Advocacy groups often use a technique called Social Liberation to encourage healthier living in their constituency. Social Liberation is dependent on the positive effects of social conformity, a powerful phenomenon that solidifies society and culture. Social Liberation creates opportunities and avenues for the constituency to come together, often with the goal clearly stated, such as minority health fairs.
Social Liberation brings the goal to the attention of new people by drawing them in using an established sense of community or identity; rather than a minority advocacy group offering a health fair, a health advocacy group could sponsor a minority cultural fair. It is also easier to try something new or seek out new information when you feel comfortable as an accepted part of the group. These goals are made acceptable to new people by demonstrating that others like them share this goal, opinion, or value. Social Liberation also utilizes the therapeutic factor of Universality, making it clear to people that they are not alone in their struggle and Instilling Hope. This is why people join social networks, bulletin boards, and other groups dedicated to a single purpose.
Most importantly, how can you use the idea of Social Liberation to help you reach your own goals? Seek out any form of social group like a support group, social network, fitness class, email blast, or online group where you can find and share encouragement, information, tips, and motivation. Seek out social events that are in line with or where you can meet others who are in line with your goals. This could be a walkathon, a restaurant that does not allow smoking, a lecture, or a book signing.
Humans tend to seek out those who are most like us and tend to become like those who surround us. I only started running after dating a marathoner. I could not imagine running prior to that, but cannot imagine not now. When you surround yourself with those who are striving for and living the values and goals you desire in your own life, it will be easier for you to add these to your own life. Take advantage of opportunities for social events that support your goals; when you are socially satisfied and happier with your life, you will have more energy to work on life change.
January 18th, 2009