All about love bell hooks pdf

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THE ACCLAIMED FIRST VOLUME IN HER "LOVE SONG TO THE NATION"“The word 'love' is most often defined as a noun, yet we would all love better if we. All About Love - bell hooks - Free ebook download as PDF File .pdf) or read book online for free. What's Love Got To Do With It. All About Love: New Visions is the first book of bell hooks's love trilogy which was written in In this, hooks offers a blueprint.

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1)1'1/ hooks's. all about love "It is a warm affirm ation th at lo ve is possible and an attack on the cul ture of narcissism and sel fish ness. ". -New Yo rk Times Book . raise lor 1)1'1/ hooks's all about love "It is a warm affirm ation that love is possible and an attack on the DOWNLOAD FULL PDF EBOOK here { y8nn3gmc } Al! about love: new visions I Bell Hooks p. em. "All About Loue: New Visiolls promises to be one of the most engag- Al! about love: new visions I Bell Hooks p. em. ISBN 1. Love. 2. Feminist.

Many examples of the support females receive for lying concern the desire to mate and bear children. Sort order. With the boldness of any con artist working the capitalist addiction to fantasy, she attempts to rewrite the script of their consensual exchange of pleasure so that it can appear to be a love story. Visionary and original, hooks shows how love heals the wounds we bear as individuals and as a nation, for it is the cornerstone of compassion and forgiveness and holds the power to overcome shame. Ultimately, cynicism is the great mask of the disap- pointed and betrayed heart.

We also accept that our actions have consequences. To think of actions shaping feelings is one way we rid our- selves of conventionally accepted assumptions such as that parents love their children, or that one simply "falls" in love without exercising will or choice, that there are such things as "crimes of passion," i. If we were constantly remembering that love is as love does, we would not use the word in a manner that devalues and degrades its meaning.

When we are loving we openly and honestly express care, affection, responsibility, respect, commitment, and trust. Definitions are vital starting points for the imagination. What we cannot imagine cannot come into being. A good definition marks our starting point and lets us know where we want to end up. As we move toward our desired des- tination we chart the journey, creating a map. We need a map to guide us on our journey to love-starting with the place where we know what we mean when we speak of love.

The [parent-child] bond which teaches us that we are lovable. The [parent-child] bond which teaches us how to love. We cannot be whole human beings- indeed, we may find it hard to be human- without the sustenance of this first attachment. Wheth" our homes are happy or troubled, our families functional or dysfunctional, it's the original school of love.

I cannot remember ever wanting to ask my parents to define love. To my child's mind love was the good feeling you got when family treated you like you mattered and you treated them like they mattered. Love was always and only about good feeling. In early adolescence when we were whipped and told that these punishments were "for our own good" or "I'm doing this because I love you," my siblings and I were confused. Why was harsh punishment a gesture of love? As children do, we pretended to accept this grown- up logic; but we knew in our hearts it was not right.

We knew it was a lie.

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Just like the lie the grown-ups told when they explained after harsh punishment, "It hurts me more than it hurts you. Such children learn early on to question the meaning of love, to yearn for love even as they doubt it exists.

All About Love: New Visions

On the flip side there are masses of children who grow up confident love is a good feeling who are never pun- ished, who are allowed to believe that love is only about getting your needs met, your desires satisfied.

In their child's minds love is not about what they have to give, love is mostly something given to them. When children like these are overindulged either materially or by being allowed to act out, this is a form of neglect.

These chil- dren, though not in any way abused or uncared for, are usually as unclear about love's meaning as their neglected and emotionally abandoned counterparts.

Both groups have learned to think about love primarily in relation to good feelings, in the context of reward and punishment. From early childhood on, most of us remember being told we were loved when we did things pleasing to our parents. And we learned to give them affirmations of love when they pleased us. As children grow they associate love more with acts of attention, affection, and caring.

They still see parents who attempt to satisfy their desires as giving love. Children from all classes tell me that they love their parents and are loved by them, even those who are being hurt or abused. When asked to define love, small children pretty much agree that it's a good feeling, "like when you I 8 They will say, "My mommy loves me 'cause she takes care of me and helps me do everything right.

The no- tion that love is about getting what one wants, whether it's a hug or a new sweater or a trip to Disneyland, is a way of thinking about love that makes it difficult for chil- dren to acquire a deeper emotional understanding. We like to imagine that most children will be born into homes where they will be loved. But love will not be pres- ent if the grown-ups who parent do not how to love. Al- though lots of children are raised in homes where they are given some degree of care, love may not be sustained or even present.

