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Sophie F's picture

Worrying about what other

Worrying about what other people think of us, while superficially relational is rooted in “I” and a “self” as defined by culture, which may be in conflict with one’s own stories. When I was in west Africa, there was not a sense of “what do people think of ME?” But “self” or "me" IS community, which is vastly different from the entanglements to which Lisa refers, in which culture attempts to homogenize individuals, which may, too, create internal and external conflicts.

My point was not that we are the protagonists in our stories; rather that individual "merit" and achievement and "survival of the fittest" mentality is a cultural construct that undermines our tendencies to be relational and outward looking.

For me, mental health is inherently relational because tacit knowledge is the deep well of history, experience, family, friends and culture that we store… and only later spills into our story-telling; these are the things of which we are not "aware" of which "I" is not aware. That is not to say individual thoughts, feelings, fears, anxieties are invalid, but that the “self” exists only in relation to others, not in a vacuum. Much internal conflict comes from not knowing one's role in relation to others, in relation to a social schema that validates certain behaviors and invalidates other behaviors...

Sorry for the jumble. I'm not really sure what I'm talking about, clearly!

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