Sunday, June 30, 2013

More common human desires

One desire that seems to be common to almost everyone is the desire to be "normal."  I cannot tell you the relief many patients express  when I tell them their symptoms have a name and that other people share their experience.  Maybe this can be attributed to not wanting to feel alone.  People are comforted to hear that what they are feeling is "normal."  This is why support groups are often helpful.  Connecting with other people who have been through what you've been through or who have thoughts and feelings similar to your own creates a unique bond.  This is related to our need to be understood.  After all, who can understand you better than someone who has had a similar experience or whose suffering in some way mirrors your own?  When we connect with a group of people who have been through similar hardships we experience a sense of belonging. 

Another common need among people is the need for validation.  To validate another person is simply to say, "It is okay to feel what you feel.  It is okay to do what you're doing.  It is okay to be the way you are."  Validation both normalizes and communicates understanding.  It can also serve to remove shame.  People sometimes become convinced that they should not feel how they feel or that there is something wrong with the way they are.  This creates feelings of shame and guilt.  To hear from another person that the way you feel is okay or that there is nothing wrong with the way you are can provide an enormous sense of relief.  In some ways it gives a person permission to experience their feelings freely.

I am frequently struck by how many things seem to be common to all of us.  It reminds me again and again that no matter our differences, most of us want the same things.


  1. I wish your profession is common here in my country because it's not. We always just rely on our family and friends to have a support group to feel we belong and to feel validated.

    Can I message you privately?

  2. I guess I am in the minority because I like being different than the *crowd*. I do understand what you are conveying though.


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