Adults across lines of class, race, and gender indict the family. Their testimony conveys worlds of child- hood where love was lacking-where chaos, neglect, abuse, and coercion reigned supreme. In her recent book Raised in Captivity: Every day thousands of children in our culture are verbally and physically abused, starved, tortured, and murdered. They are the true victims of intimate terrorism in that they have no collective voice and no rights. They remain the property of parenting adults to do with as they will.

There can be no love without justice. Until we live in a I 9 In our culture the private family dwelling is the one institu- tionalized sphere of power that can easily be autocratic and fascistic. As absolute rulers, parents can usually decide without any intervention what is best for their children. If children's rights are taken away in any domestic house- hold, they have no legal recourse.

Unlike women who can organize to protest sexist domination, demanding both equal rights and justice, children can only rely on well- meaning adults to assist them if they are being exploited and oppressed in the home. We all know that, irrespective of class or race, other adults rarely intervene to question or challenge what their peers are doing with "their" children. At a fun party, mostly of educated, well-paid profes- sionals, a multiracial, multigenerational evening, the sub- ject of disciplining kids by hitting was raised.

Almost all the guests over thirty spoke about the necessity of using physical punishment. Many of us in the room had been smacked, whipped, or beaten as children. Men spoke the loudest in defense of physical punishment.

Women, mostly mothers, talked about hitting as a last resort, but one that they deployed when necessary. As one man bragged about the aggressive beatings he had received from his mother, sharing that "they had been good for him," I interrupted and suggested that he might 2 0 Although it is too simplistic to assume that just because we are hit as kids we will grow up to be people who hit, I wanted the group to acknowledge that being physically hurt or abused by grown-ups when we are children has harmful consequences in our adult life.

A young professional, the mother of a small boy, bragged about the fact that she did not hit, that when her son misbehaved she clamped down on his flesh, pinching him until he got the message. But this, too, is a form of coercive abuse. The other guests supported this young mother and her husband in their methods. I was astounded. I was a lone voice speaking out for the rights of children. Later, with other people, I suggested that had we all been listening to a man tell us that every time his wife or girlfriend does something he does not like he just clamps down on her flesh, pinching her as hard as he can, every- one would have been appalled.

They would have seen the action as both coercive and abusive. Yet they could not acknowledge that it was wrong for an adult to hurt a child in this way. All the parents in that room claim that they are loving. All the people in that room were college edu- cated.

Most call themselves good liberals, supportive of civil rights and feminism. But when it came to the rights of children they had a different standard. BOUT L OVE One of the most important social myths we must de- bunk if we are to become a more loving culture is the one that teaches parents that abuse and neglect can coexist with love. Abuse and neglect negate love.

Care and affir- mation, the opposite of abuse and humiliation, are the foundation of love. No one can rightfully claim to be lov- ing when behaving abusively. Yet parents do this all the time in our culture. Children are told that they are loved even though they are being abused.

It is a testimony to the failure of loving practice that abuse is happening in the first place. Many of the men who offer their personal testimony in Boyhood, Growing Up Male tell stories of random violent abuse by parents that inflicted trauma.

By physically hitting my mother and me, he effectively stopped us from reacting to his humiliation of us. We ceased to protest his violations of our boundaries and his ignoring our sense of being individuals with needs, de- mands and rights of our own.

On the one hand, he says: He said he wanted to give me what he didn't have as a child. All his life he had struggled with feelings of being unloved. However, his dad did not know how to give and receive love. The affection he gave was undermined by the abuse. Writing from the space of adult recollection, Shelby talks about the impact of physical abuse on his boyhood psyche: I realized what hurt me the most were my feelings of love for this man who was hit- ting me.

I covered my love with a dark cloth of hate. One of the myths about lovelessness is that it exists only among the poor and deprived. Yet lovelessness is not a function of poverty or material lack. In homes where material privileges abound, children suffer emotional neglect and abuse.

In order to cope with the pain of wounds inflicted in child- hood, most of the men in Boyhood sought some form of therapeutic care. To find their way back to love they had to heal. Many men in our culture never recover from childhood unkindnesses. Studies show that males and females who are violently humiliated and abused repeatedly, with no caring intervention, are likely to be dysfunctional and will 2 3 Writings rom Death Row, a chapter called "Scars" recounts his recognition that a vast majority of the scars covering the bodies of fellow inmates not all of whom were on death row were not, as one might think, the result of violent adult inter- actions.

