late night rambling
I've been thinking...
Can you imagine ever telling a child that he's an idiot?
That he always messes up?
That he can't do anything right?
That he's slow and always in the wrong place at the wrong time?
That he’s disgusting and repulsive and that no one likes him?
That you hate him?
Most of us would never speak to a child that way and we'd be mortified to hear anyone else treat a child that way. We all know that what you tell a child, is what he will end up believing. You tell him he’s incompetent, and he will turn out to be incompetent. You tell him he's brilliant and beautiful and he will be brilliant and beautiful. A huge part of who we are is created from the feedback and reactions we get from those around us.. Especially those closest to us.
So, what amazes me is how easily we speak to ourselves that way. Everyone will tell you that there is a part of them, inside of them, that has never grown up, that is the exact same fragile and lonely child. A part of them that still wants to be a child and live life fearlessly, that is eager to take chances and push their limits. A vulnerable child that gets easily hurt, insulted, humiliated. The truth is when we speak to ourselves that way, it’s to that child that we are speaking to – who else would take that kind of abuse? That child inside of us that isn’t big enough to protect itself, it's insecure and easily bullied, and unfortunately believes the criticism.
The looking-glass self is a concept in psychology which refers to the way the reactions and perceived judgments of others towards us provide us with feedback about ourselves and through which we develop our sense of self. Our self-image is derived from the interaction between how we see ourselves and how others see us. We incorporate the views of others into our own self image and then act accordingly.
What I wonder though is how much of that do we do with ourselves. We have inside of us a diversity of characters, a rebellious teen, a spoiled child, an insecure lover, a demanding parent.. We analyze our behavior and we wonder how we ever stooped so low, or reached so high, how did we get so aggressive or how did we manage to be so sweet and tender. How does one person manage all those personas? The really incredible aspect of all this is that these different personalities and characters inside of us interact. One will give support to the other, while another brings the other down. One will teach and encourage, while one will confuse and destroy. The real challenge is knowing who to listen to.
Although I’m the first one who will admit to being cruel and insensitive to that weak, insecure inner child of mine, I also realize how detrimental it is to my personal growth and to achieving a satisfactory level of inner peace and contentment. When I visualize myself as an adult speaking to my inner child, I shudder at what I hear. I don’t deserve that kind of harshness, and that fragile inner self of mine definitely cannot handle it.
On the other hand, it amazes me to hear all the nice things people have to say about me, all the flattering feedback I receive. I don’t understand how they can have such a diametrically opposed perception of me than I have of myself. It seems that we choose to hear the feedback we want to hear. It’s much easier to hear negative feedback, to feed our insecurities and to confirm our weaknesses. In a way it gives us the freedom to be lazy, to be negative and cynical. Who wants to try and reach their potential when they can just give up before they even start? When I’m down on myself, I give up, I don’t even bother trying, I let myself wallow in self pity, self hate, self destruction. If I take into consideration the positive feedback I get from others, I feel obligated to try and fulfill their perception of me and its so much harder than just giving up and feeling helpless.
It's amazing how complex we are. We can believe one thing, be aware of why we believe it, understand what others believe, be aware of its effect on us, make a conscious decision to believe another thing and then unconsciously behave according to a different belief. We are so multifaceted and yet simplify our perception of ourselves to fit in with who we want to be.
I don’t know... the whole thing confuses me, amazes me, and overwhelms me..
I've been told I'm way too self absorbed and self-analytical..
hmm what do they know?!
"Society is an interweaving and interworking of mental selves.
I imagine your mind,
and especially what your mind thinks about my mind,
and what your mind thinks about what my mind thinks about your mind.
I dress my mind before yours
and expect that you will dress yours before mine.
Whoever cannot or will not perform these feats is not properly in the game."
(Cooley, Life and the student)