Unaffirmed individuals, on the contrary, can be said to have been born only once; their second or psychological birth never took place (or, since it is a protracted process, was never completed). They were not made to know and feel their own goodness, worth and identity. They have been thrown back upon themselves by denial on the part of significant others in their life. They are like prisoners — locked in, lonely, and self-centered — waiting for someone to come and open the door of their prison, waiting to be opened to their own goodness and that of others.

 


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Conrad Baars

Unaffirmed individuals, on the contrary, can be said to have been born only once; their second or psychological birth never took place6 (or, since it is a protracted process, was never completed). They were not made to know and feel their own goodness, worth and identity. They have been thrown back upon themselves by denial on the part of significant others in their life. They are like prisoners — locked in, lonely, and self-centered — waiting for someone to come and open the door of their prison, waiting to be opened to their own goodness and that of others. No measure of success in business, profession or otherwise can adequately compensate for their feelings of inferiority, inadequacy, uncertainty and insecurity. Both the married life and the celibate life accentuate the fundamental loneliness of these persons and their inability to relate to others as equals. Their spiritual life suffers as time goes on, and their basically joyless way of life changes more and more to a state of depression until death seems the only way out.

Most importantly, unaffirmed persons have only one concern and need: to become affirmed, to be loved for who they are and not for what they do. They are literally driven to find someone who truly, unequivocally loves them. This is in marked contrast to affirmed individuals who look for someone with whom they can share their love, who can give love as well as receive, who can wait and are not hurried, driven, or compelled to find someone who will love them. If affirmation by a significant other is not forthcoming, many unaffirmed persons will use their talents, intelligence and energy to try to convince themselves and the world in a variety of ways that they are worthwhile, important, and significant, even though they don’t feel that they are. The most common ways of doing this are by the acquisition, display and use of material goods, wealth, power, fame, honor, status symbols, or sex. As I have described in Born Only Once,  Adolf Hitler sought to affirm himself by power, Marilyn Monroe by fame. Both failed tragically.

Source: I Will Give Them a New Heart: Reflections on the Priesthood and the Renewal of the Church (Amazon Affiliate)