Amae can be described as a child like emotional state, where one seeks the affection of the other. This state of unconditional love, I find to leave one vulnerable to the affections of the other, but it is exactly this state of emotional being that true love is. It is by becoming vulnerable to the other's affections that one can only truly love. Like the way a child loves her mother, or the way a puppy loves his master, this is the most beautiful and innocent form of affection I know.
I have been thinking a lot about love and what it means to me. I may not be able to fully grasp the japanese understanding of Amae, but I feel the kind of love that I think can be classified as Amae for my children. I see my children feel this kind of love for each other. I think it is the rarest most beautiful kind of feeling, to allow yourself to need the affection of another and be fulfilled. It is this kind of affection that I strive for in my relationship as well. I think finding someone who you can be vulnerable around is true love.
Which brings me to the story of Amaterasu, a Shinto Japanese fable I learned in my East Civ class in college. Here is an illustrated short tale of Amaterasu. Without Amaterasu's affection, the people in the fable would no longer be able to live a fulfilling life. The fable embodies the concept of Amae. Enjoy!
|Love is sharing your ice cream|