If you chase someone else’s approval, life becomes a continuous Procrustean bed, where a person, in fear of not justifying his image, tensely bends into an appropriate approved position and continues to choose any available life scenario, where he is somehow taken in this curved position. And such an existence is universally accepted as something due and right. And it hurts to live like this and it is scary to lose such a life … And people with a twisted psyche walk along their paths, driven a hundred times, and think that the infinity around us is such a dull swamp. Meanwhile, if you are not afraid of criticism and rejections, it becomes clear that life is full of doors with a variety of scenarios. Somewhere they will try to bend us even more for the sake of the local standards and whims. Somewhere we will not like it. And somewhere our person, with their unique qualities, will be able to fit in as well as possible. But to get through this door, it will take the courage to be yourself.
The article turned out to be a little chaotic. I am emphasizing here on relationships, but, in general, the described mechanism can be traced in any activity.
Love and approval
It just so happens that we do not really know ourselves and are not sure of our reality, and therefore we draw self-esteem based on someone else’s opinion. If someone doesn’t like it, self-esteem drops. If something does not go well in work and business, the employer does not respect or the clients are dissatisfied, self-esteem again fluctuates. Hands may drop and a bad feeling may come that you are not worthy of anything good. And if this negative assessment comes from significant and loved people, hesitation can go off scale in extremes – from hysterical joy to depressive blues. Where is the truth?
As long as one is confident that happiness is a consequence of universal love and approval, life cannot be happy. This is even logically understandable, because it is impossible to please and please everyone. Such a life is one continuous duality of triumph and self-loathing, filled with cautious neurotic-obsequious behavior.
It is impossible, and not necessary, to please everyone. Just as the actors have their own narrow circle of fans and admirers, so an individual person can be to their liking – their narrow audience. But it’s often unproductive to try to make people like our person who doesn’t like our persona.
An ordinary inconspicuous person with ordinary interests will find much in common among the same ordinary inconspicuous majority. And the more original the interests and views on life, the less mutual understanding with others, but the more valuable it is. Connections between like-minded people with unique interests can be deeper and stronger. This rule works in both friendships and relationships.
But another person in search of a relationship after the first unsuccessful date is ready to give up on himself. It happens as if he does not know himself at all and determines his place in life solely according to someone else’s opinion about this place. In this situation, the very first refusal of love and respect from “significant others” is perceived as a complete collapse of life – a failure in the fate exam, after which a stamp of a defective personality appears on the forehead.
This mechanism works both in informal relationships and in a professional environment. Everywhere and everywhere we are scared to screw up, we want to make every step ideally, as if somewhere behind our little person the heavenly commission is watching, distributing creatures in its heavenly hierarchy – from losers to successful ones.
You don’t have to put any crosses on yourself. If someone doesn’t like our person, there is no great problem. Others have the right to think what they want. Sometimes you have to go through a dozen unsuccessful acquaintances and make a hundred mistakes in order to find something really valuable.
And every “unsuccessful find” – be it an acquaintance or a job – is not some mistake and not at all a symbol of one’s own inferiority. It’s just such a little adventure and a valuable experience. And such events cannot put any real cliches of personal failure.
One caveat should be made here. If the relationship is not going well, it is certainly helpful to analyze the reasons. Very often, personal rudeness, infantilism, unreasonable requests and expectations can really be the cause of failure. And in this vein, it is useful to either talk with a psychologist, or somehow independently reach an understanding of your own delusions.
And if you are at the stage of acquaintance and did not have time to present any requirements, then here most of all worries about your own qualities, right or wrong actions are a waste of energy.
Dislike and rejection
Ideally, in all potentially long-term informal relationships, from the first meeting, it makes sense to establish contact without any tortured attempts to present yourself in the best light. Your own natural behavior is the perfect filter for real intimacy. The fisherman will see the fisherman from afar.
And if your partner initially does not accept you as is and wants you to improve for him, this is such a “mystical” sign that the person is simply not yours, and no matter how much you want, it will be problematic to improve relations.
Likewise, in your case – to force the partner’s brain, expecting some kind of personal fabulous or type of “real” transformations from him, so that he begins to arrange – this is a capricious egoistic illusion that does not lead to anything worthwhile.
Such requests of partners to each other are, in general, a pathological norm of our society. That is, almost everyone hopes that the partner will somehow grow above himself and improve to please our whims. Actually, that’s why there are so many divorces. The stronger the expectations and hopes that the partner will become better, the faster the relationship comes to collapse.
We really love to hope at random that everything will somehow turn out by itself. We neurotically grab onto a partner who somehow corresponds to ideal fantasies, during the period of falling in love we close our eyes to disagreements, yes, in general, we do not even try to recognize and understand the person next to us – his real views on life and a possible joint future … And then, suddenly, it turns out that the person is generally a stranger, and already joint goodness, and children …
Relationships satisfy the most significant neurotic needs, which is why they hold on so tightly. And if the partner has ceased to satisfy these needs, resentments are poured on him – he suddenly becomes guilty of all the misfortunes only because his behavior went beyond our requirements.
And it seems that everything would be fine and it would be fine if only a person understood that one should behave differently, but a little differently. And it may even be surprising – how is it that the partner himself does not see and understand such simple things ?! As if our person knows the truth, and it only remains to somehow introduce this knowledge into the partner’s head. But in reality, such a “truth” is nothing more than groundless, infantile claims to fate.
The partner has his own “truth” in his head, and he may also not understand why we insist so stubbornly on some of our “idiotic” demands. It is just as difficult for him to bend against his “truth” to please our – from his point of view, stupid claims. On progressman.ru, this topic has already been raised in an article about serious relationships.
When a relationship is filled with demands and claims, then the thrill from them is interspersed with the opposite side – resentment, irritation, jealousy, anxiety. Satisfying expectations is joy, any deviation from them is pain.
And this whole “samsaric” drama began at the very moment when I became scared for my place in this life, when doubts arose – whether our person deserves something good in this reality … Most of all our requirements for fate are implicit an attempt to confirm their own value in the hierarchy of existence.
As long as personal happiness is based on the approval of others, the refusal of love and the subsequent loneliness cause a terrible experience of their own inferiority. And this fear prompts to grab a stranglehold on even an obviously hopeless relationship, so as not to miss at least what is available.
This neurotic grasp, like blinders on the eyes, obscures the view of life’s possibilities. It also deprives lightness, freedom and turns a potentially harmonious connection into another pantomime, where the joy of possession is interspersed with a grimace of oppression and fear of loneliness.
Returning to square one, I repeat: life is full of opportunities. Yes, somewhere they will try to bend us and harness other people’s whims – it is not necessary to take such an attitude at face value. Somewhere we are simply bored. But the choice is never narrowed. All limitations are caused by the fear of making a mistake and feeling your lack of will in the face of unpredictable reality. But something of his own, something valuable, is found only by those who are not afraid to open the doors of the unknown.
© Igor Satorin
Other articles on this topic:
- Dating sites for serious relationships
- “Face control” in relationships with people
- Society stereotypes and personal freedom