brain Responds to Touch vs. Tech
Love Touches: What is Real? (Part 3 of 5)
Technology and Fake Love
Love Touches: I SEE You (Part 4 of 5)
ATTUNE: Infuse Your Home with Love
Coming Soon: “Love Touches: Tech Stress” A blog article about couples in distress due to technology. If you or someone you know is dealing with “drift,” a virtual affair, or online pornography – be sure to watch for it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Caralee Frederic, LCSW, has practiced as a private couples and individual therapist in Colorado, specializing in marriage and family counseling, for almost 20 years. Founder of Principle Skills Relationship Center, Caralee is also a Certified Gottman Therapist, presenter of ‘The Art and Science of Love‘ couples workshop, and a Certified Sexual Addiction Recovery Therapist.