into terrible loneliness.
Children who are supposed to be "seen and not heard" cannot help but suffer from overwhelming feelings of alienation and rejection. Many who were silenced by the "no talk" rule in childhood continue to suffer the same kind of mute loneliness in adulthood. They have yet to learn that real connection and belonging comes from people talking uninhibitedly together.
Perfectionism intensifies the silencing, isolating effect of the "no-talk" rule. Many of us are unable to express anything about ourselves that is not 110% shiny. We are so afraid of being seen as less than perfect that there is little that we feel safe to share.
Dysfunctional parents customarily attack and belittle their children's natural inclination to be enthusiastically self expressive. One of my parents' implicit rules was that I was not allowed to express the slightest hint of pride in myself, that was bragging and was socially in appropriate and self centered. At the same time, one of their favorite statements was, "Don't you have any pride in yourself?" That kind of 'double bind' feeds the confusion of self, and the self remains undeveloped.
Many terms given were, "Get off of your high horse..." or "You are entitled to your own opinion even if it stinks" or "Everyone listen to Ms. High and Mighty."
Only when we fully express ourselves can we know that we are truly appreciated by others.
Only from full disclosure can we discover that we are lovable in all aspect of ourselves.
Much loneliness is healed through open and uncensored communication. To the extent that I can share my experience with you, to the extent do I feel received and loved by you. Self expression and self esteem are interdependent. The intimacy born out of honest and authentic sharing makes us feel good about ourselves and in turn encourages us to be increasingly forthright.
Remember, self esteem cannot be reclaimed while perfectionism prevails. Self esteem in many ways be opposite of perfectionism. Real self esteem does not dissolve because of a blemish, a dropped dish, or a dateless Saturday night. Real self esteem does not instantly evaporate when we feel sad mad, bad or lonely.
Our self esteem is as solid as our ability to accept and respect our courses in all circumstances: health and sickness, success and failure, togetherness and solitude, happiness and sorrow, enthusiasm and depression.
As Oscar Wilde said: "It is not the perfect, but the imperfect that is in need of our love."
The Tao of Fully Feeling-Walker