Basically with regards to adolescents, she said that they tend to view themselves based on what they feel on the inside [ergo, Inside rule] and they view others based on how people come across on the outside [hence, Outside rule]. Now, this is something I reckon goes beyond just adolescents. It is something I think we all do.
Think about it.
How many times have you thought that people must definitely know when you were depressed or anxious? How many times were you certain that everyone must be aware just how anxious you were when you had to speak in front of a big audience? How many of you think that after a fight with your partner, it must be obvious to everyone around you? And how many think that they are bad parents and therefore everyone else must be aware of it?
Even if you haven’t engaged in the Inside rule as much, there is no doubt you have engaged in the Outside rule. I say this with certainty because I do it too.
We see a happy couple and feel envious or jealous that our relationship is not ‘perfect’. We see people walking on the street and think about how ‘normal’ they are. Not a bother in the world. I even see clients present to me and wonder why they are there until they start to talk about their problems. The reason is they seem so well-adjusted. We see our colleagues day in and day out and think no one else has problems like we do — they all seem so happy.
The Outside rule comes with the fact that most people (including us) wear a mask more often than not. Hence the perception that everyone seems so ‘normal’. And everyone is coping so well. And no one else is suffering the way we do.
The fact of the matter is that suffering is a part of life.
Not just your life.
Or just my life.
But all of our lives.
Thinking that we are the only ones suffering and everyone else is ‘happy’ is what makes the suffering worse. Not accepting the fact that suffering is part of life also makes it harder to deal with.
We cannot choose pain as it happens to everyone. But we can choose how we respond to it.
Are you going to suffer or take action?
Are you going to continue viewing yourself based on the Inside Rule?
Are you going to beat yourself up by comparing to others based on the Outside Rule?
Because the choice that you make can result in the pain and suffering being bearable or unbearable.
Until next time,