Being considered socially strengthens us
Social recognition is a fundamental aspect for our well-being, especially the psychological one. It is not simply the fact that we are accepted by others, but that our strengths are also recognized, strengths which are the basis of our self-esteem.
In addition to giving us personal self-esteem, social recognition is an important ally of productivity, especially in the workplace. A worker who feels that he or she fits in with other employees and is valued is a more motivated professional, willing to put in more effort in those tasks that have been entrusted to him.
Next, we are going to look at social recognition in depth from a psychological perspective, both health and organizational, in addition to commenting on the benefits of being a person who feels that others value and accept them in their community.
What is social recognition?
From a psychological perspective, social recognition is a factor that contributes to our having high motivation, self-esteem and higher performance in all kinds of daily tasks. A person who feels that society values his positive characteristics is a person who is well aware that he is worth, that he is useful for the rest of society.
To a large extent, our self-esteem and well-being depend greatly on the degree to which we feel that the significant others around us value and accept us, so it is not surprising that high social recognition makes us enjoy greater health.
Since social recognition is so important for our psychological well-being and performance, both clinical and organizational psychology are very aware of the importance of the group on the life of the person.
It is for this reason that both in a psychotherapy context and in the management of a company, everything possible should be done so that the person feels that they are valued socially, since the more social recognition they perceive, the faster the therapeutic effects of the therapy will come. and the more productive you will be at work.
Types of social recognition
The history of social recognition research is long, taking both a purely social and clinical perspective. Likewise, it is known that not all samples of social recognition are the same and, in fact, we could speak of two types: recognition for conformity and recognition for difference. Both are very important for the mental health of the person, although they have different implications depending on the area in which they appear. Ideally, the person achieves an adequate balance between the two.
Recognition for conformity
Recognition for conformity is the need that human beings have to feel that we fit within our reference group. In order to fit in, what we do is share values, ideas and lifestyles of those people that matter to us, in order to be more like them and feel like part of the group.
Evolutionary psychology has tried to explain why human beings behave in this way, in fact, it considers this to be a pattern of behavior that was especially important in prehistoric times.
Although we are a fairly intelligent species, human beings are very weak and alone we can hardly survive in nature. For this reason, in order to overcome adversity, it was necessary for people to form tribes, trying to fit into them, creating a feeling of belonging and forming group cohesion.
Those prehistoric men and women who did not feel the need to gain recognition from others, that is, who did not strive to fit into or be accepted into tribes, ended up alone. Being exposed to the dangers of nature alone they were less likely to survive and have offspring.
As practically none of the solitary prehistoric human beings had offspring, the vast majority of modern humans have inherited the impulse to seek social recognition in others, in fact, it is one of the strongest impulses that we beings have. humans.
Recognition for difference
Recognition for difference is the need that human beings have to be valued for our differences, especially for those that make us better or be above others. In addition to feeling that we fit within a group, sharing its main characteristics, we also want to stand out among our peers.
A group is not a bunch of people who hardly differ from each other, but a set of individuals who have aspects in common but whose differences give them diversity. Each person has personality traits and knowledge, their distinctive mark, what allows them to say that they are special and that others know how to detect and see as something positive.
The branch that has tried to explain why human beings need to be recognized for our differences has been neuropsychology. This argues that when people see that there is some characteristic that makes us better than others, our brain begins to secrete serotonin and dopamine, that is, hormones that induce psychological well-being.
Through the search for the recognition of our differences, human beings look for this shot of hormones of happiness, in addition to increasing our self-esteem. It should be noted that self-esteem can only be built properly if the positive characteristics that we may have are recognized by others, or the part of them that we have as references, characteristics that are no longer special and, therefore, lose strength if other people they also share them.
Mental health benefits
There are several benefits of social recognition, especially on a psychological level. As long as there is a correct balance between recognition for difference and recognition for conformity, we can talk about the following positive aspects of feeling that other people value us positively and accept us in their group or community:
Increase our well-being and self-esteem
The most obvious effect is that it increases our well-being. As we mentioned, feeling recognized socially, both fitting in with the group and feeling better with respect to other people, makes our brain release neurotransmitters that make us feel better. Feeling more accepted translates into an increase in our happiness and also in our self-esteem.
Enhance vicarious learning
It may seem that, at first, learning and social recognition do not have much to do, but it really does, especially with vicarious learning, an idea proposed by Albert Bandura. Vicarious learning is the acquisition of knowledge that occurs through the observation of important people, such as our parents, teachers or colleagues. We learn by imitation.
This type of learning is especially effective in environments where there is social recognition. Otherwise, it is more difficult to learn from the rest of the members, since we will not see them as examples to follow, we will ignore them or, we may even be afraid of how they may treat us, especially if we are very insecure or we perceive them as threats.
Importance at the organizational level
Not only does it benefit mentally and personally, but also social recognition can be the great ally of the employer, increasing productivity.
Social recognition has a decisive influence on improving the results of an organization, making its employees more satisfactorily and quickly meet the objectives that are proposed, have higher sales, increase efficiency and a host of positive phenomena that every employer wants. occur in your company.
As we said, personally, social recognition has a positive impact on self-esteem, motivation and performance, aspects that are very beneficial in any organization. A motivated worker who does his job well and who feels comfortable in the company is a more productive worker. If his boss and colleagues recognize the good that he has, this worker will develop a stronger sense of belonging in the organization, showing a greater commitment to the company.
Instead of belittling workers or simply patting them every once in a while, company bosses and other colleagues will recognize the worth of their workers as well as congratulate their achievements, employers will soon have financial benefits.
Basically, making workers feel social recognition is, in the long run, getting money out of thin air. An investment is made using only good words and gestures of appreciation and appreciation, which result in higher productivity and, therefore, more money.
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