On December 20, at the gates of Christmas, the International Day of Human Solidarity is celebrated, a date established by the UN in 2005 to promote initiatives for the eradication of poverty in the world and the fulfillment of the Development Goals Sustainable Development of the 2030 Agenda.
But beyond international solidarity , individual solidarity is also key to coexistence. In addition, as a general rule, solidarity is not only beneficial for those who receive it, but also for those who carry it out, because helping others makes us feel good on a psychological level , as Rafael San Román, Psychologist at the ifeel psychological support platform.
Greater self-esteem, more social ties and a way to channel our emotions
The impulse to help others is intrinsic to the human being, as it benefits society as a whole. Perhaps that is why, as a general rule, we feel good when we are in solidarity. Although it provides us with many benefits on a psychological level, according to Rafael San Román, the most important is that it raises our self-esteem, “since it gives us a favorable, prosocial, generous and empathic image of ourselves, as well as allowing us to do useful things for others. people, thereby reinforcing our sense of self-efficacy ”.
From a psychoanalytic point of view, solidarity brings what psychologists call ‘narcissistic satisfaction’ “in the good sense of the word narcissism, since it makes us be useful and kind to others and that is rewarding and very positive., we code it as a ‘My actions indicate that I am good’ ”, highlights San Román.
“Acts of solidarity allow us to get out of the role of passive spectator in the face of a foreign evil and get down to work, act … instead of passively witnessing it”
On the other hand, it reinforces our social ties, since it is “very cohesive with the group, it conveys a feeling of being out of difficulties together. Even if it is unconsciously, it can give us security, in the sense that solidarity has something of ‘today for you, tomorrow for me’. In this way, by being in solidarity, we sow in case in the future we are the ones who need the solidarity of others. Also, helping others is rewarding, satisfying and, why not say it, beautiful. “
This also helps to channel emotions, “acts of solidarity allow us to get out of the role of passive spectator in the face of an alien evil and get down to work, act … and this can have a positive effect to regulate our sadness, anguish or indignation for what it happens to others. It allows us to have a sense of control and influence over the evil of others, instead of passively witnessing it ”.
These beneficial effects do not occur in all cases, especially when we do it out of obligation, “if we do it due to group pressure or without deep conviction of what it does, I understand that the effects for its self-image, its emotional well-being, will be milder, or null ”, he clarifies.
“Helping others is rewarding, satisfying and, why not say it, beautiful”
If we are supportive and feel good about it, then does it become a selfish act? According to San Roman, a selfish act does not have to be something negative, but on the contrary, “I cannot help feeling good about myself for helping others, and there is nothing wrong with that satisfaction.
It is selfish because I live it, it is due to something I have done, but it is not selfish in the sense of ungenerous or egotistical. It is a natural selfishness. It is not possible to do something good for others because we think that it is something good and fair and we are moved by compassion and generosity and then not feeling good about ourselves for doing it. It wouldn’t make sense, ”he says.
Solidarity is ‘contagious’
At Christmas there is an explosion of solidarity, something that, although it is still positive, has more to do with a social and cultural convention, “we have learned socially that there are certain times of the year when we must pay special attention to others, to be more careful, have a more virtuous conduct, etc.
All this comes, of course, from the religious context, but there are many people who are alone and in need, and then the religious precept is included, but also the civil one of looking more at those who have less, even if it is only at a specific time of year ” , clarifies.
In addition, solidarity has something ‘contagious’, if we see that people around us are supportive, we tend to do the same, “Human beings are very imitative and we learn many behaviors by simple observation, sometimes in a not very reflective way, simply because we see that others do them and we come to the conclusion that we should also do them. The same happens with aggressiveness and with so many other reactions that have a strong emotional component ”.
Dates indicated separately, solidarity does not stop being something very personal and intimate that each one perceives and carries out in a different way, because “while there are people for whom an act of solidarity is something specific, other people incorporate it into their daily habits, or they even make solidarity one of the pillars of their profession, for example. All these factors greatly influence the internal resonance that our own acts of solidarity have in us ”, Rafael concludes.