Here comes the third impediment on the road to happiness. The impediment is the need to be loved by people. Another counterpart of this impediment is the need to be alone. These needs make us unhappy. Humans are the most social animal. Humans have a deep seated need to be loved and to be desired by others. We form bonds with others just for the sake of being liked by others whom we know.
It has been observed that humans try to mimic others, to look similar to them. For instance, if you are walking on a road and you suddenly start looking up towards the trees or towards the sky, it is quite natural that the people behind you will also begin looking up towards the trees or towards the sky.
Harry Harlow conducted an experiment with monkeys. His experiment showed that monkeys were drawn to warmth and love. Since monkeys are quite similar to humans, it could be very well concluded that humans also have the desire to be loved and the need of warmth. This need starts from the time we are born to the time we die. The need for social connections is one of the fundamental necessities of human beings for survival in the society.
When we find people have tastes similar to ours; they love doing things like us; it becomes an enriching experience for us too. Suppose a person loves a walk in the park, but his fiancé does not enjoy so. Therefore, the happiness level of the former lowers down because of the latter’s reaction. However, if the fiancé enjoys the walk equally, the experience becomes enjoyable. This shows the need of getting a reaction from others similar to our reaction. This further shows how our emotions are connected to others’ emotions.
Research has established that when a person is socially rejected, the brain cells that get active are the same ones that get activated when a person feels physical pain. This means, being socially rejected is as painful and gives the same feeling as that of physical pain. Hence, the people who are socially ostracized are the ones who face a lot of psychological problems. They also suffer from cardiac problems, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Why the need of belongingness lowers our happiness level? Feeling the need to be loved all the time does not help. Being needy makes us lose our self-respect. Needy people also tend to attract a lot of people who like to stay alone. The needy people get attracted to avoidant people. However, avoidant people don’t complement these needy people. However, being opposites does not help either. It never helps to be a loner and be an avoidant kind of a person.
In the next chapter, we will see how being a recluse also acts detrimental for us. The need to be loved and to love others is one of the prime reason why we lose happiness out of our life.