The importance of “counting for others”

In the United States, the slogan of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is “you count(“You matter”), the expression black lives matter draws attention to racism by reaffirming the idea that “Black Lives Matter”. It is not surprising, therefore, that francine in Russian became interested in this idea of ​​”counting for others” for Scientific American magazine.

As psychology and sociology theorize this concept of “counting for others”, a consensus is established: “There are no other constructs that help understand people’s need to feel valued and considered important by others.explains Gordon Flett, author of a book on the subject. Counting can intersect with self-esteem, social support, a sense of belonging, but it’s still different.

Since the 1980s, sociologists and psychologists have attempted create stairs of measurement and agree on three crucial key points:

  • Awareness: Do others pay attention to you or pass you by?
  • Importance: Do others genuinely care about your well-being?
  • Confidence: Do people come to you for help or advice?

For Gordon Flett, it’s a feeling that can be reassessed in therapy: “people can learn to relate to others in a way that cultivates counting.»

In addition, according to the psychologist, this feeling is part of childhood and is partly because of that “having neglectful parents is so destructive“. In 2009, a study found that teenagers who felt fewer in their family engage in more antisocial, aggressive, or self-destructive behavior. It is easily checked in forums Internet where adolescents who evoke suicidal thoughts invoke once in two the fact of not counting for others.

At the base

This feeling of counting comes as much from the personal relationships that one maintains with the other as from one’s own professional situation and the place one occupies within a community. And that can have important consequences. In a national survey among American nurses, those who reported a high sense of involving others were less likely to burn out. They evoked this feeling with their patients, as well as their place with their colleagues.

We also learn from the Scientific American article that there are gender differences in the appreciation of this sentiment. The women testifya higher level impression of counting for others than men. The latter would rather tend to feel important according to their social and professional status and women according to their relationship with others, their role as mother or friend.

A strong link has been established between caring for others and suicidal and even homicidal thoughts. Several studies have shown that people who commit a mass shooting at a school have a significant deficit of this feeling

Therefore, this concept is at the heart of suicide prevention hotline programs in the United States: listeners are informed to guide callers towards an improvement in this feeling. Sometimes, we can read in Scientific American, “For an abused or neglected child, a caring adult (a loved one, a teacher, or a sports coach) can make a difference. Once he thinks someone cares about him, he can no longer say that no one cares.»

If you have suicidal thoughts, call Suicide Listening on 01 45 39 40 00, or check their website, Suicide Listening.

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