Psychology and our understanding of the human person will be enriched when we discover the new frontier of human understanding - the human spirit.
If you need to understand Psychology and want the most complete theoretical framework, then seek to understand the human spirit. For example, understanding the psychopath is much easier when you model of the person includes the human spirit.
The research on bonding and attachment has had many years to mature and go mainstream in Psychology. Attachment is helping us understand marriage, parenting, child development and pathology. Now add this to your understanding of human development; that the capacity to be nurtured is resident in the human spirit. The human spirit is our Love Bank. It is where we store love.
Bonding is produced by love and is essential to maintain a child’s ability to love. A child with good bonding has maintained and strengthened the capacity to love and to receive love. The Love Bank is open, growing and being filled with love. In other words the human spirit grows when it is nurtured with love.
A child without love begins to lose the capacity to trust love. The Love Bank begins to shut down. The Love Bank is not filling up with love. At this point, the growth of the human spirit is retarded.
Please no longer consider the human spirit as the realm of religious men. I encourage psychologists, researchers and therapists to use the language of human spirit. This is like a missing piece of the puzzle. With it many things start to fall into place.
Consider this summary :
The Human spirit is nurtured with love.
The human spirit is a love bank with the capacity to store love.
Only as the human spirit receives and stores love is it able to grows into maturity.
Only with good healthy bonding does the human spirit build and maintain the capacity to receive love.
Without healthy bonding the heart closes down and full capacity of the human spirit to store love diminishes. For times it can be fully blocked. At these times will seem to live in a state of dissociation from others. See Chapter 10 - the Lost Child.
As the human spirit stores love and grows into maturity we grow into emotional maturityl.
As we grow into emotional maturity then our capacity for empathy, intimacy and abstract thinking blossoms.
We are talking about cause and effect and that allows us to understand and predict behaviour, to plan treatment and remediation.
For example, as the human spirit grows so does our emotional maturity. If our human spirit withers away, we may never gain emotional maturity. That helps us understand personality disorders.
Therefore, when the growth of the human spirit is retarded so is emotional maturity. Retarded emotional maturity is characteristic of the psychopath. Narcissist, and Avoidantpersonality disorders.
Study child development and the stages of Piaget and you will find that a level of developmental maturity is reached in the teen years. Piaget observed that there is a qualitative change in how children think as they grow through his four stages to this final stage called ‘Formal Operations.’ We can now provide the intervening variable that explains Piaget’s observations - the maturation of the human spirit which is our emotional core.
If love and bonding resulted in healthy growth of the human spirit, then, at in the teen years, the emotional core, reaches maturity. Our ability to think in abstract terms begins. At the same time, our emotional capacity for empathy manifests. Our capacity to bond in love to someone outside our family opens up. The healthy human adult emerges. I have added emotional maturity into Piaget’s stage of Formal Operations and explained all of it
What functions does the mature human spirit have within each of us?
Here is some more answers to that question:
To seek and find God
To connect with others and make connections
To receive love and hold on to it
To give love to others
Imagination and creativity
Sees and enjoys beauty
Receives warnings, guidance and wisdom from God
Discerns the nature of other people
Provides intuition for our ‘gut reactions’
Is the source of human innovation like a Tesla
To enter the flow of life from the divine, through you and to others
To receive gifts from the Holy Spirit
The Sources of Nurture for the Human Spirit
Although, nurture for our spirit comes ultimately from God, at most times it must be mediated through our experiences with life and with people. We must experience love on the human and physical plane. God as the Source of all life radiates love through others. Others experience God’s love flowing through us.
We can be cut off from nurture by others who shun us, isolate us and who are unable to love. We can cut off nurture by isolating ourselves from others, cutting off from them, resenting them and not forgiving them.
Clearly loneliness, social isolation being cut off from human relationships is depressing whether it is done to us or we do it to others. For we often cut ourselves off from nurture by our own actions, thinking, and failures to love others.
Depression and Nurture of the Human Spirit
Lets try thinking about depression in relation to our Inner Child’s need for love and the human spirit’s need for loving bonding. Let us consider the human spirit to need nurture like any living thing needs food and water.
Let us consider depression the result of being cut off from nurture, that depression is the condition of our human spirit when it is not receiving enough nurture. Think of what happens to a house plant when you neglect watering for several weeks. It withers.
Then we need to consider that what causes us to be cut off from nurture make an external cause or internal. Internal causes means that we cut ourselves off from nurture.
My Story About this Learning to receive compliments was one small thing that made a big leap forward in my life. During an Assertiveness the instructor told us not discounting praise. He said we should simply say thank you. I believe that this one small change in my life pattern made a big difference in lifting depression and increasing confidence. By saying thank you I now accepted compliments and affirmation of others and allowed them to nurture my spirit. I also listened and considered the importance of what they said knowing that God might be encouraging some skill or talent in my life. I wrote articles for the local paper in Athabasca, Alberta. People spoke well of my writing and encourage the thought that I might be a good writer. By listening to these comments and letting them sink into my heart I was letting people make a big difference in my life; consider new possibilities. Accepting the positive encouraged gifts that I was not aware of and reduced depression in my life.
We will note that depression is what we feel when we experience no love and feel no joy. Depression is what it feels like to run out of life energy. To ‘run on empty.’ When love and life no longer flows freely to our spirit it like a candle flickering out or a like a battery running down.
Consider the importance of close relationships such as marriage. We leave mother and father and cling to our wife. Marriage is about bonding such that a our spirit is nurtured. Therefore, marriage is a life line to our inner being and bringing love to our Inner Child. For health in our emotional core it is important that our marriage is a life-giving relationship.
For men, therefore it is good to life by, ‘Happy wife; happy life.’
That is why a distant husband is so devastating to a wife. She really feels it as a life and death issue.
Once we know that depression is a condition of our human spirit and that it is one indication that we are not receiving enough nurture, we are better able to plan our life so as to avoid or reduce depression. We will talk about this kind of planning in the next chapter, “Healing of Depression.”