This was a very sad statement, especially from someone so young, but it is unfortunately true. We are taught what to want and keep trying to get at it whether we like it or not. We are told that the school, the job, the money, the prestige--all meaningless without some satisfaction or contentment--are what matter. Having more than others, being the best--the list of what we are told to want goes on and on. People go broke getting the car they are told to want, or will perhaps attend a school they feel is really not training them well. I can’t begin to count the number of people I have worked with who felt stuck in a job they were miserable in because it was a “good” job that paid well, and a lot of people would love to have it. This has been a theme I have seen over and over for thirty years, and it is very sad every time. We are told to want to chase after certain things and, if it is soul-numbing, too bad; we are supposed to keep on.
It is no wonder that people are starved for meaning, and in my view those with shame and perfectionism have been robbed of that more than almost anyone. A kind of numbness lies beneath their sadness, understandable given that they feel they can’t even have their feelings. Many are stuck in unsatisfying situations because they are regarded as prestigious or to be what they think “everyone” wants. They would have to be crazy to leave. As a psychologist, one of the saddest things I see in helping people with shame and perfectionism issues is that they really do think their feelings don’t matter.
No matter what you are going through and what your life narrative is, please remember that your feelings DO in fact matter, and that they have to matter first to you. Apparent success and achievement are not the same as contentment or liking yourself.