To gain the approval from others is the ultimate achievement for some people. It’s as if this is the primary purpose that they have on this earth. And should they actually achieve this; their life will then be complete.
This will mean that this person’s focus is more or less external. I say person and not individual, because in order to be an individual; one would have to be individual.
And if one is looking for approval from others, it means that this person hasn’t separated from others and is therefore not an individual.
The place where one will look for approval is from other people; as it can’t come from anywhere else. It is unlikely that one will look to animals, or to tress and other so called inanimate objects, for approval.
However, if ones is religious, it could be from a certain deity or god or some other kind of presence. But with that aside, it is unusually a human being.
Areas of life
Here one may look to their social group or friends for approval, from their family and intimate relationships. And it could also extend to people in society; with certain authority figures or people of status being looked towards for approval.
This could range from ‘celebrities’ to musicians and anyone else who has been elevated, interestingly enough, through the public’s approval.
All Of Nothing
To some people who compulsively desire the approval of other people; it will be ether complete approval or complete disapproval. There will be no middle ground, there will only be one choice and one option available.
This will mean that one’s mental and emotional wellbeing will be constantly under threat. How other people react to what one is presenting will define their state of mind. I say presenting, as one could be looking for approval in a myriad of ways.
Ranging from the type of clothes that one has, their career choice, style of hair, how one should be behaving and who one should be in a relationship with. Are but a few examples and are many more.
Approval Or Disapproval.
Seeing the choices as being either; approval or disapproval is the result of the dual nature of the ego mind. This is a normal process of the mind and how it perceives reality.
To see life in this way is not only dysfunctional; it will also lead to a lot of unnecessary pain and suffering. Sometimes people will approve of what one does and sometimes they won’t.
If one is seeking to gain the approval from others, it will mean that pleasing others is more important than pleasing themselves. However, it would be inaccurate to say that one does not gain anything from this type of behaviour.
Perhaps this person is so out of touch with what they truly want and need; that pleasing other people is the only thing they know. And this will mean that their ego mind has associated getting the approval from others, as the only way to survive.
This is not to say that the person who is motivated to please other people is consciously thinking about this. It could be a process that is so normal and natural that it goes on without any conscious awareness.
Adults And Children
As an adult, it is clear to see, that one does not need to have complete approval of others in order to survive. What does need a hundred percent approval to survive - is a child.
This is completely normal, as the child is powerless and dependent on its caregivers for its own survival. Looking at this logically, one can see that an adult is not a child and so this means that what happened all those years ago is, in theory, irrelevant now.
Letting go of seeing the world through the eyes of a child is not something that always happens by itself. What can impede this process is a lack of emotional development, being brought up by undeveloped caregivers and trauma.
And due to having a past that wasn’t conducive to growth or was traumatic, it will mean that there will be memories and emotions that have remained trapped and frozen. These will cause one to react and not respond and to behave without awareness. That is, until they are acknowledged, processed and healed.
Another description is known as regression. This is where the ego mind goes to an earlier point in time that has been associated as safe to the mind. This does not mean functional or empowering; it simple means familiar and familiar is safe to the ego mind.
The Childs View
To the child, there is only complete approval or complete disapproval. Because at that age it does not have the awareness to see that there is any other way. And neither is the child developed enough to approve of its self.
So even though this is a scenario that could have happened decades ago for the adult, it will not matter. As through the act of regression, one will see the world through the eyes of the child. And as this child needs complete approval to survive, it will mean that this is an extremely strong need or instinct.
This child is also completely connected or enmeshed to its caregivers. Individuality does not exist at this time.
In the present day one may wonder why this need for approval is so strong and yet based on the process of regression; it starts to become clearer. It may mean that ones boundaries are not very well developed and therefore cannot see that they are separate from others. And this can then lead to the childlike perspective that gaining complete approval is essential for ones survival.
Gaining approval from others is not always possible, part of being human means that we don’t all value or appreciate the same things. People’s wants needs and desires are often different.
People can often be unstable and capricious. There will be times that when what one does, will gain the approval from a certain amount of people and there is likely to be times when few people will approve. However, if one can approve of themselves, it will no longer be a case of all of nothing.
If one is constantly looking outside for approval and has no self approval; it will only lead to a life of inner instability and pain.
In the short time it may be more pleasurable to please others and more painful to please oneself. But the long terms is a very different scenario. For if it was easy, this would be the common route.
One may require assistance of a therapist, a healer of some kind of coach; to allow one to develop self approval.
The ego mind may resist and this is the result of seeing it as either approval or disapproval. And either pleasing others or displeasing others. Ultimately it is neither of these two. It is about following one’s own truth and at times this will please others and at times it won’t.
The word enmeshment is often used in the world of psychology, therapy and in every day relationships. These could be with family, friends and with intimate relationships.
On the en.wiktionary.org website, enmeshment is described as: The state of being enmeshed; entanglement. And if something is entangled, it means that it is caught up and is therefore - not free.
When I think of something being tangled up, I think of a piece of wire or someone with long hair. This could be wire that has been caught up in a fence or in another piece of wire. And hair that’s long and untidy and has become caught up in other hairs.
Or another example that comes to mind is Christmas lights; Lights that haven’t been put away properly and have ended up being wrapped around the faux Christmas tree branches or decorations.
These are ell examples of something that has been entangled and is no longer untangled and free.
On a physical level, human beings are clearly separate from each other; unless they hold hands, hug or are chained together for example. And so this means that enmeshment is not something that is physical in nature. It could manifest as being physical, but that is purely a consequence of what has come before it.
