…is undoubtedly that of your Inner Critic, who makes sure you’re aware whenever you fall short of its high expectations. Of course, since the Inner Critic is a part of you, the expectations are really your own. What those expectations are and how you came to take them on may be easily explained or may take several determined years of therapy to get to the bottom of.
I’ve never been convinced it’s actually possible to figure out what caused what, psychologically speaking. There are simply too many factors, too many things we don’t yet know about ourselves—scientifically, psychologically, and sociologically, let alone about our personal histories—to ever be able to say we know absolutely, positively, without a doubt that the reason we think or do thing A is because thing B happened to us when we were six years old. The influence of Rene Descartes to the contrary, we are not the equivalent of machines, either physiologically or psychologically, and using that model on ourselves isn’t particularly useful or effective. In addition to that, our memories are notoriously inaccurate in regard to both significant and insignificant events.
Yes, it’s comforting to think we know. As a species we like mysteries, but only when they’re solved in books or on screen. Continue reading