These men were covered with scars from child- hood beatings inflicted by parenting adults. Yet, he reports, none of them saw themselves as the victims of abuse: Not until I read a series of books for adults who had been abused as children did I become committed to the process of examining my own childhood. And I explained how all these events ultimately trapped me in a pattern of lashing out against everything. The other inmates do not understand this longing, since she neglected and abused him.

He responds: And he can honestly confess to long- ing to give and receive love. Being hurt by parenting adults rarely alters a child's desire to love and be loved by them. Among grown-ups who were wounded in childhood, the desire to be loved by uncaring parents persists, even when there is a clear acceptance of the reality that this love will never be forthcoming. Often, children will want to remain with parental care- givers who have hurt them because of their cathected feel- ings for those adults.

They will cling to the misguided assumption that their parents love them even in the face of remembered abuse, usually by denying the abuse and focusing on random acts of care.

In the prologue to Creating Love, John Bradshaw calls this confusion about love "mystification. You naturally loved anyone in your family. Love was not a choice. The love I learned about was bound by duty and obligation. My family taught me our culture's rules and beliefs about love.

In a society like ours, where children are denied full civil 2 5 Setting boundaries and teaching children how to set boundaries for themselves prior to misbehavior is an essential part of loving parent- ing. When parents start out disciplining children by using punishment, this becomes the pattern children respond to.

Loving parents work hard to discipline without punish- ment. This does not mean that they never punish, only that when they do punish, they choose punishments like time-outs or the taking away of privileges. They focus on teaching children how to be self-disciplining and how to take responsibility for their actions. Since the vast majority of us were raised in households where punishment was deemed the primary, if not the only, way to teach disci- pline, the fact that discipline can be taught without pun- ishment surprises many people.

One of the simplest ways children learn discipline is by learning how to be orderly in daily life, to clean up any messes they make. Just teach- ing a child to take responsibility for placing toys in the appropriate place after playtime is one way to teach re- sponsibility and self-discipline. Learning to clean up the mess made during playtime helps a child learn to be re- sponsible. And they can learn from this practical act how to cope with emotional mess.

C HIl. ESSONS Television shows oriented toward families often favorably represent children when they are overindulged, are disre- spectful, or are acting out. Often they behave in a more adult manner than the parents.

What we see on television today actually, at best, models for us inappropriate be- havior, and in worst-case scenarios, unloving behaviors. A great example of this is a movie like Home Alone, which celebrates disobedience and violence.

But television can portray caring, loving family interaction. There are whole generations of adults who talk nostalgically about how they wanted their families to be like the fictive portraits of family life portrayed on Leave It to Beaver or My Three Sons. We desired our families to be like those we saw on the screen because we were witnessing loving parenting, loving households. Expressing to parents our desire to have families like the ones we saw on the screen, we were often told that the families were not realistic.

The reality was, however, that parents who come from unloving homes have never learned how to love and cannot create loving home environments or see them as realistic when watching them on television.

The reality they are most familiar with and trust is the one they knew intimately. There was nothing utopian about the way problems were resolved on these shows. Parent and child discussion, critical reflection, and finding a way to make amends was usually the process by which misbehavior was addressed.

On both shows there was never just one parenting figure.

In a loving household where there are several parental caregivers, when a child feels one parent is being unjust that child can appeal to another adult for mediation, understanding, or support. We live in a society where there are a growing number of single parents, female and male. But the indi- vidual parent can always choose a friend to be another parenting figure, however limited their interaction. This is why the categories of godmother and godfather are so cru- cial.

When my best girlhood friend chose to have a child without a father in the household, I became the god- mother, a second parenting figure. My friend's daughter turns to me to intervene if there is a misunderstanding or miscommunication between her and her mom. Here's one small example. My adult friend had never received an allowance as a child and did not feel she had the available extra money to offer an allow- ance to her daughter.

She also believed her daughter would use all the money to buy sweets. Telling me that her daughter was angry with her over this issue, she opened up the space for us to have a dialogue. I shared my belief that allowances are important ways to teach children discipline, boundaries, and working through de- sires versus needs. I knew enough about my friend's fi- nances to challenge her insistence that she could not afford to pay a small allowance, while simultaneously encour- 2 8 As to whether the daughter would buy candy, I suggested she give the allowance with a statement of hope that it would not be used for overindulgence and see what happened.

