Synopsis: Good and better friendship and its new importance for how you identify yourself, feel about yourself, attain better happiness, health and longevity, along with the love guidance of your own answers to important questions are intriguingly presented here.
What You Do and Personal Importance?Who are you and what do you do? Isn’t that what everybody asks about when they first meet someone new? Well, not everyone but those are the questions many people try to answer first just about everywhere in the modern. middle class, Western world. This is especially true for males and for those whose occupation is their primary identity. It is a bit less true for those who hold lesser status jobs and those who travel in old wealth circles. For many millions their occupation is there foremost identifying factor. Usually tied to that is a sense of their identity, personal worth, societal value and peer group importance.
So, if your occupation is abolished and that work is accomplished using algorithms and creating machines to do your job, who are you and what will you become? Will you have importance, purpose, worth and significance or will you be and feel useless and without value? This actually is what is beginning to happen to more and more people as high-tech improvements continue to replace people in all kinds of work. With a sense of uselessness often comes anxiety, depression, addictions, suicide and other forms of life failure.
However, this does not happen to everyone who loses their work life identity. Some have been raised to feel important and of worth because of being born into or married into a higher status family, class, caste, race or otherwise more advantaged group. Then there are a good number who feel good about themselves so long as enough people feel good about them, but if their popularity wanes they may crash. In the modern Western world, some few others are lucky enough to have been raised in families that understood and taught having a sense of intrinsic worth and healthy self-love (or they learned this on their own through reading, attending courses or being around people who project a love of self and love of others). Those who have intrinsic self worth have little need of external self valuing factors to feel good about themselves. Unfortunately, they are a minority. Some cultures do better at helping people develop a sense of self worth and self love, as do some therapists and counselors.
In many parts of the modern world, the majority of people seem to need an external way of sufficiently feeling good about themselves. Vast numbers primarily have accomplished this via their work identity. Take that away and what’s left?
Will Occupational Identity and Its Personal Significance Fade?Some studies in behavioral economics predict that about 47% of all current occupations are expected to become human free by mid century.
This could grow to 92% by the end of the century according to some experts. Humans already are increasingly being replaced by smart machines, algorithms, high-tech advances and the like.
So, if this happens to you what is going to happen to your sense of significance, self-esteem, and most importantly how will it affect your healthy self-love (see “Self-Love and 12 Reasons to Develop It”)? A future looking historian pessimistically warns we are going to have a lot of occupationally useless people around and a great many social and political problems occurring because of that. So, what is to be done?
Significance Through LoveCan you guess who the people are who suffer least when their occupational or professional identity and its personal validation importance goes away? The research shows it is the people who have healthy, strong and deep love relationships. Mainly that means strong, ongoing friendships where healthy, real, sibling-like love exists. Healthy, loving families and love mates count too. Perhaps that is because their ways of doing love are very similar to the ways of real, friendship love (see “Understanding Friendship: From Mild Geniality to Profound Love”). Note: If somebody says “My spouse is my best friend” a healthful mix of love-mate love and friendship love may be occurring.
Now, let us suppose you met someone new and asked them what they did? Further suppose that the answer you got was something like this. “I’m a really good friend and that’s my chief significance”. Even further suppose that this sort of answer became common and it indicated a primary way to feel good about your own purpose and significance in life. Suppose also that it became common knowledge that having deep, real, love friendships lengthens life, reduces susceptibility to illness, magnifies general happiness and improves quality living just about every way one can measure it. All of which is true. Most of all suppose that nearly everybody’s primary sense of self worth was largely linked to how well they did love relationships and especially friendship love. Suspect that more friendship love in the world might lead to more altruistic love, family love, healthy self-love and, of course, mate-love along with all the other healthful forms of love (see “Friendship Love and Its Extraordinary Importance”).
What to Do with This?With the above ideas in mind, let’s look at some very important wide-ranging questions. If your occupation was abolished and you were replaced by a machine, would your self-concept and self-esteem suffer? What about your sense of life purpose? Do you work at improving your friendship skills? Are you doing things to improve the friendships you have? How much could pride of being good at friendship love skills help you with your sense of being a person of worth and significance? By way of healthy self-love, do you give yourself the gift of good friendships? Do you need to learn more about the how to’s of good friendship and friendship love? Do you think it might be good for you to make your sense of self worth less work-dependent? Are you aware that having a few high-quality friends is much more important and healthful than having a high number of acquaintance-level friends? Are you someone’s good friend? If so, are you positive about yourself for being a good friend? Are you in fact your own really good friend? In healthy self-love could you be your own better friend?
With each of those questions, think of the answers you gave yourself and turn them into guidance messages. Then, of course, seriously consider following the guidance you presenting to yourself.
One More Little ThingHow about talking all this over with a friend, or potential friend. If you do that, please mention this website and our free subscription service. By doing so, you will do us and them a friendly, good turn. Thanks.
As always – Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
Quotable Question: Who loves you best – a friend that tells you what you want to hear, one who tells you what you don’t want to hear but need to, one who tells you both or one who tells you little but very lovingly really listens to you?