In today’s day and age, where technology and increased internet usage has rendered communication to be conducted merely through the fabric of social media, we find ourselves surrounded by lives, stories, and experiences that exude perfection and happiness. This has caused our society to become obsessed with performance—making competition and rankings an inescapable part of our lives.
This influence is so impactful that we begin to consider our performance as a critical part of who we are.
Let’s take a look at why we build our identities around performances and how they can ultimately force a few of us into substance abuse.
Building an identity around our performance
Amid everything that pertains to status, ranking, competition, it seems that nothing short of perfection will ever be acceptable. This idea is further perpetuated by the media where all TV shows and films focus on the main character outperforming the others—be it at singing, studying, or sports.
So you do a quick self-assessment and decide that you will enact a façade that will glorify the good aspects of your life and tone-down or even fully eradicate all things bad about you.
This is where your performance-based identity comes into being. A performance that you put on for people who don’t know the ‘real you.’ You derive validation from this performance, which keeps you motivated to keep going at it. Ultimately, you become a person who feels fundamentally defined by that show you put on.
It can happen to anyone of us—a global survey of 80,000 people showed that 65 percent of people only feel successful if their achievements are recognized by everyone else.
Are performance-based identities always positive?
While many can do wonders if they think positively, enacting performance-based identities in life doesn’t work well for everyone.
At the root of it all, many people are unable to derive true happiness out of their performance-based lives. This is because, with our increased ability to hide the real parts of our identity from the world, we begin to revel in temporary happiness that we derive out of validation received over our performance.
But when the realization of our own façade hits us, that’s when we find ourselves at our lowest—because that’s when we realize that no one truly knows who we are.
The search for “who am I?” can often become too overwhelming for people who may turn to a bottle to find solace—and that’s when addiction can get the best of us.
Freedom and recovery
Individuals with a substance abuse disorder often find recovery to be exceptionally challenging because they’re unsure of who they are if stripped away from the performance they put up for everyone else.
This is one of the primary reasons why knowing oneself is an essential aspect of recovery. This is achieved through therapy, which allows one to gain a better understanding of their emotions, gauge their thoughts, and eventually find themselves.
It is the separation from the performance-based life that ultimately frees you from the self-inflicted standards of perfection and social responsibility—and once you take the mask off, that’s when true healing begins.
If you or your loved ones are undergoing similar circumstances where societal pressures are getting the best of you, get the love and help you need at one of the leading sober living communities in Houston.
Life Launch is a men’s sober living home in Houston where they create an environment that’s conducive to your recovery so you can maintain life-long sobriety. They also provide one-on-one therapy and group therapy with certified therapists to help recovering addicts. Get in touch with them today.