“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken” Oscar Wilde
I love this quote from Oscar Wilde. It reminds me of how difficult it is for us to stay connected to who we are in the face of our strongest motivation– connecting with others. From our moment of birth (and even before, some research indicates) we orient toward others. An infant recognizes mother’s smells, the sounds of her voice and looks intensely and searchingly into her face. What are we searching for? Infants, and all humans, are searching for love, security and connection. According to John Bowlby, we are born to move toward and follow mother (whether with our feet or our eyes) to assure our survival. Our inborn attachment system allows us to be vigilant of mother’s whereabouts and to initiate seeking and contacting behavior designed to elicit attention, help and protection. Psychoanalytic theory develops even more deeply on the concept of attachment, theorizing that our greatest need is to love and to be loved, to become a self within the context of connection with others, and to develop, grow and have pleasure through encounters with otherness.