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Need of Acceptance

Updated December 29, 2021
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Need of Acceptance essay

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As humans it is within our nature to want to belong with other individuals which can range from a social group, to a team, to a religious group, or on a peer to peer basis. We long for acceptance throughout the many stages of our life, looking to gain attention in conjunction with affection because we are predominately social creatures. This can have major influences on how individuals carry themselves and, in some cases, can cause alterations in views, attitudes, or perception of themselves and the world around them. Throughout history it has been shown that the unification of companionship is essential to life even through religion in the instance of Adam being lonely thus Eve was created as his companion. What causes humans to have a need to belong or to affiliate with others? This paper will view some of the reasons this need occurs such as biological, physical, emotional, cognitive, and/or social factors that can be deemed as contributions elevating our understanding of the inability to resist acceptance.

This somewhat overpowering need for a human to find their place is often referred to as belongingness which can be defined as the state of being essential to another individuals life or a sense of belonging in society. From our initial stages of birth until our later years in life there is an uncanny need to be appreciated by the outside world making humans very dependent to factors surrounding them. We see this in the purest form as infants depend on their caregivers while also learning and socializing with their peers. It is written that “By the age of 4, children begin to make evaluative judgments about two different aspects of themselves (Leaper & Bigler, 2011): cognitive and physical competence” (Shriner, Shriner 2014).

From birth into the stages of early childhood is where the sense of self-esteem enters its early stages of development and regression along with emergence of self-concept. These stages of acceptance are crucial to a child and in some cases, can be detrimental if there is a lack of which can continue into adulthood. There are a multitude of reasons why it is important for children to instinctively belong and one of the largest is survival because success in tasks such as hunting and maintaining protection is often increased in group settings. Research has found “when older children (8- and 9-year-olds) are excluded from an online ball game in the laboratory, it impacts negatively on their mood, their self-esteem, their sense of control and even the extent to which they judge their own existence to be meaningful” (Over, 2016).

The theory of self-determination expresses that it is essential to care for another person to psychologically function optimally in our existence. In fact, the need to belong is so deep in our psyche that denial of acceptance can generate responses comparable to physical agony. This flows in concurrence with the decreasing of self-esteem which doesn’t improve much until “after hitting its lowest point around the age of 12 or 13, self-esteem gradually starts to increase (Harter & Whitesell, 2003), perhaps as a result of an adolescent’s ability to adjust the ideal self to better reflect reality” (Shriner, Shriner 2014). The necessity to belong has prevalent ties in evolution because it was needed in the reproduction process to survive which now contributes to internal mechanisms that unconsciously drive humans to want to be socially and emotionally accepted.

Think for example the individuals that stay in unhealthy toxic relationships and there is no logical reason as to why? This is due to how strong the will for them to be in a relationship and feel as though they are accepted can literally consume or alter a person’s judgement. It is the deficiency of acceptance that drives for the requirement to be obtain even more due to the prewired feelings and beliefs within the brain. It is written that “the notion that people need relationships characterized by both regular contact and an ongoing bond has been anticipated to some degree by Weiss (1973; see also Shaver & Buhrmester, 1983), who suggested that feelings of loneliness can be precipitated either by an insufficient amount of social contact (social loneliness) or by a lack of meaningful, intimate relatedness (emotional loneliness)” (Baumeister, 1995).

nother aspect that fuels a yearning to belong is the want to be viewed as equal in most cases for example people are more likely have a cell phone to not be viewed as inferior to an individual that already possess a cell phone versus it being a necessity for survival. Belongingness also differs when the aspect of sex is considered because a male’s quest focuses on power and status while “women’s need to belong is satisfied more through interpersonal dyadic bonds” (Stürmer & Snyder, 2009).

Acceptance also has a dark side when it is not shown usually referred to as rejection which typically involves exclusion of individuals not viewed as equal to their peer counterparts. As previously stated in many researches of this topic in history this often lead to exile or death but in this day and age has developed into a destructive loop called depression. People who suffer from depression are often patronized further by being highly susceptive to continuous exclusion once they have encountered it. Social rejection can contribute to suicide, destructive nature, anger, and in recent studies of school shooters the vast majority of them had faced social rejection.

This is because without acceptance humans typically lack the ability to cope due to our brain registering rejection equivalent to how it deciphers pain. Identity and status make up much of what some human’s sense correlates with their life purpose. The simple fact that acceptance can be presented as a reward and rejection as a reprimand depicts just hoe much power outside opinions potentially can have on a person. More time needs to be taken in reinforcing self-love and proper thought processing of negative aspects of acceptance. Strength is another emotion many connect with the desire to belong in cases where a person that is too receptive and takes a person in without question can be viewed as weak, needy, or foolish in some cases lowering your social standing on the assumption of lack in value of acceptance.

