You seek to protect your ego at all costs. But that requires a great deal of cognitive dissonance, since your particular brand of self-acceptance, if you can even call it that, is very conditional: you’re only worthy IF.
And every time you find out that you don’t meet your own arbitrary criteria, you have to go through a grieving process. One of a number of things can happen as a result:
- total denial of the issue (not sustainable)
- you can tweak something here and there by lowering the bar and/or overestimating your own abilities (not likely)
- or, you can accept that you’re a failure & give up on yourself altogether, which is what I usually go for.
and you keep letting go of condition after condition, but not of their “objective” significance. Meaning, you still believe them to be true and right, you just lower your standards to accommodate your new & ever evolving definition of “bare minimum”: you expect less of yourself, but you also think less & less of yourself.
and you keep adjusting to the new lows, until apparently there is nowhere else to go, but it is never enough. and right when you think youve reached rock bottom, it turns out there is one more thing you’ve been taking for granted.
and you keep reevaluating your situation. You’re forever chasing after the most accurate way to assess how you compare to others, because you cant be happy UNLESS.
Of course a happiness predicated on the notion of being somehow “better” (as “good enough” naturally implies that some people… aren’t) is presumptuous, superficial, and bound to always induce anxiety and a lingering sense of inadequacy — ready to come out the moment you sense that you are “worse” at this thing or another.
What’s more, I don’t actually believe the same things about other people: I think everyone else can & should be happy, regardless of their looks, health, intelligence, personality, sense of humor, you name it. Well… that is all fine and dandy, but people who were blessed with more desirable traits probably are happier.
But okay… let’s not consider social approval for a second. How do you maintain a steady sense of self worth regardless of external validation? Or put differently, what amount of reassurance and compliments would it take to make you feel secure?
…ah… I see.