When it’s difficult for us to accept ourselves if we’re different from others, this is known as the “ugly duckling syndrome.”

The phrase “black sheep of the family” is well-known to us all. It is only normal for us to want to fit in and be accepted, so it may be extremely stressful when we feel different or rejected because of how we differ from other people. Observe the cyberbullying that occurs, the peer pressure to fit in, the influence that media and fashion have on society to live up to certain standards we are expected to follow. Just to stand our ground and be ourselves in the face of others can be really challenging. But, if one feels essentially unique from others in any way, certain Fears that may arise include being shunned, subjected to mockery, and experiencing inferiority or inadequacy.

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Hans Christian Andersen, a Danish poet and author, created a fairy tale called “The Ugly Duckling” in the 19th century about a small bird who is treated poorly by those around him before blossoming into a lovely swan. The narrative received a lot of praise because it echoes a concept that is prevalent in families and society at large—namely, that we are not always who others perceive us to be. We have the capacity to become more than any of us could have imagined possible within us, which is something else.

Beyond the notion that being unique carries with it the possibility of transformation, there is another lesson to be learned from the story of the Ugly Duckling Syndrome. And that is that because we are unique, we could have a better chance of rising above the commonplace. A mutation raises the risk that either an adaptation will fail or that a new variety has developed that is superior to what has gone before, just like in natural selection. Another way to describe the transforming potential of being different is to say that it stems from the psychological anguish and suffering that being different produces, which can serve as motivation and inspiration for overcoming the judgement and rejection that being different elicits in others.

Being Normal in Therapy

site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for site for website for website for site website website… Hence we psychologists are also guilty of contributing to the urge to conform and to suppress differentness to some degree. Otto Rank, a pioneer in the field of psychotherapy who was once a close friend of Freud’s in the early 20th century, recognised this bias in psychology as the impetus for developing a classification system of human development in which those who experience inferiority complex, or what he called the “neurotic” person, have greater potential to develop as people in a creative way. than the average individual does. He dedicated his psychotherapy practise to assisting those who experience self-doubt and paralysis of will to start accepting themselves as they are rather than trying to figure out what is wrong with them in order to get rid of whatever it is that differentiates them from others and makes them, in some way, abnormal. Modern psychotherapy sprang from a more medically based form thanks to Rank’s theories. In particular, it stressed the therapeutic importance of being receptive to and accepting the patient or client in psychotherapy and the therapeutic worth of establishing the same traits in the patient or client by bringing these qualities into the therapeutic relationship.

As a psychotherapist, I make an effort to follow these fundamental tenets with the understanding that the creative process of self-exploration can only begin in a partnership that promotes trust and openness without condemnation or judgement. The pain of loneliness, low self-esteem, harsh self-criticism, and feelings of dejection in life and in relationships are what draw many patients to my office to seek my services. These issues are resonant with the theme of the ugly duckling, in which one feels somehow different, inferior to others, flawed, and/or incurable in fundamental ways. While dealing with patients, my aim is to assist them understand how their views are distorted with a negative bias and how they have the power to generate this bias via their experiences in life a new self-empowering story that turns constraints into potentials, self-condemnation into self-acceptance, and ugly into beautiful.

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