As human beings, we are raised with a certain perception of our identity and self. This perception is largely influenced by our parents’ attitudes towards the importance of others’ opinions and the level of control they exert over us. As a middle-aged woman, I grew up with the notion of being a “good girl” and was burdened with perfectionism and societal pressure to conform to traditional feminine ideals.
Renowned philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre famously claimed that humans live in a state of suffering. This suffering often manifests in our relationships when we encounter someone who criticizes us, and we struggle to accept that their words may be directed towards us.
While this could potentially be a form of gaslighting, we are aware that what triggers our anger during an argument is an internal voice that resonates like the sound of breaking glass. It shakes us from within and makes us question, “Could what they are saying be true?” This internal conflict then leads us into a state of denial. And so begins the process of questioning.
This concept of questioning competes with denial in every second of our lives, in every incident that happens to us. Different people respond to these questions in different ways – some face them head-on, while others choose to deny them indefinitely. Some may even grieve over these questions, but eventually find the strength to rebuild their sense of self. It is important to note that this process can occur at any age.
One of the factors that can undermine our true concept of self is the inability to accept our flaws and acknowledge that we are not perfect or flawless individuals. It is important to delve into this further.
Why do we often feel vulnerable and incapacitated when someone suggests letting go of perfectionism? The reason lies in the fact that perfectionism can create a metaphorical “mansion” in our minds, triggering the release of dopamine in our brains. This “dream palace” we construct can ensnare us indefinitely in an illusionary pursuit of perfection.
Accepting ourselves for who we truly are is paramount in our journey as human beings. However, it is equally crucial to recognize that constantly comparing ourselves to others is unproductive. Ignoring our own struggles and suffering is akin to hibernating and never truly awakening in the spring of our live.