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¿Por qué queremos ser perfectos, si podemos ser suficientemente buenos?

El mundo en que vivimos se ha convertido en un lugar en donde “o eres perfecto, o serás criticado.” Esto es algo muy difícil que pedir de cualquier persona, o de cualquier cosa. Como personas, fallaremos…como personas, caeremos…no siempre tendremos todas las respuestas, aun siendo expertos en algún área de conocimiento…y aun así, esperamos que todos actúan como si nunca fallaran, como si nunca caerán…como si siempre tuviéramos todas las respuestas…

Photoshop, Facebook, y otros medios sociales y tecnológicas, pueden ayudar a algunos de nosotros a parecer “perfectos.” Pero en realidad ninguno lo somos. En efecto, puede que aun sean bellos/as, inteligentes y personas maravillosas, pero me imagino que incluso ellos/as mismos/as dirán que están muy lejos de ser perfectos!

Luchar por ser perfectos nos puede provocar todo tipo de problemas: estrés, ansiedad, depresión, enojo, obsesión con actuar siempre bien…tendremos miedo de ser criticados y juzgados, y de ser vistos con desdén en lugar de admiración… (Benson, 2003).

No me malinterpreten – dar más del 100% en tu trabajo o en tu vida personal no tienen absolutamente nada de malo. De hecho, es algo muy positivo demostrar cariño a la gente que amamos, y tener éxitos en el trabajo y que te reconozcan por ellos.

Donde se pone complicado, es cuando dar más del 100% te está deprimiendo, estresando o enfermando (psicológica o físicamente) …por qué, entonces, quisieras seguir viviendo así?

¿Sería mejor buscar ser “suficiente Buenos”?

Winnicott escribió acerca de la madre suficientemente buena. Él dice que la madre suficiente buena le dará el cuidado necesario a su hijo para satisfacer sus necesidades, pero gradualmente necesitara alejarse un poco del niño, causando desilusión – algo necesario que tiene que suceder, y que sucede naturalmente – lo cual lleva al niño a darse cuenta que la madre no es una extensión de sí mismo, que es un ente independiente, y que hay otras cosas que toman su atención – la vida real entrara en juego, por ejemplo la madre irá a darse una ducha, irá al baño, contestará el teléfono, irá a trabajar, etc…

Inicialmente, esto puede frustrar al niño e incluso confundirlo, pero los cuidados y presencia predecible de la madre lo llevaran a aprender a ser un ente independiente, y a reconocer a la madre como tal también. El niño puede volverse autónomo a partir de esto.

En cambio, si la madre es demasiado buena o demasiado mala, ambas situaciones pueden obstruir la formación de la identidad del niño, e interferir con el desarrollo del mismo como ente autónomo e independiente de la madre. La madre demasiado buena lleva al niño a la fantasía de que el mundo es una extensión de sí mismo, mientras que la madre demasiado mala provee tanta desilusión y frustración que el niño no podrá confiar en el mundo externo (Bingham and Sidorkin; pg.115).

La pregunta sigue en pie: ¿por qué ser perfectos cuando podemos ser lo suficientemente buenos?

¿Por qué queremos luchar con las presiones de ser perfectos, de ser demasiado buenos, cuando lo mejor que podemos hacer es aceptar que no siempre haremos lo correcto, que nos equivocaremos, que no siempre tendremos todas las respuestas, que no es necesario sufrir para ser aceptados, y que quienes nos acepten lo harán por quienes somos, no por quienes la sociedad espera que seamos?

No sería mejor elegir vivir felices, tranquilos, con una vida lo suficientemente buena, que o nos cause enfermedades físicas o psicológicas –claro, siempre habrá problemas, no podemos evitarlos en esta vida, pero podemos ayudarnos y hacerlos más fáciles de manejar, ya sea a través de terapia o simplemente aceptarnos como somos, sin importar lo que piense nadie más o lo que nos quiera imponer la sociedad.

¿Creo que eso es suficientemente Bueno, no crees? Yo creo que sí…

Deja tus comentarios abajo…

 

References

Bingham, C.W., and Sidorkin, A.M. (2004), No education without relation. Peter Lang Publishing

Benson, E. (November 2003) The Many faces of perfectionism. Available at: http://www.apa.org/monitor/nov03/manyfaces.aspx. Monitor on Psychology. American Psychological Association.

 

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Why be perfect when you can be good-enough?

The world we live in has become a place of “be perfect or be judged”. That is a tough ask for anyone and anything. People will fail…people will stumble…people will not have ll the answers, even if they are experts in a certain topic… yet we expect everyone to perform as if they will never fail, stumble…as if they have all the answers…

Photoshop, Facebook, and other social media apps and computer technologies, helps some people seem “perfect”–we only show our best side on these platforms, don’t we?But they/we  really aren’t perfect. Don’t get me wrong, They might still be beautiful, intelligent and wonderful people, but even they would say that they are far from perfect.

Striving for perfection will cause all sorts of problems for us. We will become stressed, anxious, depressed, angry, obsessed with performing well at all times…we will fear being judged and looked at with less than admiration… (Benson, 2003)

Don’t get me wrong – go the extra mile at work or in your home life. Nothing wrong with that. In fact it is great to be able to be kind to the ones we love, and achieve at work, and be recognised for it.

