Here’s a tough one.
Do you understand your own motivations?
I mean, like deeply and honestly, understand what it is that drives your behavior?
Few do. If it were easy, then the science of Psychology wouldn’t have been necessary and this generation’s culture of social media Influencers would never have been a thing.
The fact is, most of us are not conscious of our own motivations. We treat our lives much like we treat our vehicles, which is to say, as long as everything is working like we think it should, then we don’t look too closely. Hell, even when the “Check Engine” light comes on, many of us ignore it.
But what does this have to do with other people? Well, we are social creatures that take social cues from those around us. Fundamentally, our mothers, then our fathers and siblings, or extended family. These early relationships form our framework for how we are going to interact with other humans.
If everything goes well, we’re able to build relatively strong, stable relationships with others as well as having a strong enough sense of our own identity that we can move through social situations without them causing drastic harm to our view of who we are. We are able to set goals and boundaries, attain them, and enforce them.
If things in our early development do not go well, then all bets are off. With no firm framework on which to build relationships and our self-image, we are apt to look anywhere in the world in order to find some way to be or some level of acceptance.
We have probably, at some time in our lives, done something that we knew wasn’t really “us” in order to be accepted by a group. From people who stay in abusive relationships, to gangs, to cults, or substance abuse, there is no end to what we will do to feel “accepted.”
How can we learn to love others while still loving ourselves?
Well, I think it helps to understand our motivations. What we want out of life and out of our relationships. We need to be honest with ourselves about what we need to feel safe, loved, and accepted, and not settle for any less. We are all worth our best.
Have a great week.