Do you find yourself thinking that it must be more to life? If the world got you down, perhaps you are asking yourself what is the key to a fulfilling life? More and more women are experiencing loneliness despite delivering societal expectations. A survey conducted before the pandemic showed that over 30% of adults in the United States reported feeling lonely regularly. Similar trends have been observed in various other countries and since, and it is fair to say that with 50% of adults experiencing loneliness, loneliness is a pandemic itself.
Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California, Riverside, talks about women reimagining happiness and being almost hard-wired into Americans’ DNA: “Human beings are remarkably resilient. There’s lots and lots of evidence that we adapt to everything. We move forward”. Women are known for their resilience but where do you start building the life you want and how do you navigate social wellbeing beyond traditional roles?
This article looks into the five essential components of social wellbeing, as proposed by Corey Keyes, and explores the profound impact they have on our overall life satisfaction. Discover the science behind why some people radiate happiness, and learn how you can harness these principles to unlock your own path to a more meaningful and contented life. We also curated two books to help you along the way.
Women are navigating the stormy waters of social wellbeing
Historically, societal norms and expectations have often placed women in the role of homemakers and caregivers, while men were typically expected to be the primary providers for the household. This traditional gender role division has shaped the way women and men have approached life satisfaction and social wellbeing. Even when we understand the historical dynamics on women being king makes and ‘ behind a successful man is a good woman’, we invite you to explore how they intersect with the components of social wellbeing, particularly in the context of women who were conditioned to find satisfaction within the confines of their homes.
- Social Integration: For many women in the past, social integration was largely centred around their family and immediate community. Women were often responsible for maintaining close relationships within the family, and this strong bond with family members played a significant role in their social integration. However, limited opportunities for social engagement beyond the household may have led to feelings of isolation.
- Social Contribution: Historically, women’s contributions to society were often undervalued and confined to the domestic sphere. While their role in raising children and managing the home was essential, this limited scope of social contribution could sometimes leave women feeling unfulfilled in terms of broader societal impact.
- Social Coherence: The traditional role of women as homemakers was closely tied to maintaining social coherence within the family unit. They were expected to be the emotional anchors and peacemakers, fostering a sense of belonging and shared values within the household.
- Social Actualization: Opportunities for self-actualisation were often constrained for women in traditional gender roles. Their focus was primarily on nurturing others and self-actualization beyond the home was often secondary.
- Social Acceptance: The concept of social acceptance was closely linked to conformity with traditional gender norms. Women who adhered to these roles were more likely to gain social acceptance, while those who challenged these norms often faced resistance or discrimination.
As societies have evolved, these traditional gender roles have also transformed. Many women have broken free from these confines and pursued careers, education and various other opportunities, expanding their social integration, contribution, coherence, actualization and acceptance. However, the historical conditioning still has lasting effects in some cases.
Recognizing the impact of historical gender roles is crucial in understanding and addressing disparities in social well-being. It’s important to continue promoting gender equality, encouraging women to pursue their goals and ambitions, and providing support for their social well-being, as this not only benefits women but society as a whole by tapping into the full potential of all its members.
Re-imagining social wellbeing to build the life you want
Building your social skills is the first step in re-imagining social wellbeing and building the life you want. There are many books that could help you along the way and we curated two titles. “How to Talk to Anyone About Anything: Improve Your Social Skills, Master Small Talk, Connect Effortlessly, and Make Real Friends” by James W. Williams is your all-in-one toolkit for becoming a master communicator and forging meaningful connections with people from all walks of life. In a world where effective communication is a priceless asset, this book is your go-to resource to unlock your full social potential.
One of the standout features of this book is its adaptability. It equips you with the knowledge and techniques to converse with anyone, regardless of their background or interests. From casual chit-chat to deep, meaningful conversations, this book empowers you to engage authentically and build connections that matter. You’ll gain the tools to not only make a memorable impression but also foster genuine connections that can lead to real, enduring friendships.
“Build the Life You Want” authored by Arthur C. Brooks and Oprah, is a book that breaks down complex concepts into understandable terms, empowering you with actionable strategies to take control of your destiny. The authors generously share the wisdom they’ve gained from their own remarkable lives and careers. Their stories are a testament to the power of these strategies, making the book a rich source of inspiration and relatability.
Every page of “Build the Life You Want” is a treasure trove of knowledge and practical advice, your personalized blueprint for crafting a better, more meaningful life.
Social integration and social coherence can foster a sense of belonging and acceptance, while social contribution and social actualization provide opportunities for personal growth within the social context.
To enhance social wellbeing and life satisfaction, women to develop their social skills and at the same time, need more support from communities to work on strengthening these components. Initiatives to reduce loneliness, promote social inclusion, encourage volunteerism and celebrate diversity can all contribute to improved social wellbeing, which, in turn, positively impacts women’s overall quality of life. It’s important to recognize that addressing these components collectively is vital for creating not only the life you want but changing the narrative for the next generations.
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