It all worked out just fine. Happy to have an allowance, the daughter chose to save her money to buy things she thought were really important. And candy was not on this list. Had there not been another adult parenting figure involved, it might have taken these two a longer time to resolve their conflict, and unnecessary estrangement and wounding might have occurred.

Significantly, love and re- spectful interaction between two adults exemplified for the daughter who was told about the discussion ways of problem solving. By revealing her willingness to accept criticism and her capacity to reflect on her behavior and change, the mother modeled for her daughter, without los- ing dignity or authority, the recognition that parents are not always right.

Until we begin to see loving parenting in all walks of life in our culture, many people will continue to believe we can only teach discipline through punishment, and that harsh punishment is an acceptable way to relate to chil- dren. Because children can innately offer affection or re- spond to affectionate care by returning it, it is often assumed that they know how to love and therefore do not need to learn the art of loving.

While the will to love is 2 9 Grown-ups provide that guidance. Love is as love does, and it is our responsibility to give children love. When we love children we acknowledge by our every action that they are not property, that they have rights- that we respect and uphold their rights. Without justice there can be no love. BE TRUE TO LOVE When we reveal ourselves to our partner and find that this brings healing rather than harm, we make an im- portant discovery-that intimate relationship can provide a sanctuary from the world of facades, a sa- cred space where we can be ourselves, as we are..

This kind of unmasking-speaking our truth, sharing our inner struggles, and revealing our raw edges- is sacred activity, which allows two souls to meet and touch more deeply.

ITIS NO acc,dent that when we first learn about jus- tice and fair playas children it is usually in a context where the issue is one of telling the truth. The heart of justice is truth telling, seeing ourselves and the world the way it is rather than the way we want it to be. In recent years sociologists and psychologists have documented the fact that we live in a nation where people are lying more and more each day.

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Philosopher Sissela Bok's book Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life was among the first works to call attention to the grave extent to which lying has become accepted and commonplace in our daily interactions. In The Dance of Decep- tion, Harriet Lerner, another widely read psychotherapist, calls attention to the way in which women are encouraged by sexist socialization to pretend and manipulate, to lie as a way to please.

Lerner outlines the various ways in which 3 3 L All n U T LOVF constant pretense and lying alienate women from their true feelings, how it leads to depression and loss of self- awareness. Lies are told about the most insignificant aspects of daily life. When many of us are asked basic questions, like How are you today? Much of the lying people do in everyday life is done either to avoid conf1ict or to spare someone's feelings. Hence, if you are asked to come to dinner with someone whom you do not particularly like, you do not tell the truth or simply decline, you make up a story.

You tell a lie. In such a situation it should he appropriate to simply decline if stat- ing one's reasons for declining might unnecessarily hurt someone. Lots of people learn how to lie in childhood. Usually they begin to lie to avoid punishment or to avoid disap- pointing or hurting an adult.

Hmv many of us can vividly recall childhood moments where we courageously prac- ticed the honesty we had been taught to value by our par- ents, only to find that they did not really mean for us to tell the truth all the time. In far too many cases children are punished in circumstances where they respond with honesty to a question posed by an adult authority figure. It is impressed on their consciousness early on, then, that telling the truth will cause pain.

And so they learn that lying is a way to avoid being hurt and hurting others. Lots of children are confused by the insistence that they 3 4 As they mature they begin to see how often grown-ups lie.

They begin to see that few peo- ple around them tell the truth. I was raised in a world where children were taught to tell the truth, but it did not take long for us to figure out that adults did not practice what they preached. Among my siblings, those who learned how to tell polite lies or say what grown-ups wanted to hear were always more popular and more re- warded than those of us who told the truth.

Among any group of kids it is never clear why some quickly learn the fine art of dissimulation that is, taking on whatever appearance is needed to manipulate a situa- tion while others find it hard to mask true feeling.

Since pretense is such an expected aspect of childhood play, it is a perfect context for mastering the art of dissimulation. Concealing the truth is often a fun part of childhood play, yet when it becomes a common practice it is a dangerous prelude to lying all the time. Sometimes children are fascinated by lying because they see the power it gives them over adults.