And if it is not physical, it must mean that is has to do with that is not physical. By this I mean emotions, thoughts, feelings ands sensations.
Because although one can be physically separate from another person, this does not mean that one is emotionally separate from them or that one’s thoughts are their own creation.
It can be that one’s thoughts, feelings, emotions and sensations are completely depended on another person. And this person is defining ones mental and emotional wellbeing.
So instead of their being two separate people or three or four, depending on the type of relationship, there will be one entity. There is likely to be a dominant person within that entity and the rest of the people will be directly affected by this person.
This could be an intimate relationship where two people have no sense of individuality or identity. And are then entangled to each other mentally and emotional. There emotional and mental wellbeing is not self-directed.
Another example is within groups of friends, where people follow the leader of the group and do whatever is suggested. How they would like to behave or what they would like to do; is unknown to them. To follow the other person is normal and all they know.
The Family System
And then there is the family system and this is likely to be where the enmeshment actually started in the beginning. In this type of family, separation and individuality is prohibited at all costs. This does not mean that is literally spelt out or expressed through words. It is likely to be shown in the actions of the primary caregiver.
A man could take this role and so could a women; for it doesn’t mean primary nurturer, it means the caregiver that is in charge.
At the very root of this family system, is not freedom of feeling, thought and action. Whoever the dominant figure in the family is, will be the one who decides what is allowed and what is not allowed to be expressed.
This will mean that a Childs unique expression will be denied, ignored and repressed. And this will relate to anyone else who is part of this family dynamic. What this child: feels, thinks and senses, will not be mirrored or acknowledged; it will be dismissed.
And replaced with the accepted: feelings thoughts and behaviours in that environment. This means that one will learn to distrust their internal processes. What these internal processes are made up of are: feelings, thoughts, emotions, senses, insights and hunches for example.
However as a result of these being dismissed in the early environment, the child will grow up having to look outside for guidance; because the inner guidance is no longer available.
And if this is the case, one is then completely depend on the advice of another person. This will be as a child and as an adult, if one doesn’t deal with this form of abuse. So what at first was met with resistance and frustration, will often be accepted without resistance as an adult
By then, one has probably forgotten about what remains hidden inside. But as a child one was close and connected to their inner aspects. And due to one being emotionally undeveloped, there is likely to be very little choice.
Sense Of Self
If one is out of touch with themselves and enmeshed to another person, it is clear to see that a sense of self is lacking. It was lacking in the caregivers and was then passed on to the next generation.
The caregivers were probably completely unaware of what they were doing. And out of their pain and misery; they perpetuated the same situation in their children.
In the very beginning, ones caregivers needs were likely to have been denied and their emotional and mental development would have been stunted. This means that they would have been needy and were likely to have felt a sense of emptiness and doubt in their resourcefulness as people.
And as a way to regulate those feelings, thoughts, emotions and sensations from their past, they attached themselves to their offspring and to the other people in their adult lives.
This will enable them to regulate their feelings of loneliness, emptiness, isolation, hopelessness, and the absence of their sense of self.
What this also means, is that boundaries are not in existence. In this family dynamic, no one has an idea of where they begin and end and where another begins and ends. It is just one mass, where compromise and abuse is the rule and not the exception.
And as their caregivers where the same and the relationships that came after that; the patterns have simply continued.
For one to break away from enmeshment, it will require awareness. There is likely to be two things that could stop one from developing boundaries and to put an end to being enmeshed. I would like to add that there will be times when one is enmeshed, it is part of the human experience, and it is only dysfunctional when this is the only relationship model that one has.
So, these two aspects will be guilt and fear. If one has only known what it’s like to be enmeshed to other people and has never known what it feels like to be an individual that has boundaries, it will be normal and natural to feel fear about one’s ability to survive as an individual.
And guilt, because, as a child’s ones needs and other forms of expression would have been secondary to those of the caregivers needs. So what could be classed as illogical guilt could appear when ever one puts their needs first or responds to their needs.
Who Am I
The ego mind may also cause one to question who they are and this again is normal as the ego mind has formed an association of familiarity and safety around being enmeshed.
And as the ego minds identity is based on the past and a combination of the past; as soon as the familiar is changed, the ego mind will become unstable.
So although being enmeshed is dysfunctional and detrimental to ones growth as a human being, the ego mind is familiar with it. This will mean that these associations will have to be changed. And this means it would be beneficial to seek assistance through a therapist, healer or whoever one sees fit.
One will also have to realise their personal power. As for so long this would have been based on another person and one would have felt like a parasite. This again is based on the early childhood relationship, where ones caregivers didn’t allow one to realise their strength.
Which means the ego mind would have associated a sense of power and strength as being attainable through another person, when in reality this is something that exists within and within only.
In one form or another and under one name or another; bullying has been around for a very long time. And it is not limited to a specific environment and neither is it only experienced by a certain type of person. Human beings of all backgrounds can come face to face with this type of behaviour.
The meaning of bullying on google.com is – (To) use superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.
And there are of course; many other meanings that can be found, with all of them saying very similar things. The bottom line is that bullying is - abusive.
From the very beginning of human history bullying has been part of the human experience. This would typically have been through face to face contact. And with the advent of technology, phones were another option and then came the internet.
This is known as cyber bullying and can include, but is not limited to: Facebook, Twitter and through forums. Due to the nature of this type of bullying, it is a lot harder to monitor and therefore police.
