Interaction With Others

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Written by Dr. Nash Popovic

The importance of social connections is well known and well documented. Here, we will examine this topic specifically in relation to personal development and the life’s purpose.

The interaction with others contributes to development and harmonisation at all stages of personal development:

  • At the physical stage, others contribute to physiological homeostasis (through providing food, shelter and protection) as well as psychological (through hugs, cuddles, and other forms of physical connection). This is essential, particularly in infancy. Others also play a role in early development through encouraging and supporting bodily self-regulation (e.g. toilet training, learning to walk), as well as through exposure to a variety of stimuli, which incentivises learning and experience.
  • At the conventional stage, others contribute to development through enabling language acquisition, and through the induction to various cultural mores (including art, religion, narratives, customs and so on). They contribute to harmonisation too, through the process of socialisation and role assignments. This enforces a sense of belonging and affirms newly formed constructs of the world and oneself.
  • At the individual stage, others also play a role, albeit a more subtle one. Young people start developing individuality through bouncing their own ideas and choices against others – some resistance is needed to move on (we can walk only if the ground we walk on provides sufficient resistance – psychology is not very different). At the same time, others are used as a mirror, to confirm one’s existence and study the quite unstable and fragile newly-formed ego. So paradoxically, individuality often ends up in conformity to a group – albeit a group of one’s own choice.

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