One of the benefits to having a rich social circle is that you have people to support you and be there for you when you are going through difficult and tough times, or when you just want someone to talk to.
When we look toward others for social support, we’re usually not looking for their advice or opinion, but just someone who is good at sitting there and listening to us.
If you have people like that in your social circle, your emotional well-being can improve dramatically.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers looked at how individuals can best provide social support to those who suffer from negative emotions and low self-esteem. What they found was that individuals with low self-esteem didn’t respond well to advice like “cheer up” or “look on the bright side.” Instead, the type of social support they were looking for was negative validation. Negative validation is giving others permission to feel negative and express their negative emotions. It allows the other person to feel that their negative emotions are natural and appropriate, and they don’t need to avoid them.
We typically don’t want people in our lives who try to change us (especially when it comes to our feelings).
Instead, we want people who accept us as we are and allow us to feel our feelings are “normal.”
In another study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, it was discovered that when people feel their emotions are shared with others, it can help reduce unnecessary stress related to those emotions. It’s always nice to know that people feel the same way as you do. That helps you to realize that you aren’t alone in your feelings, so you don’t have to feel bad about feeling bad.
When building your social circle, make sure you find people who accept you as you are, and don’t always try to change you into something you’re not. We need more people like that in our lives.
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