One of the reasons I am attracted to Jungian psychology is the concept of Self individuation. In Freudian psychology  the goal is to cure neurosis to become a better citizen and ‘fit in better”.  Jung seems to take an opposite goal, to wit, life’s mission is to grow as much as possible into a conscious Individual.

We are not born individuals. We are born as members of ‘The Tribe”.  And we have many Tribes – family, religion, country, class, race etc. Inevitably, growth of the Individual conflicts with the Tribe.

I don’t have good examples of somebody announcing to the Tribe “I’ve got news. I am not like you all. I am different” and the Tribe responding positively. Almost without exception the Tribe is horrified, angry, disappointed etc. The person is ejected, punished, or told to return to Tribal levels of existence.

I recently saw a patient who is a recent widow. She went through an intense grieving process, and after 1 month of ritualistic closure, she finished it all and went back to Life – ‘a new chapter” she pointed out, not one she desired or imagined. But she is open to the opportunities therefrom. She is not happy –  but she is no longer consumed.

Her family (particularly the in-laws) are scandalized. She is accused of not caring, for how could she be ‘over it so quickly?”  When she asks them directly how should she be, she gets nebulous but certain statements she should be more visibly depressed and suffering, and more withdrawn/nonfunctioning. Her healing is seen as an object of suspicion.  Was her recent grief a sham or her love for him a sham?

I like people who are brave enough to stand up to the Tribal Should Statements. I  admire this woman’s ability to heal so quickly.

It is a comfort we have a choice of how long we can suffer when bad things happen. We can wallow in grief, self-pity and Victim energy. Or not.

Choice-less, we are given a choice, to be bitter or get better.

Much to the chagrin and disapproval of the Tribe’s demand for us to be a certain way.