Natives Foster Happy People Without Overthinking

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From Psychology Today: “In 1975, Jean Liedloff shocked Americans with her book, The Continuum Concept: In Search of Happiness Lost. She reflected on her multiple stays in the Amazon living with the Tauripan, Yequana, and Sanema peoples, who were healthy and happy beyond her imaginings.

She was amazed at the differences in child-raising between the US and these ‘primitive’ people. They were far from primitive but intuitively loving towards their children, raising intelligent and healthy adults.

She suggested that U.S. child-raising practices were undernourishing or even destructive . . .

Over her multiple visits to the Amazon, Liedloff reflected on what felt right or wrong — for a baby and for herself. For a baby carried virtually 24/7:

‘The feeling appropriate to an infant in arms is his feeling of rightness, or essential goodness. The only positive identity he can know, being the animal he is, is based on the premise that he is right, good, and welcome. Without that conviction, a human being of any age is crippled by a lack of confidence, a full sense of self, of spontaneity, of grace. All babies are good, but can know it themselves only by reflection, by the way they are treated … Without the sense of being right, one has no sense of how much one ought to claim of comfort, security, help, companionship, love, friendship, things, pleasure or joy. A person without this sense often feels there is an empty space where he ought to be.’ (p. 34)”

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Great article and common sense. Although the amazon and tribes are just a whole different ball game from western society.
    I’m not sure a baby would like being with his mom as she is working in a busy ER or perhaps a cop or what have you. Our society does not have soothing work environments.
    Possibly we could create a whole new bunch of humans that are not overwhelmed by the crazy noise and activity.
    Imagine a mother taking her newborn to wall street. I think the laid back lifestyle and small community in all it’s simplicity is what makes for a happier people.

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