“What can we know? What are we all? Poor silly half-brained things peering out at the infinite, with the aspirations of angels and the instincts of beasts.” – Arthur Conan Doyle
The problem as I see it, after a lifetime of being a therapist, is that we are all vulnerable on some level. What we know and do about it is the real test.
There are some areas that we carry over from childhood and how we were treated. The messages that go way back before we knew what was happening can hurt us for our entire lives. If you heard a bad message from day one you can believe it, no matter what happens later on in your life. That echo remains. It is very hard to change it.
It can be about how you look, how you do not measure up to parents’ expectations, how you compare to others in the family and so on. It can continue and be delivered subtlety or directly. No matter what, you will get the message. It can be a strong or weak message and you will have to deal with it in your own way with your own personality.
Some choose to laugh it off, some try to deny it, some fight it mildly or vigorously. No matter what, it is an element that must be dealt with and hopefully not incorporated to the extent that you are damaged for life. It can prevent you from full relationships and can cause depression, self- doubt, and in essence thwart you in your endeavors or prevent you from even trying. It can also provide you with an excuse for things that are ‘wrong’ in your life. Then the responsibility is lifted from you.
Now none of this is usually done maliciously, but then again, none of us has to be licensed to be a good parent.
We just do what we learned from our own parents usually.
We also get messages from other adults and from our peers. Those can underline and reinforce the first ones or they can present new ideas that can benefit our self- image. That is often helpful.
All of this can be out of our control at first, and then we can see it, and may want to change what we learned. We all need to take a look at our lives from time to time.
As we grow and mature we may stay angry and want to pay back the people closest to us, or the world, for our hurt, or we can decide consciously to make our life better.
No one is perfect and we often have an unreal image of what the ‘perfect’ person should be. We have imaginary ideas and our media does not help. We never see a whole picture. We only get glimpses.
The men and women presented to us are fit and beautiful, with wonderful relationships, good children, and lots of expensive things. Not a real life behind the scenes. Often when the picture perfect image crumbles we are shocked.
We all have that Achilles’ heel and the people who trigger our response learn how to ‘get’ us.
The people who then decide to live on the surface of life, and not get too close, in order to not be hurt are all around us.
They have gulfs between them and are miserable ‘stranger companions.’
It is terrifying to be completely vulnerable and not everyone can do it. They are the lonely people who spend their entire lives longing for a closeness that eludes them. There is no shared depth of feeling. The worst is that they live with indifference. They protect themselves from being swallowed up they believe or finding their
Achilles’ heel is felt like death itself.
What is troubling today is what our technology has delivered. People are texting one another all the time. They share where they are, what they are doing, and so on, but the real eyeball communication is not there. The sharing of feelings and what really matters is elusive.
Genuine openness is not in their repertoire. What they feel about themselves is keeping them from being free emotionally and taking that chance. They are almost never spontaneous and look for relief from a wide variety of sources that do not meet the deep hole inside.
Being rejected is part and parcel of the human experience. Most of us handle it and move on. Our egos and sense of self is strong enough to combat it and not let it do us in. Our Achilles’ heel can still have a foot that can kick! Being genuine and not appeasing people to be accepted, is a great goal.
We have to fight off the early ‘bad’ messages, and find ourselves, and ultimately like who we are, good and bad. It is often a rough road, but look at the people who have overcome all sorts of obstacles, whether looking awful, to not being real smart, or successful, and look at what they have accomplished. We all have something to be loved about. We all have something to make this a better world. Find yours!!
“The greatest happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved- loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.” – Victor Hugo