A little girl goes to school and tells her teacher she is adopted, knowing all the while that this is not true. She revels in the attention received, both the sympathy and the under- standing offered as well as the frustration and anger of her parents when the teacher calls to talk about this newly discovered information. A friend of mine who lies a lot 3 5 When I was her age I was frightened by lies.

They con- fused me and they created confusion. Other kids poked fun at me because I was not good at lying. In the one truly violent episode between my mother and father, he accused her of lying to him. Then there was the night an older sister lied and said she was baby-sitting when she was actually out on a date. As he hit her, our father kept yell- ing, "Don't you lie to me!

His favorite way of lying was withholding.

All About Love - bell hooks

His motto was "just remain silent" when asked questions, then you will not get "caught in a lie. Sexual Arrangements and Human Malaise, she shares the insight that when a little boy learns that his powerful mother, who controls his life, really has no power within a patriarchy, it confuses him and causes rage. Lying becomes one of the strategic ways he can "act out" and render his mother powerless. Lying enables him to manipulate the mother even as he exposes her lack of power.

This makes him feel more powerful. In her work Harriet Lerner talks about the way in which patriarchy upholds deception, encouraging women to present a false self to men and vice versa. In Dory Hollander's Lies Men Tell Women, she confirms that while both women and men lie, her data and the findings of other researchers indicate that "men tend to lie more and with more devastating consequences.

Lots of men shared with me that it was difficult for them to tell the truth if they saw that it would hurt a loved one. Significantly, the lying many boys learn to do to avoid hurting Mom or whomever becomes so habitual that it becomes hard for them to distinguish a lie from the truth.

This behavior carries over into adult- hood. Often, men who would never think of lying in the work- place lie constantly in intimate relationships. This seems to be especially the case for heterosexual men who see women as gullible.

Many men confess that they lie because they can get away with it; their lies are forgiven.

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To un- derstand why male lying is more accepted in our lives we have to understand the way in which power and privilege are accorded men simply because they are males within a patriarchal culture. The very concept of "being a man" 3 7 UVF and a "real man " has always implied that when necessary men can take action that breaks the rules, that is above the law.

Patriarchy tells us daily through movies, televi- sion, and magazines that men of power can do whatever they want, that it's this freedom that makes them men. The message given males is that to be honest is to be "soft. John Stoltenberg's book The End of Manhood: A Book for Men of Conscience analyzes the extent to which the masculine identity offered men as the ideal in patriarchal culture is one that requires all males to invent and invest in a false self.

From the moment little boys are taught they should not cry or express hurt, feelings of loneliness, or pain, that they must be tough, they are learning how to mask true feelings.

In worst-case scenarios they are learn- ing how to not feel anything ever. These lessons are usu- ally taught to males by other males and sexist mothers. Even boys raised in the most progressive, loving house- holds, where parents encourage them to express emotions, learn a different understanding about masculinity and feel- ings on the playground, in the classroom, playing sports, or watching television.

They may end up choosing patri- archal masculinity to be accepted by other boys and af- firmed by male authority figures. In his important work Rediscovering Masculinity, 3 8 V L Victor Seidler stresses: We learn to 'master' language so that we can control the world around us. Even though we learn to blame others for our unhappiness and misery in relationships we also know at some unspoken level how our masculinity has been limited and injured as we touch the hurt and pain of realizing how little we seem to feel about anything.

This inability to connect with others carries with it an inability to assume responsibility for causing pain. This denial is most evident in cases where men seek to justify extreme violence toward those less powerful, usually women, by suggesting they are the ones who are really victimized by females. Regardless of the intensity of the male masquerade, in- wardly many men see themselves as the victims of love- lessness.

Like everyone, they learned as children to believe that love would be present in their lives. Although so many boys are taught to behave as though love does not matter, in their hearts they yearn for it.

That yearning does not go away simply because they become men. Lying, as one form of acting out, is a way they articulate ongoing rage at the failure of love's promise. To embrace patriar- chy, they must actively surrender the longing to love.

V E Patriarchal masculinity requires of boys and men not only that they see themselves as more powerful and su- perior to women but that they do whatever it takes to maintain their controlling position. This is one of the rea- sons men, more so than women, use lying as a means of gaining power in relationships.

A commonly accepted as- sumption in a patriarchal culture is that love can be pres- ent in a situation where one group or individual dominates another. Many people believe men can dominate women and children yet still be loving. Psychoanalyst Carl Jung insightfully emphasized the truism that "where the will to power is paramount love will be lacking.

