For most children before the age from eight and a half to ten, the problem is almost exclusively that of being loved—of being loved for what one is. The child up to this age does not yet love; he responds gratefully, joyfully to being loved. At this point of the child’s development a new factor enters into the picture: that of a new feeling of producing love by one’s own activity. For the first time, the child thinks of giving something to mother (or father), of producing something—a poem, a drawing, or whatever it may be. For the first time in the child’s life the idea of love is transformed from being loved into loving; into creating love. It takes many years from this first beginning to the maturing of love. Eventually the child, who may now be an adolescent, has overcome his egocentricity; the other person is not any more primarily a means of satisfaction of his own needs. The needs of the other person are as important as his own—in fact, they have become more important. To give has become more satisfactory, more joyous, than to receive; to love; more important even than being loved. By loving, he has left the prison cell of aloneness and isolation which was constituted by the state of narcissism and self-oneness. More than that, he feels the potency of producing love by loving—rather than the dependence of receiving by being loved—and for that reason having to be small, helpless, sick—or “good.” Infantile love follows the principle: “I love because I am loved.” Mature love follows the principle: "I am loved because I love.” Immature love says: “I love you because I need you.” Mature love says: “I need you because I love you.” - Erich Fromm
Let us go ahead and start with our first step, which is to recognize as Fromm explains, that love is an art just as living is an art; if we want to learn how to love we must proceed in the same way we have to proceed if we want to learn any other art, say music, painting, carpentry, or the art of medicine or engineering.
What are the necessary steps in learning any art?
The process of learning an art form can be divided conveniently into two parts: one, the mastery of the theory; the other, the mastery of the practice." Therefore, we are going to begin our study of this topic right here at the ground level.
Until the next post, remember, be loving to yourself and too your neighbor.