“The human is the only animal on earth that pays a thousand times for the same mistake.”
Our beliefs are conditioned by punishment. Whenever we do something wrong, we punish ourselves so as to reinforce the mistake. This is true for all animals of this world. However, we humans take it one step further and punish ourselves over and over again every time we are reminded of the mistake. This is extremely unfair to us, as it causes suffering and decreases our happiness.
Most of us have an image of perfection in our mind, or, more specifically, we have an image of the “perfect person” in our mind, and we wish we were like that. You may notice that you put a lot of effort into pleasing those who love and care for you, such as parents, siblings, or maybe even teachers. You may feel like you want to be good enough for them, but that you are not. You don’t even feel like you’re good enough for yourself. Because you fall short of what you perceive as perfection, you reject yourself and become unsatisfied and unhappy. You just can’t forgive yourself for not being perfect.
You may end up participating in self-abusive activities such as using drugs. Or you may wear a social mask and pretend to be someone you’re not. All of this stems from one root cause—your expectations for yourself are not reasonable. You feel like you should be someone better than you already are, but you don’t realize that it is not necessary to be that person. Remember that you don’t need to try and win the love and acceptance of other people, only yourself. The more self-love you have, the less you will self-abuse. Change that image of perfection in your mind to something more achievable, reasonable, and healthy.