I TIS NO accident that greater cultural acceptance of ly- ing in this society coincided with women gaining greater social equality. Early on in the feminist movement women insisted that men had the upper hand, because they usually controlled the finances.

Now that women's earning power has greatly increased though it is not on a par with men's , and women are more economically independent, men who want to maintain dominance must deploy sub- tler strategies to colonize and disempower them. Even the 4 0 T 0 L U V E wealthiest professional woman can be "brought down" by being in a relationship where she longs to be loved and is consistently lied to.

To the degree that she trusts her male companion, lying and other forms of betrayal will most likely shatter her self-confidence and self-esteem. Allegiance to male domination requires of men who em- brace this thinking and many, if not most, do that they maintain dominance over women "by any means neces- sary. This is a socially acceptable form of coercion. And lying is one of the most powerful weapons in this arsenal.

When men lie to women, presenting a false self, the terrible price they pay to maintain "power over" us is the loss of their ca- pacity to give and receive Jove. Trust is the foundation of intimacy. When lies erode trust, genuine connection cannot take place.

All About Love - bell hooks

While men who dominate others can and do ex- perience ongoing care, they place a barrier between them- selves and the experience of love. All visionary male thinkers challenging male domina- tion insist that men can return to love only by repudiating the will to dominate.

In The End of Manhood, Stoltenberg continually emphasizes that men can honor their own self- hood only through loving justice. He asserts: V E people can have. When a man has decided to love manhood more than justice, there are predictable consequences in all his relationships with women. Learning to live as a man of conscience means deciding that your loyalty to the peo- ple whom you love is always more important than what- ever lingering loyalty you may sometimes feel to other men's judgment on your manhood.

Since the values and behavior of men are usually the standards by which everyone in our culture determines what is acceptable, it is important to understand that con- doning lying is an essential component of patriarchal thinking for everyone. Men are by no means the only group who use lies as a way of gaining power over others.

Indeed, if patriarchal masculinity estranges men from their selfhood, it is equally true that women who embrace pa- triarchal femininity, the insistence that females should act as though they are weak, incapable of rational thought, 4 2 This is one of the primary themes in Lerner's The Dance of Deception.

With shrewd insight she calls women to ac- count for our participation in structures of pretense and lies-particularly within family life. Women are often comfortable lying to men in order to manipulate them to give us things we feel we want or deserve. We may lie to bolster a male's self-esteem. These lies may take the form of pretending to feel emotions we do not feel to pretending levels of emotional vulnerability and neediness that are false.

Heterosexual women are often schooled by other women in the art of lying to men as a way to manipulate. Many examples of the support females receive for lying concern the desire to mate and bear children.

When I longed to have a baby and my male partner at the time was not ready, I was stunned by the number of women who en- couraged me to disregard his feelings, to go ahead without telling him.

They felt it was fine to deny a child the right to be desired by both female and male biological parents. No deception is involved when a woman has a child with a sperm donor, as in such a case there is no visible male parent to reject or punish an unwanted child. It disturbed me that women I respected did not take the need for male parenting seriously or believe that it was as important for a man to want to parent as a woman.

Whether we like it or not we still live in a world where children want to 4 3 I could not imagine bringing a child into this world whose father might reject him or her because he did not desire a child in the first place. Growing up in the fifties, in the days before adequate birth control, every female was acutely conscious of the way unwanted pregnancies could alter the course of a young woman's life. Still, it was clear then that there were girls who hoped for pregnancy to emotionally bind indi- vidual males to them forever.

I thought those days were long gone. Yet even in this era of social equality between the sexes I hear stories of females choosing to get pregnant when a relationship is rocky as a way of forcing the male to remain in their life or in the hope of forcing marriage.

More than we might think, some men feel extremely bound to a woman when she gives birth to a child they have fathered.

The fact that men succumb to being lied to and manipulated when the issue is biological parenting does not make it right or just. Men who accept being lied to and manipulated are not only abdicating their power, they are setting up a situation where they can "blame" women or justify woman-hating. This is another case where lying is used to gain power over someone, to hold them against their will.

Harriet Ler- ner reminds readers that honesty is only one aspect of truth telling-that it is equated with "moral excellence: OVF an absence of deception or fraud. However, when women lie we lend credence to age-old sexist stereotypes that suggest women are inher- ently, by virtue of being female, less capable of truth tell- ing.

