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People Are More Cooperative When They Feel Cared About

Feb 15, 2012

Today I was thinking about how best to help an elderly lady named Stella. I was afraid she would not agree with the ideas my friends and I have for how to help her. They will be talking to her later in person and I was thinking about what to recommend to them since I probably know Stella a bit better than they do, having spent more time with her.

I know, for example, that Stella prides herself on being independent and she doesn't like others telling her what to do. I thought of the "caring vs. control" continuum and I knew I wanted Stella to feel cared about and not controlled. I am afraid Stella could even start to feel a bit defiant if she were to perceive that we were trying to control her - or in other words, if she were to start feeling more controlled than cared about. I also remembered that just because we might have the good intention to help Stella, she might not end up feeling helped unless we are careful.

Then this thought came to mind, "People are more cooperative when they feel cared about." I immediately realized what an important insight that was so I decided to Google it to see if anyone else expressed it in just those words. Here is what I found:

 No results found for "People are more cooperative when they feel cared about."

I believe this tells us a lot about how far society needs to go in terms of understanding one another, and how little our old ideas about caring, control and cooperation have really helped us. In fact, in many ways our old ideas have hurt us greatly and have helped create the situation we find ourselves in today with violence, pain and punishment all being the norms around the world.

A new paradigm is needed in term of human relationships. I believe the EQI.org site goes a long way towards creating such a new paradigm and I will continue to help construct it piece by piece as long as I can. It is my way of making a lasting contribution to humanity.

S. Hein
Brinchang, Cameron Highlands,

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Additional Note - I care a lot about Stella. I feel closer to her than I do my own mother. I don't know exactly how to show Stella I care about her, though. I do know it is more important that she *feels* cared about by me than that I do things to try to show or prove to her that I care.

For Stella to feel cared about by me, I must understand her, and of course she must feel understood by me.

This is very important to me. Stella is not important to many people in the world. Perhaps this is one reason she is so important to me and she means so much to me. She has no family to look after her. No children, no grandchildren. She has only one sister who is older than she is and can't be of any help at all really.

I spent a lot of time with Stella. We get along well together. Or as the Australians say, we "get on" well together. The first words out of Stella's mouth the day we met were, "Who are ya?" Her dogs were barking, yapping all around me. But somehow, over the noise, she saw that she could trust me. I don't want to break that trust. Yet I also have to do what I believe is right in my heart.

The Australians like to say "Do the right thing." I thought about that a lot this morning. I wondered, "How do you know what the right thing is?"

No one else could tell me what to do about this situation regarding Stella. I had to think about it a long, long time. I had to reflect and call upon all the things I have learned in my life and all the things I have taught myself which were not taught in any school, though I attended many for many, many years.

The things I was taught about human relationships, I truly believe, caused me more pain and suffering than if I would have been left alone to simply observe and learn for myself. I learned destructive ways of dealing with people. I learned controlling ways, hurtful ways, manipulative ways. I learned how to threaten, how to make ultimatums, how to punish. All of this causes me pain now when I think of it. And I know in my deepest heart that things do not need to be this way. There is a better way. I am 100% sure of it.

I believe I am on the right track to this "better way" and the results I had so far in this small, but important, situation with Stella have been encouraging so far. I will probably write about it more later but for now I needed to get out this much.

Thank you for reading. And caring.

S. Hein