The well-known psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud, is famous for his work on the ego, the id, the superego, and of course, the Oedipus complex. I am not going to go into the latter three, but what I do want to talk about is the ego. The ego is our narcissistic sense of who we are. It is what makes us tick, it is what we lean on when we want to see if certain things are right for us. The ego, according to Freud, is also where we hold our libidinal energy. Libidinal energy does not have to do with sex, or even pleasure. It is just the extra energy that we have lying around.
In order to use up our libidinal energy we must cathect (bind) to an object (person).
The best way to cathect, and therefore, use our energy is to fall in love. This is also the best way, according to another psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, to make us feel whole again. When we find the perfect person for us we not only get to use up our extra energy, but we get to fill the void. So, Voila!! Find your soulmate and your miseries will disappear .. right??
There are two things that I think you should take from these theories. Firstly, you can fill the void. Secondly, the void is made up of many objects not just one.
Yes, finding the perfect person you want to spend the rest of your life with does use up the majority of your libidinal energy, but not all of it. And that extra energy is what makes us anxious and gives us the feeling of being unfulfilled. So, of course, the first priority on the majority of people’s lists is first and foremost to find the person they want to spend the rest of their lives with. That’s why you chase boys around the school yard when you are 9 (was that just me??), that’s why you makeout with your first “real” boyfriend in front of the kindergartens in eighth grade, and that’s why you enter abusive relationships. You do all of that trying to find the one thing that will make you feel the most complete. Some people go through life unable to find that one person. Some people go through divorce after divorce until they finally find their “love object” or “the one”. I was lucky.
I found my soulmate the first day of kindergarten .. riding a red tricycle.
I was unlucky, however, that I had to go through an abusive relationship in order to discover just who my energy should be bound to.
After senior kindergarten, my karate chopping soulmate vanished from my life. His family moved, and he ended up going to a different school until high school.
I met him (again) first week of grade 9 when he was walking down the sidewalk coming back from God knows where. To me … he looked like Pippin from Lord of the Rings, and being the completely obnoxious teenager I was I decided to scream it from about two feet away.
We became fast friends after that.
He was my best friend. We spent lunches together, a weekend at his cottage, and texted constantly. We also fought… A LOT. But eventually our love for one another shone through and on October 23, 2012 we were officially girlfriend and boyfriend.
Our relationship was (is) nowhere near perfect, but we support one another, and I was able to cathect the majority of my libidinal energy to our relationship. This, in turn, calmed me down, and allowed me to work on my clinical anxiety.
For two years I was whole. I was bound to my love object, I was a competitive dancer, and I was a high achieving academic. All of these things, together, were able to tie up my energy in way that gave me a false sense of completeness. Nonetheless, I was content.
Then I went to university.
The first year of university was great. I made friends, joined clubs, and excelled at all my classes. By the end, I decided I wanted to build my own dance club. So, in my second year of university I started my own dance club. It was a lot of work, but I made some good friends and I was able to run it the way I wanted. Third year rolled around, and I began to lose the excitement I felt in my first two years. I hated my classes, and I felt like I was spending more time helping my friend with her well-being than I was spending on mine. I became depressed, overweight, and my grades began to slip. By the end of third year I had had enough of school, but I continued to push through to pursue my “dream” of becoming a pharmacist. I wrote the PCAT and did well. I took the mandatory courses, and I even volunteered at a pharmacy. I was moving towards my dreams, and yet I still felt anxious and depressed.
Then, something amazing happened ..
I started to see a girl’s posts pop up on my Facebook newsfeed multiple times a day. A few months earlier she had inboxed me and asked me if I was interested in joining her fitness accountability group, and I politely declined. I told her I was doing fine on my own, which could not have been further from the truth. But months after that she still wouldn’t go away from my timeline. I contemplated every day about deleting her, but I could never bring myself to do it. Finally, she posted a link to join a free group designed to show prospects what her job entails. I clicked the link thinking “What do I have to lose???” and the rest is history.
Now I am a 22-year-old entrepreneur living the dream.
Do I still struggle? Hell ya. I struggle every day with my limiting beliefs, my anxieties, and my money fears. But, I would take those struggles over the prospect of working 50+ hours a week not being able to see my family, and only being home to sleep. My struggles are what continue to push me every day. My struggles are also what pushed me to open up my emotional box and to learn how to fill the remainder of my void.