The origins of this sexist stereotype extend back to ancient stories of Adam and Eve, of Eve's willingness to lie even to God. Often, when information is withheld by women and men, protection of privacy is the justification. In our cul- ture privacy is often confused with secrecy. Open, honest, truth-telling individuals value privacy.

We all need spaces where we can be alone with thoughts and feelings-where we can experience healthy psychological autonomy and can choose to share when we want to. Keeping secrets is usually about power, about hiding and concealing infor- mation. Hence, many recovery programs stress that "you are only as sick as your secrets. If she didn't, I would.

I felt that keeping this information a secret from him would violate the commitment we had made as a cou- ple to be open and honest with each other. By withholding this information from him, joining his mother and sisters, I would have been participating in family dysfunction. While privacy strengthens all our bonds, secrecy weak- ens and damages connection.

Lerner points out that we do not usually "know the emotional costs of keeping a secret" until the truth is disclosed. Usually, secrecy in- volves lying. And lying is always the setting for potential betrayal and violation of trust.

Widespread cultural acceptance of lying is a primary rea- son many of us will never know love. It is impossible to nurture one's own or another's spiritual growth when the core of one's being and identity is shrouded in secrecy and lies. Trusting that another person always intends your good, having a core foundation of loving practice, cannot exist within a context of deception.

It is this truism that makes all acts of judicious withholding major moral dilem- mas. More than ever before we, as a society, need to renew a commitment to truth telling. Such a commitment is diffi- cult when lying is deemed more acceptable than telling the truth. Lying has become so much the accepted norm that people lie even when it would be simpler to tell the truth.

Practically every mental health care practictioner, from the most erudite psychoanalysts to untrained self-help gu- rus, tell us that it is infinitely more fulfilling and we are all saner if we tell the truth, yet most of us are not rushing to stand up and be counted among the truth tellers. If a friend gives me a gift and asks me to tell him or her whether or not I like it, I will respond honestly and judiciously; that is to say, I will speak the truth in a positive, caring manner.

Yet even in this situa- tion, the person who asks for honesty will often express annoyance when given a truthful response. In today's world we are taught to fear the truth, to be- lieve it always hurts. We are encouraged to see honest people as naive, as potential losers.

Bombarded with cul- tural propaganda ready to instill in all of us the notion that lies are more important, that truth does not matter, we are all potential victims. Consumer culture in particu- lar encourages lies. Advertising is one of the cultural me- diums that has most sanctioned lying. Keeping people in a constant state of lack, in perpetual desire, strengthens the marketplace economy. Lovelessness is a boon to con- sumerism. And lies strengthen the world of predatory ad- vertising.

Our passive acceptance of lies in public life, particularly via the mass media, upholds and perpetuates lying in our private lives. In our public life there would be nothing for tabloid journalism to expose if we lived our lives out in the open, committed to truth telling. Com- mitment to knowing love can protect us by keeping LlS 4 7 To know love we have to tell the truth to ourselves and to others.

Creating a false self to mask fears and insecur- ities has become so common that many of us forget who we are and what we feel underneath the pretense. Break- ing through this denial is always the first step in uncov- ering our longing to be honest and clear.

Lies and secrets burden us and cause stress. When an individual has always lied, he has no awareness that truth telling can take away this heavy burden. To know this he must let the lies go. When feminism first began, women talked openly about our desires to know men better, to love them for who they really are.

We talked about our desires to be loved for who we really are i. And we urged men to be true to themselves, to express themselves. Then when men began to share their thoughts and feelings, some women could not cope. They wanted the old lies and pretenses to be back in place. In the seventies, a popular Sylvia greeting card showed a woman seated in front of a fortune-teller gazing into a crystal ball.

The caption on the front of the card read: And at 2: TRUL [0 r. OVF will be sorry. It is harder to be manipulative. At times women find it difficult to hear what many men have to say when what they tell us does not conform to our fantasies of who they are or who we want them to be. The wounded child inside many males is a boy who, when he first spoke his truths, was silenced by paternal sadism, by a patriarchal world that did not want him to claim his true feelings.

The wounded child inside many females is a girl who was taught from early childhood on that she must become something other than herself, deny her true feelings, in order to attract and please others.

When men and women punish each other for truth telling we reinforce the notion that lies are better. To be loving we wiliingiy hear each other's truth and, most im- portant, we affirm the value of truth telling. Lies may make people feel better, but they do not help them to know love.