Areas Of Vulnerability
So not only is there the potential for one to be exposed to bullying in the ‘real world’ and all that, that entails. The world of the internet has become another area of exposure.
So now, let’s take a deeper look at what could be going on for the bully and why they behave as they do.
The experience that one has of life is coming from their ego mind. This means that one is not simply responding to life, one is responding to their interpretation of life. So in order for an individual to be a bully, a certain interpretation has to take place.
And these interpretations will be based on what is going on for the bully at a mental and emotional level.
Because what defines the bully is typically their behaviour and this behaviour is different from the person that is not a bully – at least on the outside. So based on this premise, it would then be appropriate to ask the following question: what is going on internally that would make these people bullies?
There will be times when one has emotions that are unpleasant, and cause one to feel uncomfortable. And this is why, having the ability to emotional regulate oneself is so important.
When Emotions that are classed as negative appear, they will need to be processed in some way. If the ability to emotional regulate oneself is there, one will be able to simply sit with their emotions, without the need to act on them or to push them out of awareness. And if this is not possible due to their intensity for example, one can ask for another’s assistance.
But if they are not processed in this way, they will have to be either acted out or acted in; which will lead to bullying others or bullying oneself as a way to regulate the emotions.
And developing the ability to self regulate is something that can occur at any age. Perhaps for some this happened as a child and for others it was later in life. However, it is primarily during ones younger years that the ability to self regulate will be developed or not.
During this time, one is mirroring the prominent people in the environment; with this usually being their caregivers. If ones caregivers assisted in enabling one to develop this ability, there will be less of a reason to unconsciously act these emotions out or to repress them
Acting In And Acting Out
So if this ability was not developed and the people around them either acted out there emotions or repressed them, it will mean that this is likely to become their model of what to do.
For example, if ones caregivers were bullies, then it would be natural for one to identify with this form of behaviour and to display it later in life (unless it is questioned). Their ego mind would have associated control, respect and power with bullying. And unless these associations are changed, the behaviour is unlikely to either.
This can mean that one would have had to repress their original pain and that their ability to feel would have then been minimized as a result. Which means one’s ability to empathise could have also been obstructed during this time.
And if the pain was repressed it will end up out of their awareness and begin to show up in other people.
These are two things that bullies have in common. The emotional experience that they have is not being regulated and whether these are emotions that are being triggered form the past or later on, are irrelevant.
As a result of this, other people will end up being affected for what this individual cannot deal with themselves.
What the bully cannot see is that what is causing them to view the other person as the problem has nothing to do with the other person. It is actually about the bully and what the bully needs to process within their psyche.
The ego mind projects onto others, what has not been integrated and this includes ones mental and emotional sides. But due to how the ego mind functions; unless one is aware of this, other people will always been seen as the reason for ones emotional reactions.
‘It is easier to hate another, than to look at what we hate about ourselves’
What I have described is one view on what causes bullying and there is sure to be many more. I believe that what this does show is - the importance of self awareness. To be unaware is to be a slave to our emotions and this is akin to being a robot.
The more of a connection one has to their emotions and is aware of them, the less chance there is of projecting them onto another person. Repression is a big part of society and this can not only lead to bullying. It can lead to: alcoholism, violence, drug addiction and many other things. All of which allow one to regulate their emotions for a certain time.
If, as a society, we had a better relationship with our emotions, there wouldn’t be the need to repress them or to act them out unknowingly on others.
One can often watch a film with an ending that is unclear and come up with an interpretation that is completely different to another person. Or perhaps there is a cloud in the sky; one sees it to be a certain shape and another person sees another shape or cannot see this shape at all.
Then there are dreams, which can be interpreted in numerous ways. Some say there are specific meanings; others say that the meanings can only be interpreted by the individual.
Above we see examples of general interpretations that most people can relate to. And these are what most people are aware of. However, what about the Interpretations that are going on internally - the Interpretations that are having a much bigger affect on our lives.
And yet, this is a process that is so natural and effortless, that it often goes on unnoticed. Here, the experiences that one has are interpreted in a certain way and the meaning that is then given, is generally seen as the absolute meaning and only one possible.
Internal And External
The divide between the internal experience and the external experience is not being considered. It could even be that one is completely unaware of their internal processes and responses.
Due to these responses often being automatic and unconscious, it will mean that one won’t have to think about them. And in one way this is a good thing, as it leads to an easier life and minimizes the amount of energy and time needed. That is the positive aspect; the negative side is that these interpretations are not necessarily empowering or functional.
These interpretations are more than likely second hand and originated in the minds of other people. Ones society and childhood will all have had a say in how one interprets their experiences.
The Ego Mind
As the ego mind sees reality in absolutes and through the use of projection, this whole process can be extremely hard to see. And what this means is that, based on the interpretation that one has, a self imposed prison can end up being created.
It Is Normal
To see experiences that occur as having one meaning is a normal process for the ego mind. And if one has perceived life through these lenses from the very beginning, then why would one even consider another way of seeing.
The ego mind will have formed an association of familiarity and safety around these interpretations. And this means that the ego mind will hold onto them; simply because it means ones survival is not at risk.
Whether these interpretations are what bring one happiness or empowerment, is not important to the ego mind. All that matters is survival and if it is familiar then that is all that matters. So what is creating certainty for the mind could be what is also creating pain and conflict.
As one begins to observe the interpretations that they have, one then has the possibility to choose their own meaning. When it comes to the affect that interpretations have, on one’s own wellbeing, level or success and happiness; they are far too important to simply be ignored.
