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Make Peace with Your Unlived Life

Identity exploration

The journey of identity exploration often begins at adolescence.

Some people always do what others think is a good idea for them. Only later on in life, they will start to think that they never really pursued their own ideals, but the desires of others. It can become draining and contribute to life choices that don't accommodate their real needs.


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Make Peace with Your Unlived Life

Make Peace with Your Unlived Life


Key Ideas

The true self and the shadow self

The idea of a "true self" and a "false or shadow self" has long preoccupied psychologists.

  • Carl Jung viewed the "shadow self" as our unknown, dark side. Jung believed that unless we come to terms with our shadow side, we will become its victim.
  • Similarly, psychologist Erik Erikson introduced the idea of the identity crisis. He said that identity formation has a dark and negative side, and in the process of becoming an adult, these negatives attract you. You have to integrate it into your sense of identity.
  • Donald Winnicott developed the idea further of the "true self" and "false self." He explained that we develop a defensive structure from a young age that may turn into a "false self." Later we will hide or deny our "true self."

Identity exploration

The journey of identity exploration often begins at adolescence.

Some people always do what others think is a good idea for them. Only later on in life, they will start to think that they never really pursued their own ideals, but the desires of others. It can become draining and contribute to life choices that don't accommodate their real needs.

The unlived life

A person may experience a delayed identity crisis, but it may contain seeds of psychological renewal - the motivation to move into new directions in life.

Instead of ignoring these parts, accept the unlived parts of yourself and learn to read the messages that are contained in it. In doing so, you may discover all sorts of creative and positive ideas, ready to come to light.


Our inner 'demons'

Our inner Demons, or inner voices, make us do irrational, stupid and selfish things, based out of fear.

We hide and distract ourselves from our inner voice, which is nothing but our fear and ...

Our common negative parts

Some of our common 'demons' are:

  • Procrastination
  • Laziness
  • Self-loathing
  • Comparing yourself with your peers, leading to envy
  • Loser mentality.
The downward spiral

Our inner demons lead us to negatively judge ourselves, further leading to avoiding that judgment, and eventually starting the internal self-destruction, if the negative downward spiral is left unchecked.

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Carl Jung's Archetypes
Carl Jung's Archetypes

In the psychology of Carl Jung, the archetypes represent universal patterns and images that are part of the collective unconscious.
The four main archetypes described by Jung are:

    The Persona

    In a public situation, we present a different version of ourselves than from the one at home. Every profession has unspoken agreements about which manners are acceptable, and which are not.

    It is then the purpose of the persona to suppress the impulses and emotions that are not considered socially acceptable. The difficulty is when one becomes so identified with his persona that he loses all sense of self. The result is an inflated persona with excessive concern for what people think and a lack of courage to endure conflict and refuse others' wishes.

    The Shadow

    The 'shadow self' is everything a person has denied in themselves, such as spontaneity, aggression, cowardice, carelessness, passion, enthusiasm. It embraces all the thoughts and moods for which we feel guilt and shame.

    The shadow is emotional, for it must oppose the rigidness of the ego. It is prone to psychological projection, where we attribute to others the inferior qualities we do not want to admit are in ourselves. When we perceive a moral deficiency in others, we can be sure there is similar inferiority within ourselves. If we take note of our resentment towards ourselves and others, we have the opportunity to bring the shadow into consciousness.

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    Network Effects

    Network effects are the unseen forces that are guiding our destiny and exerting a powerful intervention on our lives, creating energy that escorts us down a path that is not always fully our intent...

    Zipf's Law

    Zipf's law is a mathematical probability that states that in a given set, the most frequently used data value (or word) is used twice as often as the next most common value. This is true in various statistical sets like income distribution in companies, internet traffic, phone calls received, and language.

    One of the implications of this law is there are unconscious network forces and mathematical patterns governing our lives, with human beings just being nodes exchanging information.

    Dinner Party Mathematics

    When six to eight people are conversing at a dinner party, it is easy to focus on one conversation, but if the number is higher (say 15), then two-way conversations are more likely.

    When groups get larger, the change is exponential, not linear, affecting one's social experience.

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    Identity and our values
    Identity and our values

    Identity is mainly concerned with the question: “Who am I?” What does it mean to be who I am?

    Identity relates to the values that guide the choices we make (relati...

    Few people choose their identities

    Most of us just incorporate the values of our parents or the dominant cultures (for example, the pursuit of materialism, power, and appearance). This is risky, because these values may not feel authentic and can lead us to live an unfulfilling life.

