Let Your Complexes Fall Away

· August 7, 2017

Few things are more cathartic, satisfying, or liberating than letting go of your complexes. Expressing yourself and loving yourself just the way you are. These are powerful weapons, self-esteem boosters, iron shields that protect you against empty criticism and destructive comments.

Up until not very long ago, the subject of complexes belonged to psychoanalysis. A place where terms like Oedipus complex, Bovary complex, and Electra complex lead people to classify every behavior and personality feature.

“A man should not strive to eliminate his complexes, but to get into accord with them; they are legitimately what directs his conduct in the world.”

-Sigmund Freud-

The word “complex” was introduced by Carl Jung and made popular later by Freudian psychoanalysis. Beneath this thicket of terminology and attempt at categorizing human behavior, there’s an indisputable central root: feelings of inferiority.

Within the most basic goals of psychology, being able to detect and understand the origin of the mind’s responses to self-perceived defects and shortcomings is almost like removing the nails that hold the basement door closed. It’s a private space where you breathe in air that needs to be ventilated by new approaches and more self-esteem.

It’s fitting to say that it isn’t easy. The process of breaking or reformulating such destructive thought patterns takes time and a lot of therapeutic gentleness. Like Freud himself once said, sometimes real trauma can hide behind a complex.

face

The origin of complexes

It’s interesting to look into the etymology of the terms we use so often. The word “complex” derives from the Latin “complectere,” and means to embrace or encompass. Therefore, we’re talking about being trapped in a tight grip between a bear’s fierce claws, forming a single being that’s both predator and prey.

Any dictionary definition will tell you that complexes are fed by one’s own irrational thoughtsThoughts like “I look like a beached whale,” “I’m a coward, an ostrich that hides its head in the ground,” or “I’m worthless” feed back relentlessly into the feeling of inferiority.


However, it’s important to clarify that these irrational thoughts often come from real, painfully specific situations. Most of our complexes have their origin in childhood. Being undervalued, verbally abused, or put down by one’s parents creates deep wounds.

girl hiding behind hands

Later on in life, these traumatic events are reinforced during adolescence. The lack of self-esteem and useful defense strategies leads the person to be overwhelmed by the jungle-like world of high school. It’s a place where any shortcoming, physical flaw, behavioral issue, and even intelligence are often reified and cruelly pointed out.

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Say goodbye to feelings of inferiority

It’s important to develop immunity against the virus of inferiority. There are serious consequences of walking through life with a fragile self-esteem and self-concept. For example, romantic relationships can become possessive, giving one person the power while the other stays quiet and submits.

“People can be differentiated from animals by our potential to develop complexes, whether it’s one of superiority or inferiority.”

-Fernando Savater-

Nobody is better than you, and you aren’t better than anyone else. This is one of the best things to keep in mind. However, the bear likes to use its death grip to remind you over and over again how insignificant you are, how many flaws you have, and that the person you see in the mirror doesn’t deserve to smile.

This isn’t the right way to handle this. It’s necessary to confront these patterns of thought.

woman dressed in flowers

Tips to recover your self-esteem

There’s no easy way to do it. To recover your self-esteem, you have to follow a rocky and zigzagging path where only willpower and bravery will allow you to reach the top, where you’ll finally be able to shout “I love myself the way I am! I’m a good, beautiful, capable person worthy of finding my own happiness.”

Complexes are fed by undervaluing yourself. Sometimes these feelings of inferiority are introduced by a difficult family, childhood, or adolescence. Other times, it can be innate, linked to a personality type. It’s always really helpful to know why you think the way you think and what caused you to develop such a destructive view of yourself.

People who undervalue themselves are undervalued by others. You have to change the discourse, attitude, tone, and treatment you use towards yourself. To do that, first you’ll have to stop comparing yourself with others. The only valid reference point you should pay attention to is yourself.

Express yourself. Find a channel where you can feel good, reaffirm yourself, discover yourself, and love yourself. Dance, sports, painting, and writing are beautiful ways to channel your emotions.

Reflect on the the settings and people you’re tied to. Do they respect you? Do they allow you to be yourself? Do they make you feel good? Sometimes, getting rid of certain settings and people can be a way to recover your self-esteem and let go of those complexes that other people tend to reinforce.

To conclude, always remember that we’re not in this world to suffer or close our wonderful selves away in the jail of complexes. We deserve to be free, happy, and authentic, and above all, to live our own reality, not the ones that others prescribe for us.

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Images courtesy of Hilda, Emma Uber