Searching for Perfection: Why We Won’t Allow Ourselves to Fall in Love

There’s an old adage, a cliché f you will, which tells us that as long as we can’t love ourselves, we can’t love others; and, it implies the concept of psychological projection. The Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung noted that what bothers us most about others is merely a reflection of ourselves, although a suppressed one. So, is it true that if we conceive of ourselves as being the worst that we won’t be able to love or be in love? The answer, as most other aspects of life, is complicated.

I’ve written in past articles about perfection seekers, those individuals who perpetually find something wrong with their partners and, subsequently, abruptly end their relationships, and I wanted to expand on the topic, focusing on the function perfection seeking serves. Loving yourself fully is nearly impossible, and most individuals will always have characteristics about themselves that they’ll dislike; but, for some, those who have a deep-seated self-hatred, they’ll continue to find it challenging to connect with others, because the traits they most despise within are perceived, and disdained, without.

Whenever we feel, or believe, that others aren’t good enough for us, whenever we find ourselves bored with and/or unattracted to individuals we believe to be attractive, whenever we become hyper-critical of those whom we’re close with, or could be close with, we ought to turn inwardly and ask ourselves why. Why is this person who’s physically attractive, educated, fun, and seemingly charming not good enough for me to date? Why are my friends all of the sudden not sophisticated, and worldly, enough? And this brings us back to the famous platitude: When you believe that you aren’t good enough for others, you’ll convince yourself that it is they who aren’t good enough for you.

Why do we do this? Because, although we’ve persuaded ourselves that we desire intimacy, we actually fear it, and thus, push it away. We profoundly fear our own inadequacy being exposed, so, we reject others before they can reject us. And for those who believe that they’ve found perfection, eventually their own insecurities force the other’s flaws into the spotlight, catalyzing a breakup. There isn’t a simple solution to this, but insight offers a necessary beginning. If you continue to wonder why you haven’t found love, starting with why it’s difficult for you to love will guide you to fruitful territory.

 

 

2 Comments

  1. I really love your post – I love myself so I cam love it – and in my experience, it’s Jung’s assessment of this phenomenon that rings true. In my current relationship I see my husband going up and down in his struggles with depression/ dysthymia and he’s far more loving and kind and less argumentative when he’s able to see himself in a positive light. I live in a petrie dish of experiences in this love to be loved realm.

    Like

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