People may play a bigger role in your life than you ever imagined. According to a recent study, the best and worst emotional experiences in peoples’ lives involve other humans and not solely themselves.
The researchers found that although people tend to focus on individual achievements, in the end the moments that impact people the most are the ones where they are connected to others. These include breakups, falling in love and making a new friend. Gender was not a factor.
The Science Daily article stated that other researchers found results that were in support of situations involving only the individual having more of an impact on that individual.
I find those other results hard to believe. Most people spend a majority of their days with other people, whether in work or school. Unless a woman lives in complete isolation, she will be emotionally affected by other people. Since in general people are more with others than by themselves, it makes sense that the most positive or negative emotional experiences would involve others.
Think about the things that upset you most or made you feel happiest. Were they caused internally or by other people? Sure, an award at work for personal achievement might feel nice, but how does that compare to the man you’ve loved forever finally returning your feelings?
Some women might not want to admit that a romantic relationship is more important to them than their careers, but romance generally makes women feel something stronger than they would for a piece of paper or a compliment from the boss. And by the way, that personal achievement had to be recognized by someone, and that’s what makes it feel better. If only you know how good you are at something, how rewarding is that? For most people, achievements only truly mean something when someone else recognizes it as an achievement.
Society has such an emphasis on personal achievement and individuality, but it seems that dependence on others and an emotional attachment to others is not going away any time soon.
For example, another study found that mice that were isolated after cardiac arrest had worse health afterward than those that had partners.
Mice are clearly different than humans, but all creatures need a support system. Is this such a bad thing? Do humans really need to learn how to rely more on themselves?
There seems to be a plethora of advice on how to become more independent, and people (including myself) sometimes want to take the route of increased emotional independence. Rejection by peers and romantic interests can be difficult, and the idea is that the more independent and self-sufficient you are, the less it will hurt. Self-esteem and confidence also can help in those potentially hurtful situations.
I once heard that I have the only potential of letting something hurt me or make me happy, but is this really true? No matter how hard people try, others will affect them in some way. It’s how people are raised – humans are social creatures, whether they like it or not. There are some cases where it is beneficial to learn to not let others affect you so much, but it’s also probably impossible to avoid emotional impact that is brought on by others.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100826182510.htm (social relationships)
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100830152532.htm (cardiac arrest)