Anyone who is truly concerned for the spiritual growth of another knows, consciously or in- stinctively, that he or she can significantly foster that growth only through a relationship of constancy. When we can see ourselves as we truly are and accept ourselves, we build the necessary foundation for self-love.

We have all heard the maxim "If you do not love yourself, you will be unable to love anyone else.

About love pdf all bell hooks

Yet more often than not we feel some degree of confusion when we hear this statement. The confusion arises because most people who think they are not lovable have this perception because at some point in their lives they were socialized to see themselves as unlovable by forces outside their control. We are not born knowing how to love anyone, either ourselves or somebody else.

However, we are born able to respond to care. As we grow we can give and receive attention, affection, and joy. Whether we learn how to love ourselves and others will depend on the presence of a loving environment. ABour l. OVE Self-love cannot flourish in isolation. It is no easy task to be self-loving. Simple axioms that make self-love sound easy only make matters worse. It leaves many people won- dering why, if it is so easy, they continue to be trapped by feelings of low self-esteem or self-hatred.

Using a work- ing definition of love that tells us it is the action we take on behalf of our own or another's spiritual growth pro- vides us with a beginning blueprint for working on the issue of self-love. When we see love as a combination of trust, commitment, care, respect, knowledge, and respon- sibility, we can work on developing these qualities or, if they are already a part of who we are, we can learn to extend them to ourselves. Many people find it helpful to critically examme the past, particularly childhood, to chart their internalization of messages that they were not worthy, not enough, that they were crazy, stupid, monstrous, and so on.

Simply learning how we have acquired feelings of worthlessness rarely enables us to change things; it is usually only one stage in the process. I, like so many other people, have found it useful to examine negative thinking and behav- ioral patterns learned in childhood, particularly those shaping my sense of self and identity.

However, this pro- cess alone did not ensure self-recovery. It was not enough. I share this because it is far too easy to stay stuck in simply describing, telling one's story over and over again, which 5 4 O V J I N 11 E can be a way of holding on to grief about the past or holding on to a narrative that places blame on others. While it is important for us to understand the origins of fragile self-esteem, it is also possible to bypass this stage identifying when and where we received negative sociali- zation and still create a foundation for building self-love.


Individuals who bypass this stage tend to move on to the next stage, which is actively introducing into our lives con- structive life-affirming thought patterns and behavior. Whether a person remembers the details of being abused is not important.

When the consequence of that abuse is a feeling of worthlessness, they can still engage in a pro- cess of self-recovery by finding ways to affirm self-worth. The wounded heart learns self-love by first overcoming low self-esteem. Nathaniel Branden's lengthy work Six Pillars of Self-Esteem highlights important dimensions of self-esteem, "the practice of living consciously, self- acceptance, self-responsibility, self-assertiveness, living pur- posefully and the practice of personal integrity.

We dare to ask ourselves the basic questions who, what, when, where, and why. Answering these questions usually provides us with a level of aware- ness that enlightens. Branden contends: Usually it is through reflection that individuals who have not accepted themselves make the choice to stop lis- tening to negative voices, within and outside the self, that constantly reject and devalue them.

Affirmations work for anyone striving for self-acceptance. Other books in this series. All About Love Bell Hooks. Add to basket. Salvation Bell Hooks.

Back cover copy "The word "love" is most often defined as a noun, yet As bell hooks uses her incisive mind and razor-sharp pen to explore the question "What is love? Razing the cultural paradigm that the ideal love is infused with sex and desire, she provides a new path to love that is sacred, redemptive, and healing for the individuals and for a nation. Review quote "Each offering from bell hooks is a major event, as she has so much to give us.

About Bell Hooks Bell Hooks is a cultural critic, feminist theorist, and writer. Celebrated as one of our nation's leading public intellectual by The Atlantic Monthly, as well as one of Utne Reader's " Visionaries Who Could Change Your Life," she is a charismatic speaker who divides her time among teaching, writing, and lecturing around the world. Previously a professor in the English departments at Yale University and Oberlin College, hooks is the author of more than 17 books, including All About Love: New Visions; RememberedRapture: The Writer at Work; Wounds of Passion: A Writing Life; Bone Black: Memories of Girlhood; Killing Rage: Ending Racism; Art on My Mind: Visual Politics; and Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life.

She lives in New York City. Rating details. Book ratings by Goodreads.