Mattering, are you familiar with this term? Mattering , the term refers to when you feel significant and valued if you matter to someone or something. Whether you have an impact on your loved ones or colleagues, this feeling of mattering is very significant for your mental health. Even though the concept is not very popular, it’s important.
Why do we crave for this feeling to matter?
Even when you are a small kid , you crave for your parents approval for things. When you grow up , become an employee somewhere then you crave for value for your work. With a romantic partner , you crave appreciation for the things you do for them. All these are good examples of mattering. It’s not a social need but an intrinsic human need. Whatever we do , we feel the need to be valued or appreciated by other people.
It assures us that we matter and our existence has some impact in a good context. Our relationships, decisions and actions are determined by this part of our identity.
However, in society, there are people who don’t feel valued. They feel overlooked or ignored by people which is why they start questioning their own existence. This feeling of being neglected by others leads to mental health issues like depression or anxiety or harmful addictions.
The impact of mattering is that it is connected with the brain’s reward system. Whenever we feel appreciated or valued , our brain releases good hormones like dopamine , serotonin and oxytocin. The key region which is involved in mattering is our prefrontal Cortex which is responsible for complex cognitive functions , social behaviour and decision making ability. When we feel that we matter , our prefrontal Cortex is lightened up which means we are engaged and motivated for our goals.
Mattering is not a fixed state of mind ,which means that it can be altered and nurtured. Being kind to yourself and thinking positive about your existence can help in developing a sense that you matter. Kindness ,love , self compassion , purposeful contribution are all part of nurturing this state of mind.How we perceive ourselves is an important part of our mental well- being.
If we perceive ourselves as unimportant to other people , you develop a sense of isolation and existential crisis which leads to a lot of mental health issues. We stop being happy ,we start criticising ourselves , we perceive ourselves as useless , this feeling leads us to negativity which further distances ourselves from our loved ones. The feeling of loneliness is an important factor in developing anxiety and depression. Validation from other people reduces this feeling of loneliness.
According to a mental and emotional health professional, mattering is a collective endeavour. When we appreciate other’s existence and their contribution, we provide them a sense of belongingness which sends a ripple effect contributing to our own sense of mattering leading us to good mental health.
That’s why feeling like you matter and that your actions have significance can have a positive impact on mental health. It can boost self-esteem, motivation, and overall well-being. Social connections, a sense of purpose, and recognition can all contribute to a feeling of mattering in one’s life.