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Social Emotions And How They Impact Our Relationships

Written by: Ailsa Keppie, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Like it or not we are essentially social creatures. We react and respond to our environment and we rely on other people to help form our self-image. We have a spectrum of social emotions that come alive in us as we participate in our social culture and community.

These social emotions can be put into two basic categories depending on whether they make us feel good about ourselves or bad about ourselves. Through these self-conscious emotions, we become aware of what we feel about ourselves and also how we are seen in the eyes of others.

Shame - which includes guilt, embarrassment, and humiliation

Pride - which includes self-esteem, arrogance, and vanity

These social emotions act as a mirror so that we can see ourselves through another’s eyes. Because of this, there is a possibility to receive both helpful or harmful messages about ourselves that can really shape our relationships throughout our entire lives. If we are extremely lucky, we receive more helpful and positive messages growing up but the possibility to be harmed by the underlying messages that are communicated by others, either consciously or unconsciously, is always present.

We can be harmed when someone else communicates the underlying message that we are worth less than they are or even worthless. These types of underlying messages fall on the side of the Shame emotions. See the above diagram.

We could also experience that someone thinks us of higher value than they are, and this could also cause harm, although usually to a less painful degree. This would fall under the Pride category. See above.

Social engagement, trust, love, and compassion are really only experienced when we can feel and communicate with each other as beings of equal worth. In this way, we feel at ease, seen, and heard as our own unique selves.

My curiosity is to support and even build skills for people to learn to regard each other with this equality of humanness. You and I are of equal worth in this world. It is not lost on me that this requires much commitment and attention to the awareness of our social emotions.

Repairing harm, we may have caused to others becomes a moral obligation to look at where we fall short of this equitable stance and to rectify our balance of Shame and Pride in ourselves. We also must be aware of the underlying messages inherent in our communications with others as these messages belie our true thoughts of people around us and of ourselves.

Perhaps an integrated approach that begins with both repairing our view of ourselves and also our views of others so that we think, act, and speak with both sincerity and love. We ask questions such as:

Where do I not accept or love parts of myself?

Where do I judge, envy, or belittle aspects of others?

How can I come into balance so that I mirror back to others and see in myself the perfectly imperfect humanness of all of us?

This is my inquiry. I hope you find something here worthy of pondering in your life and relationships.

With curiosity and love,


Want to learn more from Ailsa? Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and visit her website.


Ailsa Keppie, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Ailsa is a trained intimacy Educator and Somatic Therapist and has been working in hands-on bodywork, somatic coaching, and healing for over a decade. Ailsa Keppie brings aspects from her background in circus arts, physical theatre, music, dance, myofascial release, bioenergetic processes, archetypes, and spirituality to her work with clients. She is a published author of her compelling memoir entitled "By the Light of the Crescent Moon," which describes her incredible journey into Islam and polygamy and how it lead to her awakening and reclamation of her own Eros and power. Ailsa works with individuals, couples, and groups both online and in-person at her retreat center, Our Celtic Hearth, in Nova Scotia, Canada, where she resides with her current life partner.



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