ll of us have an intense desire to be loved and nurtured. The need to be loved, as experiments by Bowlby and others have shown, could be considered one of our most basic and fundamental needs. One of the forms that this need takes is contact comfort—the desire to be held and touched. Findings show that babies who are deprived contact comfort, particularly during the first six months after they are born, grow up to be psychologically damaged.
Given the importance of the need to be loved, it isn’t surprising that most of us believe that a significant determinant of our happiness is whether we feel loved and cared for. In the surveys that I have conducted, people rate “having healthy relationships” as one of their top goals—on par with the goal of “leading a happy and fulfilling life.”