Social Health

As humans are social creatures, dependent on each other for functioning and survival, the interaction between each other is critically important. I believe that poor social health leads to many problems in life, including depression, sense of meaninglessness in life, and sense of isolation. These are in turn likely to affect your physical wellbeing adversely as well. You many also not be able to achieve a goal that you desire because you do not have the help you need.

So how do you go about becoming socially healthy?

Most people in their interactions with others are self centred. They talk about what they are interested in, and tries to get others to do what they want them to do. This method of dealing with people clearly has issues as it leads to many negative emotions in the other, including boredom, irritability and sense of insignificance or being looked down on. This leads to a poor relationship where the other person will not really wish to be helpful to you or to continue to maintain a relationship.

We must always remember that most people are primarily interested in themselves and their own interests. So in order to generate positive emotions in others and therefore acquire their good will, it is best if we talk about their interests, and talk about things of importance to the other person.

Also people generally have a desire to feel significant or important to some degree. This lies at the heart of many relationship issues of all kinds. So it is good to make the other person feel so by genuine praise and appreciation. This also means that when the other person offers their view, that you don’t make them feel as if they have been disrespected or looked down on, by you shutting them down.

If you have interacted with people in the way described above with genuineness, it is more likely that these people will also want to reciprocate and be of help to you when needed, and they will do so with more effort and vigor.

This way of interacting with people is difficult for most, as they are so used to thinking of their own needs first. So one of the ways to start becoming better at this is to always think of what you admire or appreciate about the person, and not to dwell on things which you don’t like about them. And when appropriate, you should express these appreciations in a non-flattering way. It is important not to criticise the other, and if need be to do so in a way which makes them feel appreciated and respected.

You will be genuinely healthy in a social sense when you are automatic in your positive thoughts of others and in praising them. You may have to start off practicing these with selfish thoughts in mind about improving your own ability to handle people, but as you become more natural at this, the pleasure of giving good to others may become the primary driving force. The other benefits will be secondary then.

As the bible says, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and to love your neighbors as you would love your self.

JP

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