In the 1950s and ‘60s, a sadistic social psychologist named Harry Harlow conducted a series of experiments on the role of love and nurturing on attachment and social belonging, using rhesus monkeys as his subjects.
Harlow took baby monkeys from their mothers shortly after birth and placed one monkey in a cage with a wire "monkey" and another in a cage with a wire "monkey" covered in terrycloth. Harlow’s theory was that infants did not develop attachments solely because they were provided food from their mothers (a theory common among behavioral psychologists), but because of the tactile comfort mothers provided their babies. After about 90 days, Harlow then placed the baby monkeys into the general monkey population, and watched their behavior.
This is the third blog post in my series “A Year Without Fear.” The theme of this blog series has generated a lot of talk, and a little bit of controversy. The comments went something like this:
“Can we really live completely without fear?” …“Should we even try to live without fear?” …“Can’t fear be a good thing, even though we don’t like it?” …“Isn’t it the fear that reminds us we’re all human?”
I suppose what I mean when I reference irrational fear is really the feeling of anxiety about things over which we have little control. When we’re anxious, we’re afraid—we may be afraid of being rejected, afraid of losing a loved one, afraid of losing our job, afraid of being found out in some way that makes us feel unlovable. We may feel afraid and anxious and have no idea of the cause.
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This is a blog for middle-aged women, like me, who want to live a life of increased authenticity, and greater well-being, with fewer masks and a lot more fun.