Controlling self

~~~self-controlThere is an inescapable conflict between self-control and self-expression which self-control invariably wins.  That’s because we are social animals.  We see connection to each other as essential, and self-control as essential to remaining connected.  We believe we must hold ourselves in or risk rejection.  True enough, far as it goes.  It’s also why neurotic — split into two parts, public and private — is as healthy as any of us ever gets.  It’s why we value expressive people like writers and artists and actors and reward the best of them disproportionately.  It’s why we spend hours on social media, hoping to be seen and heard by someone.  It’s why we cry in private and scream in our cars.  It’s why we overwork and overworry and overcontrol and self-medicate with all manner of substances and other distractions.  It’s why so many of us finally limp into a therapist’s office hoping to find a safe place to step out of our cages, if just for an hour.  It’s why most people lead lives of existential loneliness and silent desperation.  And it’s why, as adults, our first responsibility must be to teach kids how to identify and express what they feel.  If we don’t understand this, or lack the skills or courage to teach this crucial human lesson, we inflict a wound that usually takes a lifetime to heal.  If it ever does.

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