Your interpersonal self

When you grow up feeling dominated by the expectations and pressures of others it is easy to lose yourself in that interpersonal space.

In the interpersonal space they use a different currency. Things you don’t really care about become important, and you feel a pressure to be somebody in the eyes of others. Or at least not be nobody.

But when it comes to your real self, interpersonal currency is not legal tender. Your real self doesn’t give a fuck about all the things you’ve been striving for and struggling to maintain in that interpersonal space. Your real self doesn’t care about who you hope to become, or how your dreams will change everything for you.

Polarised extremes

If you experience this massive contrast between your interpersonal self with its plans and striving and motivation, and your real self whose down-time consists of wanting to block everything out and just avoid difficulties, then it can seem impossible to reconcile the two.

You’ve carried on such a convincing public performance, you’ve fooled even yourself into thinking these goals of yours will bring you happiness. How can you possibly stop right now and let people see that you simply don’t give a crap? That your number one motivation in life is to avoid trouble as much as possible. That the things that seem to excite and please others barely move you.

I don’t know the answer yet. But I think this sense of polar opposites, night and day, is exacerbated by the division. Your real self is extra disagreeable and uninspired because it’s been so alienated and suppressed.

Your real self has no apparent interests or purpose because it’s been drowned out by interpersonal ones for so long.

So it may seem like too big a change to suddenly give your real self more air time, to bring your dour self with you into your life. But even though it feels poorer in all the values and virtues you’ve tried to bring to please others, it has something your interpersonal self will never have: alignment, authenticity, acceptance, and therefore the seeds of genuine love and joy. Not the joy you thought you’d feel when you were finally good enough in the eyes of others. Not the love you thought you’d find when you met the standards you learned from those around you.

You’ve been playing with shiny, glittering fake currency. Your actual wealth doesn’t look like that, but it’s real. Real enough to let you give up at last on chasing approval and validation out there.