|Emotions and Feelings|
For Me Ness
Feelings of Caring
A caring affectionate nature is characteristic of only some humans and others are the opposite. There is a spectrum of animal and human affiliation that is manifest by body contact, grooming, licking and reassuring vocalizations. There is a strong innate basis to feelings of nurturance and affiliation. Humans learn specific expressions of social behavior from maternal nurturance and develop different levels of affectionate behavior through nature and nurture.
A caring child will treat other children, dolls and pets with affection and concern that suggest mothering instincts. Even children who are treated harshly will sometimes be affectionate and conversely some children who are treated well will be callous and punitive toward others from an early age. Children who lack close maternal contact in the first year will seldom develop an affectionate disposition and will have difficulty being empathetic toward others.
One might ask why a temperature metaphor is used to describe degrees of caring. A cold person lacks expressions of caring and a warm person is affectionate. Puppies and kittens in a litter sleep together, getting as close as possible to share warmth and feel safe. In the best case, humans have a similar experience of warmth and safety by snuggling up to friends and family members.Babies depend on mothers who care a lot about them and sacrifice personal interests and needs in favor of babies' needs. We speak of "mother's love" referring to the fascination of the mother with her child and the devotion she displays for the rest of her life. We refer to maternal feelings with words that describe a cluster of feeling states that appear when humans care about and care for each other. The root feeling is affection and the associated behaviors are grooming, feeding, protecting and sweet talk. Sweet talk is mostly prosodic utterances that are pleasing and reassuring but have little or no linguistic meaning.
The prototype of maternal love is breast-feeding an infant. The sucking infant’s instinct is to root for the nipple and suck milk from the mother’s breast. If the mother is available, patient and succulent, the infant thrives not only on the nutrients available in the milk, but also because of maternal contact. Mother’s warmth, her movements, her breathing, her heartbeat, her sounds and smells become incorporated in the deep memory of the infant and are never forgotten. There is a strong innate basis to feelings of nurturance and affiliation. Even children who are treated harshly will sometimes be affectionate and conversely some children who are treated well will be callous and punitive toward others from an early age. Children who lack close maternal contact in the first year will seldom develop an affectionate disposition and will have difficulty being empathetic toward others.
Men often feel affection toward their children and their lovers and can be gentle, caring and considerate. Men have rougher versions of affection for adult male friends and may embrace each other with loud noises and thumps of the back that would bruise or offend most women. Lovers will feel affection when their love is fresh and beautiful and will display nurturing behaviors toward each other. The female is more naturally maternal, but the male lover is capable of a full range of grooming, feeding and protecting behaviors. There are exceptions.
Emotions and Feelings