    Not having a consistent sense of identity will lead to uncertainty about what one wants to do in life. In contrast, people that live fulfilled lives stay true to their values and pursue meaningful goals.

    We can hold multiple identities

    You can be a teacher, a mother or friend. Each has its own sense and assumptions that are internalized as identity.

    A major mission of self-development during early adolescence is the separation of different selves as a function of social context with an awareness of the potential contradictions.

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    What Confidence Is

    True confidence is a feeling of self-assurance that is grounded in an authentic experience of our own ability, perspective and sufficiency.

    It’s a stable connection to the fact that we...

    Why Confidence Matters
    • Confidence is an amplifier of quality and success. 
    • Confidence is essential to influence and leadership.
    • Confidence isn’t just about style. It’s also about substance.
    • Confidence protects us. It's one of the greatest weapons we can develop.
    Nonverbal communication

    Confidence is expressed most profoundly through our bodies. No matter how well we speak, the way we feel about ourselves will always manifest in our posture, our hand movements and our facial features. 

    So commit to strong, positive body language and make a conscious effort to form habits that make your nonverbal communication automatic.

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    Finding your purpose

    Many seem to think that purpose comes from your unique gifts and sets you apart from other people. That is only partly true.

    Meaningful goals that foster a sense of purpose are ones that can ...


    Reading connects us to people across time and space.

    • Research shows that those who read the Bible more tended to have a stronger sense of purpose.
    • Reading fiction also seems to make a difference. By seeing purpose in the lives of other people, we are more likely to see it in our own.
    Find purpose in suffering

    Finding purpose is not just an intellectual pursuit, it is something we need to feel. That's why purpose can grow out of suffering.

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    Being alone during a pandemic

    Being alone and, therefore, forced to face our own thoughts, can prove rather disturbing. People need other people to feel well: being sociable is not anymore just a skill to develop, it is a mere ...

    Enforced solitude and its advantages

    The current pandemic has us facing one of our biggest fears: staying alone, dealing with our own emotions and thoughts. However, this situation has also a great deal of advantages. While in self-isolation, we can use this time to improve ourselves by discovering new hobbies or just developing skills we have already gathered, cultivating our mind through reading. In fewer words, we finally have the time to learn how to deal with ourselves. And this is always a good thing.

    The wonders of a clear sense of purpose during isolation

    As difficult as it may seem, self-isolation has its benefits. When spending your time alone, the key to handle this situation is to find a purpose in your suffering. In other words, focus on why your suffering is doing good to others as well as to yourself. Furthermore, the fact that you stick to a certain routine or that
    everybody is doing the same thing provides you not only with a meaning, but also with a sense of belonging.

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    Mark Manson

    “Life is essentially an endless series of problems—the solution to one problem is merely the creation of the next..."

    Mark Manson
    Life as a Paradox

    Life is full of paradoxes, and anything and everything that we hope for or desire only leads to more anxiety and stress, creating new problems for us.

    We can be content. But it's not simple. To understand why we seem to be constantly dissatisfied with ourselves and the world, we must understand some basic psychological principles.

    Psychological Thermostats

    Our behavior, contentment, desires, expectations, and body clocks are set differently, and this may lead to conflicts and problems with others.

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    Ideologies ≠ Ideologues
    Ideologies ≠ Ideologues

    Ideologies: ideas that, disguised as science or philosophy, claim to explain the complexity of the world and offer remedies that will perfect it.

    Ideologues: people who pretend ...

    Virtue ≠ Virtue Signaling

    Jordan Peterson observed that virtues aim for balance and to avoid the extremes of the vices. Cultivating judgment about the difference between virtue and vice is the beginning of wisdom.

    Modern relativism asserts judging how to live is impossible, because good and virtue are relative. Thus relativism’s version of “virtue” is “tolerance.” This leads to people broadcasting their tolerance as a form of self-promotion, and secret vice, which is also known as virtue signaling.

    Order and Chaos

    Order is where the people around you act according to the established social norms, remaining predictable and cooperative. Society is simultaneously structure and oppression.

    Chaos is where the unexpected happens. 

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    The Bees and the symphony of life
    The Bees and the symphony of life

    Against every choice of destruction, there is always the choice of creation.

    This is the message of Poet Audre Lorde, as she draws on bees to describe the alternative to destruction. He...

    “Construction and destruction alike satisfy the will to power, but construction is more difficult as a rule, and therefore gives more satisfaction to the person who can achieve it."

    “Construction and destruction alike satisfy the will to power, but construction is more difficult as a rule, and therefore gives more satisfaction to the person who can achieve it."