||ERINWORLD - your personal guide to wellness||
Humans are undeniably social animals - even the most introverted among us - and it pays off to invest in ensuring you build a satisfying, loving, and dependable social network. Some people have a much harder time doing this than others, but your persistence will pay off. Here's some tips.
Where to begin?
To understand yourself and your needs, we need to start by taking a very large step back in time. Why? to understand how we evolved and developed socially in a historical context. It is within that context that our modern brains developed. When you know what we are best evolved to deal with, it clarifies what it is you probably need and seek in your social life.
What was a human social life like during most of the history of humanity? (in other words, for the last 2.5 million years before the present day). For one thing, you'd usually have only 9 to 23 individuals in your social circle, and that social circle was tight-knit and long-lived. Your closest ties were with your siblings, parents, mates, and clan or village. Most never left their territory their entire lives and relied heavily on one another. Elder wisdom was valued, as writing did not exist - everything from herbal wisdom to winter migration paths had to be remembered and passed down using word-of-mouth or paintings. Multiple wives were common, polygamy was common, homosexuality was common, and so was monogamy - sexual unions really depended on the society.
In most societies, your family line and name was passed down from your father's side (paternal), but some were passed by the mother (maternal). Tracing or naming after the mother's line, as is done by Native Americans, is more accurate, because while many men could potentially attempt to impregnate a woman, and the father can never be certain, only one woman can ever be your biological mother.
Marriage at puberty or in the mid teen years has been considered normal through most of recorded history - typically 14 to 16. A woman reaches peak fertility at age 22. Women, living in such tight knit and extremely interdependent social groups, often shared in the rearing and even breastfeeding of children. Although it may seem foreign to modern Westerners, this is still very common in the third world, such as Africa. People had many children because many of them would die due to infectious diseases and injury. As recently as 100 years ago nearly half of all children born in developed societies like England died! These days, few children and babies die, so people don't need to give birth to as many any more.
Markets, trading, and bartering was very important through much of history, and the importance of trade has grown substantially with time as humans have become more mobile. Work and industry has always been a part of human life, though through most of history the product often went no further than yourself, your social circle, or village. These days the market is global and the Internet its bloodstream, offering individuals many more opportunities to trade without their profits being skimmed by middlemen.
In the past, virtually all human celebrations and holidays centered around cyclical things in nature, or celebrating and encouraging essential fertility. Modern, newer religious holidays have been layered on top of those ancient aboriginal and pagan ones:
Putting it all in today's context
Obviously society has changed drastically in the past few hundred years, and the past 150 in particular for developed Western countries. It has been challenging for many to cope, and if you compare how we live now to how we lived through most of history, you can see why. It's a time of great change and increased mental demands (and distraction).
Taking into account the extended life expectancy, medical advances, and information overload of today's modern era, among other things, here are my suggestions for improving your social situation:
If you take good care of yourself, lead by example, and try out some of the tips listed above, it is inevitable that you will be happy with your social life - or at least happier than you used to be! :)