Capacity to Love and Attraction...it seems to me these are the two separate things. My son’s 18 month relationship started based on a mutual attraction, but could not sustain itself on that for very long—eventually, the vast difference in CTL became painfully obvious and eventually led to a break up.
At first, I thought the researchers may be trying to measure degrees of *compassion*, although compassion isn’t really what a child feels toward a parent, so that’s not quite right... The way researchers have framed this study implies that we each have a unique but finite ability (capacity) to love. That sort of changes the way we might judge one another, doesn’t it?
I have four adult children. They each appear to have different capacities to love. I am puzzled by the one who seems to have very little capacity - I’ll call that person Les for purposes of discussion. The nurturing through childhood was similar for each child, and yet Les seems not to have developed a degree of capacity that siblings did. That’s a challenge for all of us, including Les. Siblings interpret the absence of capacity as selfishness, or ‘being spoiled,” but upon closer examination, that’s not quite right. Les is not exactly selfish—it seems more like Les doesn’t have the same “compassion- bandwidth” as the others. Interestingly, Les has chosen a very intellectually demanding career field where incidentally, low CTL may actually be a personal advantage.
IMHO, Les’ spouse is similarly limited in CTL. This makes it easier for them to understand each other and agree on priorities, but it has a deep impact on their child, who seems to have an inordinately large CTL. I wonder how the parents’ limited capacity to love will impact the child’s development. Other family members with a larger capacity to love are innately aware of this inconguence and can’t help but step in and compensate whenever there is an opportunity.
I guess one of the reasons why I am so intrigued by this idea of *capacity* is because it undermines our human inclination to judge. It gets me past my tendency to criticize/condemn someone and changes my perspective. It is easier to understand Les and move past my knee-jerk frustration regarding that one shortcoming, and again see Les as a whole person with a whole host of strengths and weaknesses. When CTL is isolated as a quantifiable aspect of personality, it becomes easier for us to understand one another instead of judge one another. The ultimate challenge, I suppose, is for those with a low CTL to develop a self-awareness and come to terms with the consequences.
Richard, thanks for engaging in this discussion. Your thoughts have spurred me to think more deeply about this topic. I really appreciate your input.