Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Exploring Cherishing: A Qualitative Approach

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

Exploring Cherishing: A Qualitative Approach

Article excerpt

An abundance of contemporary popular life improvement platforms ranging from blog posts to self-help books often mention cherishing as a significant pillar towards attaining personal growth. Yet, empirical literature lacks a sound base for reference when it comes to offering a scientific elaboration on the term. The Oxford English dictionary (2013) defines the word cherish as three significant actions: protect and care for someone lovingly, hold something dear; keep (a hope or ambition) in one's mind. Previous research on education and environmental ethics offer a brief understanding of cherishing. This available literature emphasizes the relevance of cherishing in connection with human emotions. Harry Broudy's work on enlightened cherishing defines cherishing as a love and desire to preserve an object for its intrinsic value (cited in Martin, 1994). Cherishing is also defined as a love infused with a desire to preserve a cherished object from harm and overprotecting it to ensure that the object remains the same and does not decay or gets damaged (Lee, 1994).

Apart from the relevance of emotion, the definitions also reflect another psycho-social phenomenon that is the system of human attachment. Classical works on philosophy frequently mention cherishing in the context of human development. In Locke (cited in Androne, 2014) and Rousseau's (cited in Sauerteig, 2012) conceptualization, cherishing conveys nurturance. They considered cherishing children as an essential ingredient in human development. According to Locke, parents have a significant role in imparting practical knowledge of life by cherishing a healthy sense of curiosity in their children (cited in Androne, 2014), yet refrain from cherishing their faults out of sheer fondness (cited in Brandt, 1981).

According to the contemporary works on behavioral science, the concept of cherishing has emerged as a significant factor to be taken into consideration while discussing human psycho-social development. Apparently, contemporary psychoanalysts emphasizing early childhood experiences popularly endorse cherishing as a crucial emotion in psycho-social development (Young-Bruehl & Bethelard, 2000). Young-Bruehl and Bethelard's 2000 psychoanalytical work on cherishment, discusses in length the role cherishment performs in an individual's life in the context of the patient-therapist relationship. The concept of cherishment draws its roots from the French cher conveying dear and Latin caritas conveying kindness, compassion, and benevolence (Young-Bruehl & Bethelard, 2000), thereby signifying the relevance of the term in human psycho-social development. Young-Bruehl and Bethelard, (2000) took inspiration from Balint's concept ofprimary love and Doi's idea of amaeru to label the wish for "getting cherished" as cherishment. The authors explain emotional distress as the outcome of thwarting an individual's early expectation for receiving cherishing affection. They further elaborate on how a baby's wish for getting cherishing from his/her primary caregiver ultimately influences the way he/she relates to the world and significant social relationships in adulthood. This initial expectation is what leads towards healthy or unhealthy psycho-social development.

Cherishing in the Backdrop of Attachment and Cherished Possessions

The concept of cherishing lacks consensus both in terms of conceptualization and empirical investigation. Hence, it is a challenge for the present researchers to explore such a complex psycho-social phenomenon such as cherishing. Owing to an insufficiency in the available number of empirical studies on cherishing, the researchers incorporated various ideas in the domain of social sciences that help us in defining the term cherishing. Therefore, it is necessary to begin exploration with a similar and related concept such as cherishment.

Young-Bruehl and Bethelard, (2000) consider cherishment as, "the emotional equivalent of nourishment" (p. …

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