Disliking Yourself

Inner emptiness, the inability to tolerate being alone are symptomatic of a lack of self-knowledge, a poorly defined sense of self. Sufferers often describe the chronic condition as a feeling of loneliness. People with this problem usually have a desperate need for the regard and affection of others, said regard and affection providing the means to ward off, or at least ameliorate, painful self-dislike. Since they cannot accept themselves, they have a powerful need to forget themselves, to get out of themselves, to do something, anything, which will promote self-forgetfulness, self-oblivion. Psychologists claim that a lack of happy family life in childhood may lay the foundations for such a plight. A child unloved by its parents never learns to love itself.

Eleanor Rigby Statue in Liverpool

Like The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” you may experience self-alienation as a feeling of intense loneliness or inner emptiness. (photo: Erik Ribsskog)

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Where Does Will Come From?

Coronation Chair for a King

Will occupies the seat of power in the psyche. But where is that seat? (Image: public domain.)

Einstein’s recipe for his success – curiosity, obsession, and stubbornness – might also be listed as curiosity, wilfulness, and headstrongness. He was self-willed, possessed a lot of willpower.

These days we say will or willpower does not work, pointing to those who fail to diet or quit smoking as proof. The trouble here is that the decision to diet or quit smoking is just that – a conscious decision – and not an act of will. What these folks will is to go on eating and smoking, so in truth, their “failures” are actually proof that willpower does work. To change something about oneself, or to accomplish some difficult thing, one must will that it be so – not decide – will.

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