According to Father Thomas Keating, one of the pioneers of centering prayer, the 3 programmes for happiness are power, control and approval. When I analyse my decision making I can recognise one of these needs taking precedence. These are legitimate needs for living but when our happiness depends on them in the face of lack we can find ourselves moving away from the centre of who we really are. At any cost we hanker after at least one of these 3 things as though our lives depend on it. We become imbalanced and self oriented. In the light of Social Media and the whole approval indicators it uses we can see increasingly how the need for approval can dominate ones actions and personality. Sadly todays young people (and adults) have become increasingly prone to seeking approval as if their life depends on it.
Another avenue to explore is the real meaning of love. C. S. Lewis wrote a book called the four loves explaining the meaning of four different Greek words used for love: Storge, Philos, Eros and Agape. The first (Storge) means the affection that a mother has for a child or the warmth experienced when holding a puppy etc. We all need this as babies. After that comes Philos which means "friendship". The child moves away from the mother's "apron strings" into the realm of friendship with peers. Then of course Eros! An oversimplified meaning leads us to the word "erotic". The meaning definitely involves the passionate physical attraction that one feels for the beloved. Agape is the all eclipsing and fulfilling divine love only found in its noun form in the Bible. In adolescence it has been argued that if a young person has been starved of storge and/or philos the gap can be sought to be filled with eros.
If we put the two together we can see why young people are growing up today sexually and emotionally confused. With the increased hunger for approval coupled with aggravated unmet need for love sexual contact can be the only option left. Add to the mix the vast amount of easily available pornographic content on the internet it is no wonder our young people are confused in so many emotional and social areas. LOVED UP is a course that we have designed to help tease out some of these problems in a safe atmosphere and look for some answers.