Carol Gilligan Study Turned Philosophy

A chimpanzee brain at the Science Museum London

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There’s a woman named Carol Gilligan who wrote about the differences between girls and boys in terms of how they were praised in childhood. She wrote about other, more complicated, things as well but I always remember this study. She described how girls were praised for “getting along well” with their friends, while boys were praised for accomplishing things. “Good Boy! Billy! You built that castle really well!”

“Good Boy! Sam! You really did a good job making that airplane fly. “

Reading about this study always made me sad as I wished I had been raised more like a boy as my life would have been less stressful. I think this may be true for a number of women. It may also be true that if both boys and girls were raised with a bit of both the universe would be better off. Perhaps then boys would be more comfortable discussing emotions and girls could more easily get satisfaction from their accomplishments.

I am always doing research into the dating world as that’s what interests me being single myself. I stumbled upon a series of questions designed to find compatibility in a mate last night which made me think of this topic. The question was, “What makes you more nervous, a promising first date or an important job interview?”

My answer was an important job interview. Dating to me is now kind of a fun game. I can’t take it seriously or I wouldn’t keep doing it. I think about it in the same way an athlete get ready for a game: I dress carefully, rehearse positive behavior in my mind, and visualize a positive outcome. I actually enjoy most dates these days as they will either end out in a possible relationship or they won’t. I can’t really tell one way or the other and can only enjoy the time spent with a new person. I believe someone will come along soon who will be exactly right for me and I believe this with all of my heart.

I do, however, get nervous before an important job interview. I always have. It has become somewhat easier as an adult but I still feel anxious and forget to practice positive visualization techniques. I can hear voices in my little brain repeating that I am not as good as other candidates and why should they hire me? I know I have this lack of confidence in my own ability because there were few expectations for us as children in our family. There was already one superstar so to imagine another was pretty impossible.

I often think about Carol Gilligan because in my life I notice how good I feel when I accomplish something whether it is fixing something in my house or finishing a piece for my blog. I like work and always have. I think people who never get satisfaction from work are those to be pitied as it is a sense like no other. If you are having a bad day and find something for yourself to accomplish, I can guarantee you will feel better. It is an amazing thing.

Happy Sunday!

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