How one chooses to behave at any given time, will depend on how one interprets a situation. And if one is not aware of this, one will be destined to repeat the behaviours of the past.
Now, this might be empowering and enable one to achieve what they want and to be who they want to be. But if this is not the case, then these interpretations would have to be different.
Success Or Failure
There are people in the world who seem to never give up and there are others who seem to stop at the first hurdle. It would be easy to assume that these people are stronger or lucky and have something that other people don’t.
But perhaps, one of the big differences is that that their interpretations are simply different. And as a result of these different ways of seeing things, they have the resilience to continue.
Rejection Or Acceptance
Rejection can be extremely painful; some people seem to handle it, while others suffer immensely. And what is certain is that rejection in one form or another; it is part of the human experience.
And this is another good example of interpretation at work. Rejection can feel life death and the end of the world, while at the same time; it can simply be feedback or another person’s opinion. Whatever one this is, will depend on the interpretation that one gives it.
The Power Of Interpretation
How powerful interpretations are, is not to be overlooked here. Ones emotional and cognitive responses will be affected and so will ones physical sensations. Along with all the brain chemicals that are produced with all this. This all comes to together to create the whole experience and to create the illusion of there being only one meaning.
A lot of these interpretations will have come about through societal conditioning and this means that the ego mind will have associated approval and acceptance around them ;meaning that one’s survival will be attached, according to the ego mind anyway.
And then before that, ones childhood experience will also strongly influence the interpretations that one has. With the ego mind associating these as being what is safe and familiar and being essential to ones survival.
Could this mean, that the only meaning anything has is based on the interpretation that one gives it? It is definitely something for one to ponder.
In order to be a good listener or therapist for example, one needs to be aware of their interpretations, so that they can be present and hear what is being said.
For one to be able to do this their past needs to have been processed to a reasonable degree or it will come up and taint, what is being said in the present moment.
Depending on the interpretations and how intense they are, one may be able to observe what is going on or perhaps some external assistance may be required. This could be through a therapist, healer, hypnotherapist or a trusted friend for example.
However this is a process and something that won’t happen overnight. One will need to be patient and kind to themselves during this process.
Abusive behaviour can include all that makes one feel compromised, undermined and taken advantage of. It can be in the relationships one has with: friends, family, colleagues and in intimate relationships.
The type of environment it is, or whether one is male or female, the race or the religion that one has will not make a difference. This is something that can affect people of all backgrounds and walks of life.
For some people, abusive behaviour is resisted and challenged when and where it is possible. These people won’t stand silent and simply take this type of behaviour. And yet at the same time they seem to constantly attract it. So it ends up as a constant battle between them and the abusers.
And the other type will neither challenge nor stand up against the abusers. For them it is something that they just put up with. They chose to remain salient in many ways and to shoulder all that comes their way.
To the outside observer or to the individual that doesn’t put up with this type of abuse; the first type of behaviour will make more sense than the second type of behaviour.
The second type of behaviour will often come across as illogical or irrational and not make any sense at all. Here they might offer suggestions, advice or even try to save or rescue the individual that is being abused.
Now, for some people, assistance will be accepted and appreciated; with it being the start of them standing up for themselves and having better boundaries. This can mean the beginning of the end, of abusive behaviour or at least when it comes to putting up with it.
And when it comes to others, this assistance may be accepted or rejected completely. It may be that it is consciously taken on board by the individual, only to disappear when it comes to real world experiences. Others may deny that anything is wrong and ignore all assistance and support that is offered.
At the first glance this type of behaviour makes very little sense. And whether it is the outsider seeing how dysfunctional this is or whether it is someone trying to offer assistance: doesn’t matter here. In both cases it comes across as very strange and inexplicable.
Consciously, it is clear that it has not benefit to the individual and is only causing pain and suffering.
What is going on consciously then must be in conflict with what is going on unconsciously. And this is then creating conflict in the individual’s life. However, although this type of behaviour is only causing pain and suffering now, it is likely that at one time or another in their life, it had a purpose. And this purpose would have been to do with ones survival.
What the ego mind does is interpret life based on what happened in the past or a combination of what happened. And even though a present situation may be nothing like the past experiences, to the ego mind, there is no difference.
This is one of the reasons why the observer who has a history of no abuse or very little, will find it hard to comprehend what is going on. To the person that is being abused, it is highly likely that it feels normal on some level.
And if something is classed as normal or how life is, it means that the ego mind has associated these experiences as what is safe; with the ego mind functioning on what is familiar and not on what is functional or empowering.
Original Reference Points
This could be that this individual was continually exposed to this type of behaviour in their younger years or perhaps it was later in this person’s life. What these experiences do is cause ones ego mind to create and association of familiarity and safety around abusive behaviour.
And if it was during ones younger years, it will mean that it wouldn’t have been safe for this person to stand up to the abuser and neither would they have the cognitive abilities to question what was occurring. So one would have had to put up with it and if this is all ones ego mind knows; this is all one will expect to experience from others.
Which will include; interpreting events in a certain way and attracting people that validate these early experiences and all because ones ego mind was programmed in the very beginning to tolerate this kind of behaviour.
During the time that this behaviour was carried out, one would have felt certain emotional responses, but would have been unable to deal with these emotional consequences. These would have been repressed and denied to ensure ones survival.
