A soap bubble may serve as a good symbol of our individual, separate existence, as it surrounds and protects us, but at the same time completely isolates us from the external reality and the other ”soap bubble” people. We may try to get closer to reality or to another person, but we are never able to reach them, as there is the wall of the soap-bubble. We are only able to see reality and the other people through the wall of the soap-bubble, which is tinted to various colors by our opinions and desires.
Three Basic Motivational Factors
According to humanistic psychology, we have three basic motivational factors that determine the birth of personal identity. One is the need to belong to somebody, the other is the need of safety, and the third is the need of appreciation.
These demands or needs appear in our life in the order listed above, and they are hierarchically connected to each other. It means that the need of safety only becomes important when our need to belong to somebody has already been satisfied, at least to a minimum extent. Similarly, the need of appreciation will be important when we already belong to somebody (it can be an individual or a group), and our need of safety, stability has been met to a certain degree.
Satisfying these needs is of primary importance for us, as they provide the foundations for our individual existence and personal identity.
All this also suggests that our personal identity is basically social, as belonging to somebody, safety and appreciation all depend on other people.
The foundations of our personal identity are constructed in the first years of our life, when we are embedded in the society of our family. Our parents are the ones who help us satisfy our needs, and in this way lay down the foundation stones of our separate, individual existence.
In the Safety of our Soap-Bubble Castle
Our parents and teachers ”blow up” the soap-bubble for us, when they satisfy our initial needs, and we soon regard our soap-bubble as our own personal identity. In the course of our life, we develop the soap-bubble into a soap-bubble castle that we regard as safe. Since we have no idea that we are soap-bubble people, we are immensely proud of our own soap-bubble, the construction diary of which is added to our own personal history.
Our soap-bubble castle does not stand alone in some desert; it stands in one of the streets of a nice soap-bubble town, close to the other soap-bubble castles, as the need to belong to someone, our needs of safety and of appreciation will only be satisfied in interaction with other soap-bubble people.
But, as a consequence of our soap-bubble existence, all these needs will never be completely satisfied, as the walls of our soap-bubbles do not allow real connection and contact with others.
The walls of the soap-bubble are created by our sense of separation which destines us to eternal solitude, even if there are hundreds of other soap-bubble people around us in our soap-bubble town. In order to alleviate the unpleasantness of loneliness, we decorate our soap-bubble existence with nice images made of the individuality of our life, and we fill books with nice tales of our life. The images, the tales and the alleged safety of the soap-bubble town lull us into a false sense of security, into a beautiful dream.