I am studying a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology at Uni now, and in what is the most interesting subject so far, Social Bases of Behaviour: Social Psychology, we just started the term learning about how we think about ourselves and others (“social cognition”).
This example was given: – There are 2 men, both married. One man had dropped out of middle school, and is working hard as a brick layer to support himself and his wife.
The other man had graduated from high school and started a fairly successful business. Not super successful but, making enough profit for his family: himself, his wife and 2 children.
Being his own boss also affords him flexible hours and free time which he spends as a Grassroots Volunteer for the Local Council. He also sings in the church choir every Sunday.
Suddenly, BOTH men’s wives decide to leave them out of the blue. Which man will be more affected?
OK, So one may say that it depends on the quality of the relationship the man has with his wife. However, that is also a different variable altogether that is coming into play. What about if one were to be philosophical about the whole idea? Won’t both men be equally upset, if not, wouldn’t it be impossible to determine whom would be more upset, as all individuals differ in temperament?!?! If this were so, I cannot answer the question, as everything, after all, is subjective and THERE ARE NO ANSWERS…zzz..
BUT thinking in terms of a variable that we CAN work on, the man who runs his own business would likely be better off, while the man who lays bricks would probably be devastated by his wife’s leaving.
This is due to the number of Domains of Self each man has.
The man who lays bricks has only the domains of his job and his wife in his life. Whereas the businessman has many more Domains of Self. Apart from his job and his wife, he also has his 2 children, his work at the Local Council, and his role in the church choir on Sundays. He has a rich life, therefore achievement or failure in one domain doesn’t have such a big impact on his overall life, especially his sense of self.
I was thinking about this story and a light bulb turned on in my head. OH! This is probably another good reason why my Dr. signed me up to join the hospital choir, which even led to my short solo on World Mental Health Day 2012 at SOTA. The benefits of building more Domains of Self which include improving one’s sense of self and confidence -as well as acting as a buffer against challenges; are why he kept encouraging me to be more active and pick up hobbies, join short courses, enjoy nature and at the same time exercise (yes, we all know the well-documented benefits of exercise).
I mean it seems obvious, but most of us don’t have the leisure (or motivation) to do so.
Okay, so when I was first seeing my Dr. I was just out of the ward and unemployed, looking for a job and also not studying as I am now.. so I had all the time in the world – but you’d be surprised what one can do when you can do everything and anything you want.
Digressing a little, though somewhat relevant…
I knew a group of young people with mental illness, who are not really super unwell, and had all the time in the world.. but they gave up trying to find jobs. They did not lose their jobs because of paranoia or depression – they lost them because of a lack of self-esteem, and a lack of belief in their own ability to perform the task: Thus they failed to learn to do their work. (So they lost their jobs, or quit job after job within a week)
I knew them well, they spent most of their time hanging around town like teenagers, smoking and watching the world go by. The gave up on fighting to live altogether. I am not saying they are at fault, or putting them down, that they are less important or inferior human beings, but I would just like to highlight some common patterns that are quite self-defeatist.
They got into relationships with each other, and the relationships failed, their world would disintegrate. They would attempt suicide and/or be warded.
Why? The only domain in their life was the other person.
My Dr. is super perceptive about constructing the foundation for Happyness – Creating more Domains in life. I will definitely strive to Diversify! and build Domains in areas I am Passionate about and try to maintain them.
I have a friend who is trying to eliminate all the things in his life he deems as unnecessary to keep in line with a “Minimalist” Ideal. Well, I hope he reads this one day.
Actually all I wanted to say in the above 800+ words is summed up as the saying goes, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” 😀