This means that they would have been pushed out of one’s awareness and frozen in the body. Here, they will not simply disappear, they will become what is known as; our shadow side. So now that these parts are no longer conscious, it will mean that they will show up in other people..
But due to this repressed pain being outside of one’s awareness and being projected onto other people; it is easy for one to feel victimised by their own projections and to not realise this.
Giving support to people that are being exposed to abusive behaviour is an important step. As it will allow them to realise, that there is another way and that they don’t have to put up with it. It is also important for them to see the role that they are playing; if they are categorised as a victim, it will only cause them to feel that they have no choice.
And if one doesn’t have a choice, then it is impossible for there to be another option. One does have a choice and this is why there is another option available.
Because if one is still holding onto these past associations, one will be destined to attract the same situations again and again; until the past has been truly left behind.
One of the things that the mainstream Media likes to create is the illusion of perfection. This is primarily through what is known as ‘celebrities’ and these could be: singers, actors, musicians, models and many other roles. Here it could be an individual or even a couple.
Their lifestyle is being exposed to whoever will take notice; with either their whole life or a specific part being the point of focus.
Areas Of Perfection
One of the Medias main points, are the relationships that celebrities have. This could be presented by itself, but it will often be attached to the other areas of their life to add significance.
Another area is to do with their physical appearance and what they wear. Although men and women are included here, women are more likely to be under the spotlight.
Career is also prominent in how celebrities are presented. What they have done or are doing is often seen as the ultimate achievement.
Facts Or Perceptions
There are certain cars or even houses that look pleasing to the eye from every position or view. And there are others that only look good from a certain view point. In this situation it is possible to walk around the car of the house to see every part.
This enables one to form a balanced opinion and this is due to one seeing the complete picture. Any illusions or assumptions can be laid to rest.
When it comes to the Medias portrayal of people in the media, this opportunity is seldom available. Unless the Medias love affair has ended or is coming to an end with this person or people that were in favour.
All that is typically seen is the side that the media want to expose and this is often, one of perfection.
The Process Of Perfection
Perfection is often displayed as a destination, but is it really a destination of is it a process? What is classed perfection at one moment is seen as imperfect the next. The styles and fashion of one moment can be labelled as shocking the next.
‘’Trying to achieve perfection is a bit like trying to get to the end of a rainbow, not only is it impossible, it also doesn’t exist.’’
It is also possible for one to have achieved something that might be considered as being perfect in one area of their life, only to have many others areas that could be classed as imperfect.
Although logically one might know that perfection doesn’t exist, with the help of the media, the ego mind will begin to perceive the media figures as being perfect. To the ego mind, everything is either black or white; there is no middle ground.
And due to this being the ego minds modus operandi, seeing perfection is a natural consequence here.
In order for one to be caught by these illusions in the first place, there has to be an attraction there. And what these external expressions of perfection become, is the mirror for all that one has yet to realise within themselves.
For is these people didn’t display what one believed they were lacking at some level; then the attraction wouldn’t be there. And if it was there, it wouldn’t be as obsessive or as addictive to people – it might be more of an appreciation or a simple acknowledgment.
Wants And Needs
The types of people and particular aspects that are valued can change in the media and this is partly due to what is going on in the collective consciousness. This can depend on the period and the emotional climate.
And although the finer details may be different, like the clothes that they were or the language they use etc; what is generally the same, is the emotional wants and needs that they are fulfilling in the collective.
So, having a loving relationship, being perceived as beautiful and having an enjoyable career are needs that have been around for many, many, years
Ones ego mind is then likely to identify with what is being portrayed in the media and feel the same feelings and the emotions, through the experiences of these celebrities.
This is not negative per se, it is a natural part of life and how we are inspired and grow as human beings. It can become dysfunctional, when we are unaware of this process and see another as having something, which, we do not have.
What can also occur is that when these media ideals have fallen out of favour, as I have briefly mentioned above, is that they will be perceived as being imperfect. And if one has been elevated to the highs of being perfect, then the lows of being imperfect will seem very low indeed.
In reality, it is most likely that they have displayed different sides of their nature, the sides that are not as well developed, or the sides that the majority of people in a society disapprove of.
Attraction may not longer be there and perfection may no longer be seen, it could be imperfection and repulsion now. And all that one doesn’t like about their own nature and has therefore denied, rejected and repressed out of their awareness; will now be projected onto the Medias fallen heroes.
The Ego Mind
There are many different processes at work here, from identification, projection, idealisation and many others. Some of the people in the media may be examples of perfection within a certain area or areas and this will have come about through persistence to get to where they are and persistence in staying there.
To see others as examples of what can be achieved is beneficial and inspiring. However, we are all different and cannot compare out journey to the journey of other human beings.
On one side there is the task of realising our own potential and with that seeing others in a more balanced way. And on the other side, there are the negative parts that we have repressed in ourselves and projected onto others; that also need to be integrated
And as we become more accepting of our own ‘perfect’ and ‘imperfect’ sides, we will be more aware of the ego minds tendency to see life in absolutes.
I recently came across a link that was called – ‘creativity ‘closely entwined with mental illness’. This was from the bbc website about a recent study that has connected creativity with mental health problems. The link can be found here - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19959565.
And after reading all that was said, I thought I would use my creativity to write an article about this. As I don’t believe that this is a discovery that is either new or groundbreaking; associating these two things together has been done for a very long time.
This also reminded me of a book by Alice Miller and the title gives away much of what the book is about - The Untouched Key: Tracing Childhood Trauma in Creativity and Destructiveness. And the Publication Date for this book was 1990.
