Ackgnowleding our limitations – part one

Written by: Ana Zore, BA. pth.

I have just recently picked up a book that I bought some time ago, titled: “A matter of death and life”, by Irvin D. Yalom, an existential psychotherapist. It is an enriching and also hearth-breaking life story, which combines two perspectives. A perspective of a wife named Marilyn who was given a lethal diagnosis of  multiple myeloma and a perspective of her husband Irvin, who has been in love with her since they were teenagers. The book is far from a “light” read and what is also far from that is this attempt to write about my thoughts that have to do with my/our existence. 

Let us start at a collective lens and get more specific through some great existential thinkers. The all-consuming modern wold of capitalism and technology “dictates” us to focus on our personal agenda. It pushes us into a direction of self-perseverance and self-interests which gives a sense of accomplishment and validation from the outside world. It also plays on our primary, biological need for survival, survival of the fittest, and also survival of the richest, sexiest and the ones who have the most influence, especially on the internet. 

Being moderately young, a millennial, I too fall into a paradigm which was pointed out by Stein (2013) that narcissism is an increasing factor in today’s youth (compared to the older generations). In general we are more self-absorbed than the baby boomers and generation X in the same age period. So dealing with our own individual problems and focusing on our own “success” in this modern age, that is focused on gaining superficial accolades, is something that is collectively ingrained in our generation. Prioritizing these ideals could lead us to egotism, too high of expectations which lead to disappointment and finally to mental distress (Wong, 2014). 

It is also important to put forward the limited resources of our planet, that cannot sustain our ever growing hunger of materialistic culture. It is important that we acknowledge our limitations and the limitations of our social context which can only give us so much and at the end leave us feeling unfulfilled.

So why even bother looking for something else, something that exceeds our own personal bubble? Why even bother pursuing getting to know ourselves, our real selves not our personas, why even bother postulating heavy and scary questions about our existence, if the all-consuming world already demands so much of us?

Sources:

Frankl, V.E. (2000). Man’s search for ultimate meaning. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Perseus Publishing.
Frankl, V.E. (2008). Man’s search for meaning. UK: Rider.
Frankl, V.E. (2014). Volja do smisla. Celje: Celjska Mohorjeva družba. 
Frankl, V.E. (2015). Zdravnik in duša: Osnove logoterapije in bivanjske analize. Celje: Celjska Mohorjeva družba.
Stein, J. (2013). Millennials: The Me Me Me Generation. Time article, Vol. 181, Issue 19. p26. 8p. Gained through: https://www.manasquanschools.org/cms/lib6/NJ01000635/Centricity/Domain/174/millennials_themememegeneration.pdf
Wong, P. (2017). Frankl’s Self-Transcendence Model and Virtue Ethics. Gained through: http://www.drpaulwong.com/frankls-self-transcendence-model-and-virtue-ethics/
Wong, P. (2014). Meaning-seeking, Self-Transcendence, and Well-Being. Gained through: http://www.drpaulwong.com/meaning-seeking-self-transcendence-and-well-being/

About me:

I work as a trainee psychotherapist under supervision, in Ljubljana-Slovenia. 

I primarily work through the frame of psychodynamic psychotherapy that was developed in Germany. The mentioned modality is based on psychoanalysis but additionally encompasses the humanistic approaches and includes body work or body techniques. I am also interested in the topics of existentialism, which has brought me to continue my education in logotherapy.

You can find more about me and my work at:

https://en.psihoterapija-anazore.com

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