Living with Everyday Misery and Illusion
Freud once said that each of us needs to make the choice between a life of everyday misery and illusion. Even though he said this more than hundred years ago, it still has relevance for the way we live our lives. Neither option is palatable; but one of the choices may prove to be better than the other. Here's why.
Our lives of illusion
For many of us, in many areas of our life we live a life of illusion. I'm happy. I'm positive. My marriage is good. I don't drink too much. I am well-regarded. I'm a good parent. My partner is happy with me. I like my job. I am generous. I’ve done well in my life. I did the best I could. I'm not hurting anyone. I never lie. You can't hurt me. It wasn't my fault. I had to do this on my own. No one cares for me. I think I'm dumb. I will fail again.
Facing the unbearable truth
It might be that these things are true; on the other hand, perhaps we have been too frightened to really find out if they are true. To find out that these things aren't true – or are true – would sometimes be too hard for us to bear, too disrupting for our lives.
Therapy is bravery
To enter therapy is to take the risk of finding out that the things you think are true are illusions. Some of these things might be confirmed; some things might be partially true: and some of these things might be illusions. To take the step into therapy is a step of bravery — we don't know where it can go and what we might find out. The only thing we do know is that it takes us closer to truth. This truth might be hard to live with, but at least it gives us something to work with and a solid foundation to start to make changes in our lives.
We may end up with a life of everyday misery, but at least we are no longer fooling ourselves. Then we start to work to find a way to live with our lives as they actually are.
– Tim Hill
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