By Peter M. Kalellis

While aiming for the stars may be in our thoughts, let’s be realistic and not beat ourselves up with a superhuman delusion. Super humans are illusions meant to excite our senses and lead us into a fantasy world. Sure, we admire the rich and famous, movie celebrities, accomplished athletes, authors, and artists—they all appear elegant and happy. Does anyone know how they feel “off stage?” Can you or I live an exciting, successful, wealthy, super life as proclaimed in magazines and television?

When we compare ourselves with others, usually we seek individuals who seem more gifted, more talented, more of everything. We wish to be like someone else, then feel bad because we don’t even come close. Simply put: We cannot be like anybody else. We can only be who we are—and that’s okay. Why not bank on our capabilities, talents, and God-given gifts?

Think about this as you travel along the road of life: you are your own person and a worthy human being. And if someone in your path mistreats you, or tries to tear you down, understand these people project on you their mental conditions. At best avoid them for they can ruin your life.

Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way, calls such people crazy-makers. She describes them as charismatic, inventive, persuasive—and destructive. Whether they appear as your overbearing mother, your manic boss, your needy friend, or your stubborn spouse, the crazy-makers in your life share specific destructive patterns that make them poisonous playmates. Next time you catch yourself thinking, “She/he is driving me crazy!” ask yourself why are you sabotaging your happiness by being in that person’s presence. Your life is vital to you. Sure, others might give you advice or opinions; they might make suggestions, requests, or demands, or give you well-intentioned instructions. But remember nobody can choreograph your life.

Naturally, dealing with a crazy-maker may often drive some to a therapist. They want a change in their life. They are not happy with themselves or their current life. Unhappy individuals may need to change how they think, feel, and behave. And for some, this could involve a significant person in their life, be it a lover, mate, spouse, or family member. Here lies a reality. Promises break like balloons; plans fall apart, love affairs carry no guarantees, married vows are violated. When a significant relationship breaks, an emotional setback is almost inevitable.

We tend to think most of the past hurts that we have experienced. We hope that they have left with us some lessons of value. Certainly, it is emotionally beneficial when we can say goodbye to our past and let go of repressed feelings or thoughts of anger, criticism, judgment, and disappointment.

Sometimes we are disappointed in loving our spouse or caring for some intimate other. As years slip by, the realization we are all to a degree limited, inadequate, blemished, and dull comes to light. No matter how rich our personalities or attractive our bodies, none of us can indefinitely excite and generate novelty, sexual attraction, and psychological pleasure within a relationship or a marriage. Any connection or marriage is like a long trip, and there is bound to be some long, dull stretches. Another choice may be, not to travel with someone who expects you to be exciting all the time. But it is essential when disappointment occurs not to prolong it for long. Respect often makes it possible for us to remain in the marriage, or to continue an intimate relationship.

Accepting the truth about who we are is a challenge that results in emotional growth and a better self-image. One of the best ways to gain accurate self-knowledge is to explore our current thoughts about ourselves. Upon awakening each morning, as we look in the mirror, what do we see or think of ourselves? Indeed, those thoughts precipitate feelings about who we are, and we move on to design our daily life. Asking, “Who am I?” is an important question. Can you give an honest answer? This is a challenge. While we might be aiming for the stars, we cannot reach them. Another of our realities is that we cannot be God. We are human.