Receiver and Donor of Love??

Posted: December 8, 2014 in World On The Edge


bookcoverAll of us have a hunger within us to be loved and nurtured. The desire to be loved, as experiments have shown, is one of our most basic and fundamental needs. One of the forms that the need to be loved takes is contact comfort–we want to be held and touched. Findings show that babies who are deprived contact comfort, particularly during the first six months after they are born, grow up to be psychologically damaged.

Most of us believe that a significant determinant of our happiness is whether we feel loved and cared for. In conducted surveys, people rate “having healthy relationships” as one of their top goals—on par with the goal of “leading a happy and fulfilling life.”

In our pursuit of the need to be loved, however, most of us fail to recognize that we have a parallel need: the need to love and care for others. This desire, it turns out, is just as strong as the need to be loved and nurtured. The desire to love and care for others is  hard-wired and deep-seated because fulfillment of this desire enhances our happiness levels.

If the need to love is hardwired and universal and is also a powerful determinant of happiness, how come many of us aren’t aware of it? Why, for example, don’t we respond to the question, “What would make you most happy?” with “serving others” of “showering love on someone” than with “money” or “being loved”?

The answer, in my opinion, has to do with the messages to which we are routinely exposed from our care-takers and the media. These messages suggest to us that our happiness lies in being the recipient of others’ attention, love, and respect, rather than in being the donor of attention, love, and respect. For example, most of us are explicitly or implicitly told that happiness lies in achieving self-enhancing goals such as career success, wealth, fame, or power. The need to love and care for others, in contrast, is rarely emphasized, except perhaps in the arts. (summarized from Psychology Today)

My novel, A Hunger in the Heart, is about a boy who needs not only to be loved, but has a desperate need to love. Winston Groom described A Hunger in the Heart as “a story of hope, forgiveness, and redemption–a great read in the tradition of southern fiction.”  Mark Childress said, “Kaye Park Hinckley is a writer with a sensitive ear and a keenly developed sympathy for her characters.”

A Hunger in the Heart is available in Paperback, Kindle, and Hardcover. In this season of love, I think it would make a very special Christmas gift. I hope you’ll consider it. Just click on the cover shot above to order.

My interview with Brian Patrick of Sacred Heart Radio follows the novel’s promotional video!


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