No matter what kind of couple you want to be in, there are things you can do psychologically to help you get there. One of the most potent is to make yourself into the person, you would like the person you love, or would love, to love. Bet you can’t say that three times fast.
The point is, if you believe in the psychological function of ‘self-creation’ then you understand that we’re all much more than simply the persona we project. The trick is to know enough about who you uniquely are on the inside to create a persona that comes the closest to representing that true inner you. This used to be called having ‘integrity.’
The bonus of course is, when your outside matches your inside the love, peace of mind, and simple happiness that is possible is off the charts. A lot of people are so accustomed to being who they were made to be that they never question whether or not it is possible to be the someone they are supposed to be. Strange way to talk, huh?
In many instances, who you present yourself to be has been shaped and dictated to you by other people, institutions, belief systems, etc. That’s the part that can hurt. The tragedy is, you could go through your entire life never being a truer reflection of who you uniquely are inside.
Starting with your family of origin, you’ll meet a lot of people in this life who will want and need you to be exactly what they want and need you to be. The influences on you will be strong. Taking the time to find out who you are on the inside, in other words, the ‘unique you’ that has always been there and will never change, is a really important piece of psychological work to start sooner than later.
In my profession, I see people all the time who make it to middle-age and start questioning who they are. They tell me they have been who other people in their lives expected them to be for decades.
Now for some reason or another the persona they created doesn’t satisfy anymore and they start to feel like it is limiting them in many ways. In my mind, this is a great opportunity, even though it may not feel good right now.
They might get depressed, angry, chronically frustrated, anxious, start to drink or drug to get away from the reality that it coming into consciousness, or they might simply start acting in a way that is uncharacteristic. Somebody might define this as a ‘sickness.’
It’s important to get past this limited psychiatric explanation and realize that what such a person is experiencing is the ‘need to change’ themselves into someone with more integrity (remember? outside matches inside).
Once the cause of the unhappiness and symptoms is understood, it is possible to guide and support the individual through this process of change. Getting to know and articulate who you uniquely are on the inside that is trying to emerge and influence the outside is the most important task at hand. Perhaps, the most important task of your life.
The end result when it works out is, you’ll take charge of changing and re-creating your persona (outside) to match what you are learning about yourself on the inside. It’s a beautiful thing to witness.
When my patients ask me why I always work in a suit, I tell them that my work is like going to church. I dress up for the experience of witnessing human beings change into a true free reflection of who they really are. Getting back to love, once this happens the ability to love and be loved hits the roof.
Comments? Welcome. Dr. Tom Jordan