Friday, December 01, 2006

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0373 - Tributes

One of the books I've been reading recently is entitled Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships. The basic premise of the book by Daniel Goleman is that "we are wired to connect".

Today, with all its discomfort and disappointment, reminded me of how important our connections really are to our sense of identity and general wellbeing. Although I never name names on this blog, owing to respect for personal privacy (the exception being those who are already public by virtue of publication), I truly wish today that I could break that guideline. Why? Friends and acquaintances have written or called to express their solidarity with me and my family about my health concerns. I wish I could pay tribute to them individually, but that would break the rules. So, those of you who wrote or called, you know who you are and I pay tribute to you for proving Goleman's contention that we are wired to connect.

I've written previously about cancer and optimism in this blog, but today I am reminded that optimism is not a purely internal psychological phenomenon. It is dependent to some extent on significant others in our life. Because we are biologically predisposed to connecting with others, it should come as no surprise that others affect our moods greatly. In times of disappointment, a simple call saying "I'm pulling for you" or an e-mail saying "We think of you everyday" or a simple stop in my wife's office to say "I heard about what you are going through and just wanted to let you know I care" - those are ways in which we connect with and strengthen one another. Something psychological happens, to be sure. But something biological happens as well. Our spirits lift and we see things differently. Optimism increases and life seems better than it did even a few hours previously. I'm sure that if we were wired up to some machine measuring hormonal activity, we would see improvements in those hormones which influence good moods.

In addition to expressions of care and concern, there is also the wisdom of good advice. "So the doctor didn't say there was anything to worry about, did he? Well, worrying is probably a waste of time and energy, don't you think? If you can, maybe you should just wait one week and see what he says then." Yeah. The logic is inescapable.

So, for those who know who you are, thanks from the bottom of my heart.

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