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Social Confidence: Introduction

How others treat us is essential to our emotional health

One of the key concepts found on this website is drawn from the work of Harry Stack Sullivan, upon whose work Interpersonal Therapy has evolved.  Sullivan believed whether or not a person feels loved and accepted is the central factor that determines our emotional health.  If a person feels that those who are close to her love, support and accept her, she typically will grow up feeling secure and relatively free from anxiety.  If a person feels that those who are close to her do not love and accept her, she is likely to grow up with emotional health related issues. 

If we don't follow social etiquette people feel uncomfortable around us

Sullivan also believed that social customs and social norms are integral to our society.   Human culture and customs have been developed over thousands of years, and in Sullivan’s thinking, people in society typically feel safe, if those around them are adhering to basic customs and norms.  In fact the reason these customs have developed, are in order that people feel safe in society and social situations, since they provide a certain amount of predictability in social situations. 

Sullivan uses the term ‘The Self’ to refer to all the parts of our behaviour that related to following social customs and that have developed in order to ensure that people around us respond well to us.  Sullivan believed that in order for others to feel safe and happy around us, it is essential that we learn to follow social customs and protocol.  The healthy development of this part of our personality is therefore an integral to our emotional health. 

Sullivan also believed that we must balance our attention between following our own personal desires as well as social customs and etiquette, and that one will need to find a good balance between those two, often conflicting requirements in order to develop strong emotional health.  If one is too concerned with following social requirements, one may neglect too many of her own desires.  As always, a healthy balance must be established for optimal development. 

Bearing in mind the importance Sullivan attributes to developing strong social awareness and social skills in order to become emotionally stable, this section of the website is dedicated to discussing issues relating to social skills and social awareness. 



Click on the headings below to be taken to the following section:

  1. LLS Fundamental Principle 1: How people treat us is central to our emotional health
  2. Focusing on how we come across



(Please click on the headings on the left pannel in order to be taken to pages found within this section of the website.)