But if going that extra mile gets you down, stresses you out, makes you ill (psychologically and physically), then why would you want to keep going down this path…

Why not be good-enough instead?

Winnicott theorised about the good-enough mother. He said that the good-enough-mother will nurture her child in such a way that the child’s needs are met fully, but then gradually, she will need to disappoint the child –something that happens naturally and without planning– by leading the child to realise that his mother is not an extension of him/herself, and that mother has other things that take her attention – life will get in the way, mum needs a shower, the toilet, to answer the phone, to go to work, etc.

The child might be initially frustrated and confused by this, but the mother’s nurturing and predictable presence will lead the child to learn how to become an independent being, and to recognise that the mother is also an independent being. The child then can become autonomous.

On the other hand, “a too-good mother or a not-good-enough one, both obstruct self-formation and interfere with the development of an autonomous self. The former does so by contributing to the illusion that the world is an extension of ‘me’ while the later provides so much disillusionment that the child never learns to trust the outside world.” (Bingham and Sidorkin; pg.115)

Now, the question prevails: why be perfect, when you can be good enough?

Why struggle with the pressures of being perfect, of being too-good, rather than accepting that we won’t always get it right, that we will not always know all the answers, that there is no need to suffer to be accepted, and that whoever accepts you will do so for who you are, and not what society expects you to be?

Why not choose a happy, calm, good-enough life, that won’t make us physically or psychologically ill – of course there will be bumps along the road, we can’t avoid that in life, but we can make it easier to manage, through therapy or just through acceptance of who we are no matter what , no matter what anyone else thinks…

That is pretty good-enough, isn’t it? I think so…

Leave me a comment below if you have anything to add, any questions or feedback…

 

References

Bingham, C.W., and Sidorkin, A.M. (2004), No education without relation. Peter Lang Publishing

Benson, E. (November 2003) The Many faces of perfectionism. Available at: http://www.apa.org/monitor/nov03/manyfaces.aspx. Monitor on Psychology. American Psychological Association.

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Going Through

“Going through” the counselling process

 

As counsellors, we are required to go through personal counselling whilst we train, and I would say it’s recommended to carry on after training is completed – there is always something to learn, some are to grow, blind spots to take care of. Therefore, we are no strangers to how painful “going through” the counselling process can be. Yes, in the end, looking back, it is worth every tear and every difficult moment we spend trying to figure out what is going on, why it’s going on, or what went on and why it went on, not to forget the all important here-and-now what and when with our own counsellor.

 

Counselling is like an archaeological dig in some respects, and like taking a plaster off in others. It awakens deep feelings we probably didn’t even know we had, unprocessed parts of our stories that affect us in the now, for better or worse. In a word, when in counselling a person might feel RAW. Everything is lifted and up in the air, leaving us to wonder, when are things gonna feel settled and “normal” again…Why did I even start this process, it’s too painful…

 

It is important as counsellors to remind our clients that we know what they’re going through, that we understand how painful uncovering repressed and traumatic things from their past and present, can be, but also to reassure them that this won’t last forever, that they are not on their own whilst dealing with their stuff, and that they will come to a point where it will all make sense, and they will be better off for having stuck with the process.

 

Going through our own counselling makes us better practitioners, because we have the experience of sitting on the client’s chair, we have uncovered repressed and traumatic things in our own lives and have learned more or less to bear them, to deal with them, to work on them, and to make sense of it all in the end.

 

There’s always more to “go through”, as the unconscious is vast, and the ego will always try and keep the repressed where it is, but as much work as we do on ourselves, the better it will be for our own wellbeing but also it will be so beneficial to our clients, as we will be better equipped to help see them through their present struggles.

 

Clients who come to us for counselling are looking to “make sense” of the issues that brought them to counselling to start with. We must remember that in order to get to that place where things “make sense” again, we must hold a space of safety, trust and confidentiality for our clients, and hold them – through our particular modalities, empathically, professionally, ethically and more importantly, humanely -through the painful process of “going through” to find what they came seeking.

 

(also published on counselling directory website)

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Do what you’re passionate about

So how did I end up being passionate about Counselling?

Well, I was destined to be a medical doctor according to my father, bless him! So I gave that a try for two years, but I wasn’t loving it or being successful in it at all. Don’t get me wrong, I did learn lots and am thankful for those two years, they weren’t wasted at all!

When I was making my decision to change career choice, I stumbled upon a Culture and Personality course, which led me to think that this might be the way. So I started my counselling career not very enthused about it, but not closing my mind to the possibility either.

My tutors were so passionate about psychology and counselling, that it was infectious and got me hooked on the topic, particularly psychodynamic counselling. So I carried on studying and learning and becoming more and more interested in philosophy, psychopathology, human development, psychoanalysis, and so on. #

This got amplified and proven worthwhile when I had my first counselling client in Guatemala, back in 2003. So I can say that from then onward, Counselling has been my passion and have dedicated my time to training and practising, helping my clients find their way back and find their truth and place in life.

It is so rewarding and a blessing to be allowed into people’s worlds in such a way! It really is!

So this is my passion: Counselling. This is what I do. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Find your passion and do it! Whatever it takes, whatever form it takes…Do what you’re passionate about!