One of the things that society likes to do is to label things. And in the area of the mind or mental health, this could relate to a certain type of behaviour or the mental tendencies that one might have.
I said the type of behaviour first, because this is typically how one comes to understand what is going on in another person’s mind. So this will then result to certain behaviour being classed as normal or abnormal, based on the criterion that has been set by the people in mental health and other such figures.
Normal Or Abnormal?
As time has gone by, it is clear to see, that what is classed as normal and what is classed as abnormal, is constantly changing. What was classed as normal many years ago could be classed as abnormal today. These descriptions are never static and are always changing - like life itself.
The ego mind functions through making judgements; this is how it hopes to ensure its own survival. It does not mean that these judgements are right or wrong or true or false, they are just how the ego mind works.
And due to the ego mind seeing everything in polarities, it will mean the judgements that are made, will be seen as the absolute truth.
No matter what one is talking about in regards to making judgements, there will always be consequences that occur through this act. And when it comes to the area of mental health, there are potentially two sides.
On one side there is the obvious motivator to assist in making people’s lives better and to aid in the betterment of their wellbeing. And by becoming aware of a certain behaviour or mental position, they will be able to or at least try to provide the appropriate solutions.
And on the other side, there are consequences of not only becoming aware, but of also giving or attaching a label to something. This can end up creating more problems.
Here, ones ego mind will not only begin to identify with the new label that has been coined, it will also begin to take on board the emotional judgements that come with it. This could be feelings of guilt, shame, anger, frustration, anxiety and/or fear. So if one does feel that they have mental challenges, these can end up being magnified by these labels.
The Four Seasons
In nature there are the different seasons and this effects how the weather is and for some countries this will be more evident than others. Sometimes it’s hot and sometimes it cold, one can change where they live or they can stay and experience the different cycles.
When it comes to the mind, there are similarities. There are moments when it can be like the summer season and there are moments when it can be like the winter season and all that is in-between. And this will naturally vary from person to person. The childhood that one has had, ones physical health, the quality of one’s relationships and their financial situation; are a few examples that will play a part in ones mental wellbeing.
This means that there will be times that one feels good and times when they don’t. The natural ebb and flow of life is at work here. (Of course, if one is constantly feeling low and down, then this is a sign that assistance is the right option and must be sought)
Pleasure And Pain
To avoid pain and to seek pleasure is how the ego mind functions. And being human, means is that we will experience pain, it can’t be avoided. However, what we can change is our interpretation of what is causing the pain. It often seems that anything that is considered to be painful is described as a mental health problem in today’s world.
If one doesn’t feel completely happy all of the time, then there is a label or a term given to these people. And if one is happy a lot of the time, there is even a label for this also. Based on this perspective, it would be easy to say everyone has a mental health problem of some kind, simply because we are human.
The Human Experience
And part of what makes us human, is our ability to feel pain. We navigate our way through life by what our ego mind has associated as painful. The childhood years of a lot of people are extremely painful and for some the years later are equally as painful.
The loved ones in people’s life will pass or they will want to move on, which will bring pain. Rejection and disapproval are but two other ways, which can also create pain.
So if pain is part of the human experience and we all need a way to deal with that pain, then what better way is there to process it than to be creative? This is a way to transmute the negative energy and that way, instead of using this energy in a destructive way, it can be used to create something positive.
Another way to describe all this is to say ‘destructivity ‘closely entwined with mental illness’. They are two sides of the same coin. And there are plenty of examples of both. And when it comes to processing the pain that we all have to one degree or another, what is the most constructive?
It can be easy to feel a certain amount stigma around normal parts of the human experience and this can be the result of different influences, from our friends to the experts. The most important thing is to be aware and to question all that is said; so that we can form our own ideas and views.
Pain motivates people to achieve and to develop themselves. The need to have or to achieve is often the result of feeling the absence within. The individual that is content rarely feels motivated to do or be more - A Buddhist monk is an example of this. So based on this perspective, does that mean that a society’s evolution and the human evolution, is the result of mental health problems?
There are both general and specific ideas and opinions around what greatness is. And what will form these ideas and opinions will be influenced by the age that one lives in, the society they are raised in and what one values themselves.
This can range from the current societal models, such as: footballers, musicians, writers and actors. In the media these are often held up as the ultimate forms of greatness. And when it comes down to day to day experiences, one might think of other examples of greatness. These could range from: firemen, doctors, therapists, teachers or nurses for example.
The former are usually seen or heard about through media exposure or at an event where it is hard to achieve personal contact. This means that the ego mind typically elevates them above ‘normal’ people. So along with the elevation, there is also the potential for idealisation and projection to occur with people of this type of greatness.
Whereas the latter are more readily available for personal contact and without having to wait too long; at the most, an appointment of some sort may have to be made to gain access to these people. As a result of this, one will have firsthand experience with these people and not simply second hand experiences that have been attained through the media.
Dismissed And Ignored
When the mind has been exposed to something for long enough and becomes familiar with something, it can begin to lose its importance and meaning. Most of us can all relate to the common occurrence of taking certain things in our life for granted. And this latter type of greatness is no different. And when this happens it is easy to dismiss and ignore this type of greatness.
And with the ego mind seeing reality in polarities, it is only natural that what is being given the limelight in the media and along with all of the illusions that the media creates; that these other forms of greatness will be perceived as being above the other forms of greatness that one is exposed to everyday.
