We Need to Matter, not Shatter

Physical health requires good nutrition, sunshine and exercise, good relationships, satisfying employment and ongoing validation from those who matter to us. When people are asked, “What makes you happy?” they often respond by identifying an activity such as; “Playing ball”, “Hanging out with friends”, “A great intellectual discussion”, “Reading a good book”, “Listening to the music I love”, “Watching a good movie”, “Playing my favorite sport”, or “being with my loved ones”. Though all these sole or social interactive exchanges are rewarding indeed, the core sense of wholesomeness stems from being loved, respected and well regarded by others.

Needing to know that we are valued, liked, respected, loved and cherished starts in infancy, and is a force of survival that lasts a lifetime. When children who are loved and adored in their families start school, take extra-curricular activities, make friends and engage in sports and do not receive sufficient validation for their activities and being, they are likely to gradually withdraw, become “shy”, insecure and confused about their identity and worthiness. The reinforcement of one’s uniqueness, special traits, wits, humor, talents and lovability is essential to us in learning who we are and finding the path to living up to our higher self.

In “Social Intelligence”, Dr. Daniel Goleman cites the Nobel Prize winner in economics, Daniel Kahneman’s explanation about why the wealthiest people are not the happiest. His research of more than one thousand women discovered that “The most powerful influences on how happy the women felt was induced by those with whom they spent their time – not their income, not their positions, job challenges, or their marital status.” Dr. Goleman summarized, “Among people around the world, nourishing relationships are the single most universally agreed-upon feature of the good life.”

Nourishing relationships often entail appreciation, validation, support, kindness, lack of judgment and great respect for each other. Researcher and founder of The Institute for Energy Analysis, Alvin Weinberg, upon reaching his ninetieth birthday stated, “Technology makes it easier and easier to disconnect from other people, and from ourselves. But the issues that matter most are families, community, and social responsibility.”

I would humbly expound on Dr. Weinberg’s statement by adding that the reason family and community and social responsibility matters most is because when we exhibit respect, validation, appreciation, admiration and positive regard for others, we become bonded to each other and empowered to live to our highest potential.

Help others feel their worthiness:

  • Treat all people with respect and dignity. It helps you attract the humaneness in others.
  • Accept that all people need to feel valued to live up to their highest potential.
  • Respecting others is likely to free them to share their gifts and exhibit their kindness and consideration.
  • All individuals have merits to share and will do so in an atmosphere of kindness, acceptance and inclusion.
  • Refrain from judging others because they appear different from you. Be curious, not furious with them. Your acceptance and warmth will free them to share theirs with you.

 

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About Author

Offra Gerstein, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in clinical practice in Santa Cruz, California for over 25 years, and specializes in relationship issues for couples and individuals for improved quality of life. Her work includes: mate selection, marriage, long term relationships, gay and lesbian couples, work relationships, parenting issues, family interactions, friendships, and conflict resolutions. Offra has lectured extensively to various groups, conducted support groups for several organizations, and has been writing a weekly column "Relationship Matters" for the Santa Cruz Sentinel since 2001.

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