Why You Really Do Need Other People – Power of Social Connections

Why You Really Do Need Other People social connections

Why You Really Do Need Other People – and their impact on you!

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the reasons you really do need other people and the way social connections impact you.

First a quick update:

The Breakup Test
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Is Your Partner Psychic? No? Then Ask For What You Want & Need To Feel Loved
Is your partner psychic? Does he/she really know what you want and what you need to feel loved? If not, then just tell them what you want and need in the relationship. Watch my video

Now, let’s talk about the reasons you really do need other people and the way social connections impact you.

From where do you derive most of your joy? And from where do you derive most of your pain?

Both come from the same source – relationships!

Yes, you might argue that you harness intense joy, pride, fulfillment or satisfaction from achievements, ideas or creating, devising, designing or building things but then, with whom do you share that ‘intense joy, pride, fulfillment or satisfaction’? With whom do you boast about your achievements or share your ideas and creations? With people! What is the purpose or significance of all of the money, wealth, knowledge, wisdom or achievements you might amass if you have no one to share it with or no one to acknowledge it?

The truth is that we are all social creatures and we are hardwired to connect.

Social connection is an important part of psychological health and survival. Through social connection you establish your identity, you form bonds, relationships, tribes or family (belonging, acceptance, approval, affirmation, significance) and you gain a sense of satisfaction or fulfillment.

I concede that you will argue that your identity, self-image and beliefs are formed by you alone and, later in this article, I will respectfully reveal this to be a false premise based on self-delusion.

Meanwhile, if you still doubt the premise of the significance and hardwiring for social connection, then consider the pain you feel following social rejection – a breakup, betrayal, loss or relationship failure.

The reason that social rejection feels like real pain is because the brain processes it that way and thus social connections are critical to your health.

Social connection is so critical that the brain works in a unique way. There are two distinct neural networks that are used for ‘non-social thinking’ and ‘social thinking.’ Social thinking refers to your ability and desire to try to understand what is going on inside the mind of the people around you.

Anytime that you are not engaged in non-social thinking your brain switches on another neural network and you start to think in social terms. In other words, the brain is actively searching for meaning, safety and understanding via social connections.

Another example of the significance of connection is the extraordinary influence that your social environment (culture) has on you, regardless of whatever you try to tell yourself to the contrary. As comedian Ricky Gervais points out in one of his videos, people typically believe in the God and religion that they are taught in their surrounding culture: Americans are typically Christian, Indians are typically Hindu, South Americans are typically Catholic, Israelis are typically Jewish, Pakistanis are typically Muslim. “Isn’t that lucky? I was born into the right god. Everyone else is going to hell.”

In other words, the place where you are born and the family in which you are born determines your religion, your social status, your economic status and even your opportunities. It doesn’t bind you but it (social environment and connections) forms the majority of your self-image and identity until such time as you make the conscious choice to change it.

The three neural networks promoting social connection: your ability to feel social pain and pleasure (rejection, fairness, acceptance); your ability to read other people’s emotions and predict their behavior (safety, trust, bonding, collaboration); your ability to absorb cultural beliefs and values (form and belong to tribes & groups, form identity.)

An exercise I share with clients and even in corporate settings is “Who is really in charge? The genesis of your self-image, characteristics and beliefs.” I ask participants to write out a description or list of their self-image, characteristics and beliefs. Next, write out the same for each parent, siblings and favorite teacher/aunt/grandparent. Now compare the two lists and look at the common elements. “Did you really become who you are based on your own conscious choices or based on the influence of your caretakers – your social connections?”

Thus, you are influenced by the people around you and again this is supported by Neuroscience. The concept of self is driven by a part of the brain that is located between your eyes and is known as the “medial prefrontal cortex.” This is the part of the brain that gets activated when you are being introspective or reflecting on yourself. This is also the same part of the brain that gets activated when people are trying to influence you to think like them or do something like them. The point here is that you are influenced by what people say and think and do. Why would your brain be designed to do this or evolve this way? Why is this a critical function? We form connections with people and we create social harmony by sharing ideas and thoughts and bonding by thinking or believing that we are similar or actually being similar to others. We seek to conform or mold ourselves in order to belong or to be granted approval and acceptance. We also absorb the emotions of our social circles and culture.

Accordingly, given that your well-being is dependent on social connections and the way you get along with other people or not, and that your social connections dramatically mold and influence you, then stop now and consciously consider “Which are the social connections (relationships and friendships) that are to your benefit and in your highest interests? Which are the social connections which will bring about the most joy in your life and the least amount of pain?”

Now, begin to carefully choose and redesign your social connections! Also read “Your Friends Can Make You Fat, Happy, Unhealthy or Lonely.”

If you need personal help to redesign your life, let go of unhealthy friends and connections, book a one-on-one session with me.

You can add to the conversation below.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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