While this whole process is continually being acted out, ones ego mind will begin to form associations around what is being shown. And through the distance and space that is created between the modern day celebrities of the world and the ‘normal’ people, the ego mind will begin to fill in the gaps.
These gaps will then be filled with; ideas about what these celebrities are like, how superior they are and of course the greatness that they possess. And many other associations the ego mind will use to close the distance.
So with the help of the media and the ego minds ideas, associations and projections, one will begin to see the other person’s greatness. And one thing the media exemplifies is the ego minds tendency to see in polarities. This means that the people who are great musicians, actors, or sports stars will be associated as being greatness themselves and not an expression of greatness in action.
This is not to say that these people were born with greatness or that they are not great, it means that they have brought out an inherent greatness. Something that is there in each one of us and like a seed, it waits for the right conditions that will allow it to grow.
And by elevating or worshipping these people one is missing the point entirely. This is not to say that they don’t deserve recognition and acclaim for what they have achieved. It means that they are to be seen as examples of what can be achieved and realised.
Because as soon as these people are raised to a certain level, ones ego mind will only have one option and that is inferiority. And along with that position, there will be the potential for the ego mind to come up with all the reasons why one can’t do something and how these other people are different.
One Side Of The story
The time when we are usually exposed to these examples of greatness, be it the sports stars, the musicians or the actors, is when they have made it. And all of the struggle, pain and suffering that they have gone through, to get to this point, are rarely known.
This of course, has the potential to lead to further idealisation and the likely hood that one will see these people as different. And as a consequence of this, one’s sense of perspective is going to be affected.
When we see greatness in others we can identify with them and momentarily feel what these people feel. This experience can go on for while or we can live our whole life through this process. And all we have to do is take a look at some of these people’s biographies or interviews that they have done, to realise these people had to work hard for their greatness.
The Rocky story is a perfect example of this. And what becomes clear is that long before they were ever seen as great, they had to handle numerous setbacks. Ultimately there are human beings, and this means that they have their good days and bad days like everyone else.
What they often show is how important it is to be persistent and to keep going. This doesn’t mean that their whole life is perfect, as much as the ego mind likes to project perfection onto these people.
And when we recognise the greatness of another human, it is likely that we are seeing what is within ourselves. As in order to see something as great, we have to value you it within ourselves. What one person sees as an example of greatness might not be what another person does and vice versa. The experience that we have, when we are exposed to greatness, is within our own minds and bodies after all.
Greatness can be different for everyone and only we know what that is or will be for us. We can choose something that is socially classed as greatness, but that is unlikely to fulfil us. And as greatness is usually a process and not a destination, it is unlikely that one will have the drive to achieve it without following their own truth.
When it comes to how one experiences life, expectations play an incredibly important role. Not only are they influencing how one perceives every part of life, they’re also affecting ones emotional and mental well being.
This means that what one attracts into their life and what one sees in others is largely being defined by their expectations. And on the other side of it all, when one has expectations that are not fulfilled it can lead to feelings of anger, frustration, and even depression.
Expectations can relate to what one believes will make them happy and also what one has come to expect from life. This means that expectations can be both empowering and disempowering.
And no matter what areas of life we look at here; expectations are always in place. This can be in: relationships, health, career, the world and what one believes they are capable of. Each of these areas is being influenced by what one has come to expect.
This can also result in these expectations being taken as the truth and not ever being questioned. And if one continues to experience the same situation over and over again this is not much of a surprise
After many years of having the same expectations and therefore experiences in reality; they are likely to be deeply ingrained into ones unconscious mind and out of one’s conscious awareness. Here, there influence can remain hidden and continue to create the same results.
The Ego Mind
What will keep these expectations in place is the ego mind. Once these expectations have become familiar to the ego mind, they will be associated as safe. And once this has occurred, the ego mind will filter ones reality based on these associations.
So then, if one is unaware of what their expectations are, they will be enslaved to their ego minds function of attracting what has become associated as safe.
Although one might be frustrated or angry with the consequences of their expectations, the ego mind is simply doing its job of ensuring ones survival. And as soon as a sense of familiarity has been formed around an expectation, it will be interpreted as safe.
That is the only thing that matters to the ego mind. It does not function on what will make one happy or content; it functions on what is familiar.
I knew This Would Happen
This also means that if one were to think about changing an expectation, this would have the potential to create fear. And even though this new expectation could lead to the fulfilment of a certain need, it is not familiar to the ego mind.
So if one is not aware of this, the ego mind will do all it can to create the same expectation occurring again. At a conscious level one can say to themselves or another - that they knew this would happen.
And at a deeper level this is simply the ego mind doing its job. When this is in conflict with what one wants at a conscious level, it will naturally create problems.
Do I Have A Choice?
Once can then feel that they are a slave to the consequences of their expectations and not realise that these expectations are largely coming true due to how their ego mind works.
It would not be accurate to say that one could have their true expectations come true all of the time and yet it would be just as inaccurate to say that one has no control over what expectations will come true.
Questioning Our Expectations
As expectations are part of life, it shows that it is important to questions them as they are always in action. So by questioning ones expectations, one can start to see if they are functional or dysfunctional or what one really wants and If they are actually possible to be fulfilled or not.
Where Do Our Expectations Come From?
This will depend on many factors, for example the society one grew up in, the people one associates with and if one is religious, will all have an effect on what we expect from ourselves and from the world.
What one values and what one doesn’t value will also have an influence here. And at the root of all of this will be ones childhood upbringing.
