Social psychology is a field of the social sciences that explores how we as individuals move through and are influenced by other people, groups and society at large. Social psychology helps us to understand behavior and internal states.

Why should this be important to you? Whether we are introverted or extroverted we are social creatures, dependant on others in one way or another. Our success in life is a result of how we think, feel and behave. Yet, much of how we operate, how we perceive ourselves and the world around us is learned.

The presence of others, currently and throughout our history, influences how we see ourselves, what goals we choose, how we motivate ourselves, the strategies we accept, the meaning we give to situations and whether or not we make real progress.

To add to this traditional definition of social psychology, I would argue that the shaping or influencing of our self-concept if often outside of our awareness. It is only by becoming aware of how external forces have, and continue to, influence our sense of self, that we can begin to program a new reality for ourselves. Deciding to become a solution-focused amateur social scientist increases awareness and allows us to develop better strategies for creating a better, more fulfilling life.

When we allow other people, groups and society at large to exert control over our sense of self we fail to become the confident CEO of our lives. We cannot live a life that is meaningful and happy unless we are growing, expanding and experiencing a sense of control or personal mastery.

Terri Lee Cooper MSc RSW

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