Saturday, October 19, 2013

What drives us 2

My previous post suggesting that a primary drive for us is to feel connected to and valuable part of a greater whole was written to a specific person regarding a specific question.

Before moving on I would like to ask anyone who is following along to consider how this drive to feel connected to and a valuable part of a greater whole influences human behavior, such as

  • the cohesiveness of families and desire to have a spouse, kids, etc
  • people joining churches, the military, sports teams, sororities/fraternities, gangs, cults, etc (I am not saying these things are all bad or equal.  There is a reason for the drive and better and worse ways to satisfy it.)
  • people staying in bad relationships, harmful families, oppressive organizations of all sorts, etc
  • teenager activities with coupling and grouping and showing off or trying to show supremacy, etc
  • desire to engage in hobby type activities: hunting, fishing, gardening, woodworking, rooting for a sports team or things like fantasy football, etc. (Obviously these are male oriented hobbies.  I would imagine there are female corollaries if I took more time to consider it.)
  • desire to create or just enjoy different types of art, including singing and dancing
  • urge to pray and meditate as well as the felt benefits of prayer and meditation

I of course believe that this drive to feel connected to and a valuable part of a greater whole or the inability to feel it is a primary reason for most of the above, but I do not plan to go into a lot of details on each at this time.  I will likely spend considerable time on how it influences some of them in the future.

Before moving on I will note that feeling connected to and a valuable part of a greater whole is necessary for peace of mind and a sense of well being, but often the inability to feel these things is also great motivation and drives a great deal of success and productiveness.

For instance I was unable to feel these things for most of my life.  I had almost no friends during my K-12 years.  Others did not seem to view me as an outcast or treat me poorly, but for the most part I just could not even bring myself to try to have friends or relationships.  I would fantasize about making and having friends or girlfriends, but fear and anxiety almost always kept me from actually even trying.  Along these lines for all 13 years I always went home for lunch because it was too painful to be alone among other people.  Ironically actually being alone was such a relief.

For most of my first 30 years, I told myself that people were jerks or something like that and therefore I did not want to be close to them.  The truth was that I felt unable to be close to them and it was more palatable to blame them than me.  And of course there are plenty of things to find objectionable about most people and even most relationships.

Where I am going with this though is that this inability to connect and feel valuable served as great motivation to achieve and be better than others.  I also was not overly successful in really convincing myself that my inability to have relationships was not my own fault or failure and this needed to be compensated for with success in other areas.  So I stuck with and kept going back to what was the easiest and surest way for me to feel at least somewhat successful and ended up with a couple doctorate degrees.