What ones caregivers expected from the world is likely to have influenced what ones has come to expect. The type of relationship ones caregivers had will naturally have a say in what one expects from their relationships. How capable one is and what one expects from oneself will be coloured by what ones caregivers expected from them.
There will also be what one didn’t receive from their caregivers and this will cause one to either not expect it from others consciously or to unconsciously crave it form others, but keep it hidden.
The Expectations Were Set
Each one of these expectations and many more will have become associated as safe to ones ego mind. And this is because they are ones first reference points. This meant that one would carry these expectations forward and project these expectations onto the world and other people.
Positive And Negative Expectations
This will mean that some of these expectations relate to ones early childhood years. So as a result of this, many of the positive expectations wont able to be fulfilled anymore and the negative expectations could be the result of early pain or trauma.
By positive expectations, I mean the expectations that one believes will lead to fulfilment and these could relate to inner child needs that need to be acknowledged, validated and healed.
And when I say negative expectations, I mean the expectations that cause one to always expect the worst from relationships; to not expect much from themselves or from life. This will also require healing work.
As we become aware of our expectations and where they come from, we can decide if we want to keep them or if we want to change them. To be aware of what they are means we have the chance to make the choices that honour who we are, as opposed to being a slave or a victim of our own conscious or unconscious expectations.
For some people in this world, doing what they love is a normal part of life. And for others this is nothing more than an idea that sounds good and is far from there day to day experience.
To do what ones loves and enjoys might have not even been considered by this person. Life can be seen as something to be endured and faced and not something to be enjoyed or embraced.
Perhaps one feels that they are not good at anything or don’t have any special gifts. And end up going through the motions in life and spending their time doing what brings neither happiness nor fulfilment.
Other People Are Different
Seeing other people as being different and having something that one doesn’t have is a consequence of these perceptions. And when other people are seen to be enjoying what they do and receiving the support and acknowledgment of other people, this has the potential to create pain.
One can then feel unworthy or inferior to other people and that doing what one loves and enjoys is only available for certain people; and other people simply have to settle and compromise.
What is going on here is that one is comparing themselves with what other people are doing. And based on this, ones wellbeing is being affected and therefore controlled by others. One of the reasons for this is that one is disconnected from their own self.
As a result of this, ones awareness is more likely to be external in nature and ones internal world of answers is then likely to be ignored.
It then becomes a habit to look towards others for the signs and cues as to what one should be doing and what will gain the most approval.
However, what can lead to this pattern going unnoticed and out of one’s awareness, is that it could be what one has done from the very beginning. This means that it is the only thing that one knows.
This can relate to looking outside and in comparing oneself with other people. Perhaps one was brought up this way, by being constantly compared to other siblings, family members, friends and different people in society.
What Was Valued
There may have also been certain skills or behaviours that were defined as worthy and valuable. And others that were ignored and rejected due to not being interpreted as valuable or worthy; in the eyes of one’s caregivers or other family members.
Here one will have had to have denied and ignored all that was not acceptable within the family system; which means that parts of oneself had to be rejected and cut off.
This means that one will have had to either gone along with what was valued and gone against their own truth or to have somehow found a way of developing their gifts. And being so dependent on ones caregivers, it is unlikely that the second option would have had much of a chance.
Diamonds In The Rough
Although these gifts that make up our purpose may have been denied and hidden through our early experiences; they will never completely disappear. There significance will always catch our attention in some way or another.
It may be that we have done something for so long, that we have taken it for granted and don’t realise how competent we are at it. Maybe we admire and appreciate certain things about other people and yet have never considered the reasons for this. And how we would love to do what they do.
Some of our gifts and skills will need to be embraced and continually developed. And this may mean that one has to be patient and persistent.
There is likely to be other challenges that may stop one from going about achieving a connection to what they really value. This is something known as approval. On one side one may have the desire or calling to do what fills them with passion and happiness, but on the other side is the effect of the ego mind.
The ego mind will have created an association of familiarity with the identity that one has, and this means that one’s ego mind will feel safe by identifying with the current story.
Not only will these associations relate to ones current environment, they will also have been carried on from ones childhood. This was a time when one was vulnerable and completely dependent on other people’s approval and acceptance for their survival.
One may also carry shame or guilt around their truth gifts, as a result of the projections of the people that were around them when they tried to reveal them in the very beginning.
This can lead to feelings of deep rejection and abandonment, should one embrace who they really are and the gifts that they hold so dear. It is unlikely that the present day will be the same as before, but due to the minds associations, even if it doesn’t happen, the minds imagination will make one feel as though it will and is happening all over again.
These associations and patterns of the past will not change overnight. However, with the persistence and patience they will begin to change. And as this occurs, many things will start to happen. One may find that they are very good at something they would never have imagined or thought about. Maybe one has been doing something for years and now wants to make it a bigger part of one’s life. It may be that one starts to develop the confidence to do what they have always wanted, but didn’t believe in themselves enough to follow their truth before.
It could mean that the people one associates with will change, as they don’t mirror who one really is. And many other outcomes can transpire as this process unfolds.
One thing is for certain here and that is life is too short to fulfil another person’s truth or what we believe is another person’s truth. But in order for one to realise this, it might take a while.
Oliver JR Cooper
Teacher, Author, Transformational Writer & Consultant - With Over 2,000,000 Article Views Online.
That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.
A Dialogue With The Heart - Part One
A Dialogue With The Heart - Part Two
A Dialogue With The Spirit
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