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We are social creatures who desire validation. We feel good when others share our belief system. But we feel dejected when others do not value our inputs, crush our ideas, or ignore what we have to say.
These difficult people act in undesirable ways and give us permission to pass judgement and offload responsibility by blaming them for undesirable outcomes.
When dealing with difficult people, the amygdala in the brain, responsible for processing emotions, perceives them as a threat. This triggers the fight-or-flight response.
We either try to fight the behavior or flee from the situation without solving the problem. The interaction can release stress hormones that lead to a pounding heart, tense muscles, and anxiety. It can also drain us of energy and lead to overthinking.
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Humans are social creatures, interdependent on one another. Socializing is at its core, a mental workout, and an essential part of brain development.
Being alone, one can start to lose ...
Human beings form social circles averaging to 150 individuals; this is called the Dunbar’s Number.
A lack of people around us can actually make our brain shrink. The region known for formation of new memories, called the 'dentate gyrus', reduces in size if there is no human interaction. There is also a reduction in spatial processing (locating objects in a given space) and focus.
Positive solitude is a state of being alone without being lonely, in a contented manner.
Loneliness, on the other hand, is isolation with a hunger for social contact, something that distorts one’s perceptions, damaging the ability to interact in a normal way with others. It also lowers one’s self-esteem leading to a loneliness loop, characterized by social withdrawal and depression.
The basic rules that we need to apply:
Hanlon’s razor is a potent mental model which can be used in any situation where our first instinct is a negative assumption. Any wrong hypothesis related to the bad intentions of others is counterproductive and can play havoc in our lives.
Fear has the tendency to divide and isolate us, to shrink us to a tiny version of ourselves. Other negative emotions like jealousy, resentment, anger, bitterness and self-pity also have their roots in fear.
Some fear is good, like staying away from things or activities that can endanger us, but most fear is psychological and a false shadow inside our heads.