A few weeks ago I came across an article in the New York Times about a man and his love for his cat. It was surprisingly interesting despite the subject matter and reflected on bits of human nature that would be applicable to more than just ones relationship with their cat/pet.
From the article: “I’ve speculated that people have a certain reservoir of affection that they need to express, and in the absence of any more appropriate object – a child or a lover, a parent or a friend – they will lavish the same devotion on a pug or a manx or a cockatiel, even on something neorologically incapable of reciprocating that emotion, like a monitor lizard or a day trader or an aloe plant. Konrad Lorenz confirms this suspicion in his book “on aggression”, in which he describes how, in the absence of the appropriate triggering stimulus for an instinct, the threshold of the stimulus for that instinct is gradually lowered; for instance, a male dove deprived of female doves will attempt to initiate mating with a stuffed pigeon, a rolled up cloth or any vaguely bird-shaped object, and, eventually, with an empty corner of its cage.”
If, as the article says, that we have a “certain reservoir of affection” then is some of that affection ment for ourselves? For those of us that truely loath ourselves, does that mean we have an excess of love to give? Most (if not everyone) here are very caring and concerned for one another when “normal” people have not been so kind to us. Is this your love overflowing?
On the other hand I have also theorized that, because we are unable to love ourselves, we try to make others love us for us by being helpful and kind… maybe both are true. You have to give to receive and you can not give what you do not have to begin with.
Also from the same article: “I admit that loving a cat is a lot less complicated than loving a human being. Because animals can’t ruin our fantasies about them by talking, they’re even more susceptible to our projections than other humans. Though of course there’s a good deal of naked projection and self-delusion involved in loving other human beings, too.”
So then if we are projecting ourselves and what we want on other people and we love them and they love us back, does that mean we are, in a roundabout way, loving ourselves after all?