Abraham Maslow believed in a hierarchy of needs which was a belief that the basics of a person’s desires must be met initially before there can be a transition to their higher potential. He held a large humanistic approach towards his views of psychology breaking down the five needs to be satisfied by a human as physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization. Belongingness is third on the list in conjunction with love post meeting the needs of safety along with physiological basics such as water, food, shelter, etc. He believed that interpersonal relationships are key essentials to behavioral influence.

Later as his studies progressed he began to propose that there is flexibility of order which can be impacted by external circumstances. He believed that instead of treating a deprived child with hostility instead “we should come to consider such pleas for acceptance, love, or admiration as legitimate demands or rights, of the same order as complaints of hunger, thirst, cold, or pain, we should automatically become gratifiers rather than frustrators” (Maslow, 1970). He predicted that by doing this both children and parents would have more fun enjoying each other’s companionship more thus equating to more love.

After taking this course studying life and the development of a human being I noticed that children are usually the best subjects to be studied when it comes to an unbiased result of biological and psychological functionality. According to my mother who works as a behavioral specialist employed within a public-school system stated she never encountered where a relationship between school belongingness and mental health functioning of a child going through a transition from elementary school to middle school had ever been investigated in students with and without disabilities.

Therefore, she believes that a need for such an investigation should be in place for the children whom cannot speak for themselves. As an educator for over thirty years she feels that it is extremally important for primary and secondary schools to assess students in school belongingness and mental health areas and allow these records to become part of the transition process as well as a part of each student IEP goals. This would then allow the appropriate scaffolds to be put in place to support those in need. Such findings can open the gates to longer term longitudinal studies which are needed to increase the understanding of the temporal sequencing between select child developments of all mainstream students in conjunction with care givers or primary guardians.

This gave me an opportunity to research studies that touched on subject of this nature. In Western Australia a group of students in their final year of primary school where studied on factors associated with their social-emotional behaviors, participation, and academic adjustment across the progression on to secondary level learning. The structured the study in two waves collecting data from six months prior to graduating into middle school both with and with out mental disorders and again six months after the shift in conjunction with parental or guardian figure as well. Wave one consisted of three hundred and ninety-five students while wave two only gathered data from two hundred and sixty-six selectees.

In the case of school belongingness and the research conducted in this experiment “the 18-item, Psychological Sense of School Membership scale (PSSM) was used to assess students’ perceptions of belongingness in school” (Vaz, 2014). Some elements of the study that where also included to adjust according to demographic data’s where disability, household-SES, and gender from a sum of fifty-two different schools providing a vast controlled area to draw information. The goal that this study achieved was furthering evidence that the feeling of belongingness of students at the final stages of elementary school contributes to alterations in the mental health functionality a year after initial documentation. This shows the importance belonginess has one human development as a person progresses through existence.

This potentially tackles some of the areas prior to the development of low self-esteem leading to a term called learned helplessness. The term learned helplessness can be defined as a belief held by an individual carrying a stigma of inability to obtain personal goals or awards. How this feeling of helplessness alters children stems from the belief the to be successful there is more dependence on ability rather than effort transpiring in a development of internal uncertainty in how able they are to complete tasks leading to a lack of effort completely. The outcome exhibited that “school belongingness (PSSM) was concurrently and longitudinally associated with mental health functioning (SDQ) at both waves of the study” (Vaz, 2014). Further reinstating that no matter what stage of development a human is at the importance of acceptance reigns supreme.

As we grow our desires to fit in grow until the previous of the selected necessity is fulfilled in reference to our individualized hierarchies. One common denominator in the progression of human life is how social we are. The mere fact that none of us what to die alone shows how instinctive the need to belong has grown more and more. Facebook is a prime example of how the lack of social acceptance and acknowledgment can lead individuals to even harm themselves. Genetically we are wired to be loving creatures which is best represented in the infant stages because of their inability to mask feelings and emotions. Humans are very adaptive creatures and through constant research it has been found that even with this ability it is in our nature to feel some form of negative reaction towards a severed relationship.

Overall general happiness in life correlates greatly with generating a close personal relationship with another being in fact, “the main emotional implication of the belongingness hypothesis is that real, potential, or imagined changes in one’s belongingness status will produce emotional responses, with positive affect linked to increases in belongingness and negative affect linked to decreases in it” (Baumeriste, 1995). Thus, showing a small fraction of the reasons this need occurs ranging from biological factors, to emotional necessities, and social factors that can be deemed as contributions elevating our understanding of the inability to resist acceptance allowing transitioning through each level of the personal hierarchy of needs.

Need of Acceptance essay

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