Rollo May on social acceptance

“An important reason for the feeling of loneliness arises from the fact that our society lays such great emphasis on being socially accepted. (…) We always have to prove we are a ‘social success’ by being forever sought after and by never being alone. If one is well-liked, that is, socially successful – so the idea goes – one will rarely be alone; not to be liked is to have lost out in the race. (…) If one mentions at a party that he likes to be alone, not for a rest or an escape, but for its own joys, people will think that something is vaguely wrong with him.”

“Since the dominant values for most people in our society are being liked, accepted and approved of, much anxiety in our day comes from the threat of not being liked, being isolated, lonely or cast off. [And so] many people judge the value of their actions not on the basis of the action itself, but on the basis of how the action is accepted. (…) People are deathly afraid of standing on their own convictions at the risk of being renounced by the group.”

– Rollo May