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Suicidal ideation is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that affects millions of people worldwide. It is often associated with psychological distress, hopelessness, and a lack of Meaning in life. However, some researchers have suggested that suicidal ideation can also be seen as a form of Self-transcendence, a process of going beyond one’s Ego and personal limitations. Self-transcendence can be understood as a positive and adaptive response to existential challenges, such as death Awareness, suffering, and loneliness. In this article, we will explore the concept of Self-transcendence and its relation to suicidal ideation and self-rejection.
To quote one person:
“I found myself at rock bottom, I hated myself and had decided to kill myself. However, as I was deciding how to do it, I realized it was my Ego that I wanted to kill. For years, I’d learnt to copy others as a way of avoiding my own lack of Self-esteem. Now I realized it was these responses, learnt from others, that needed to go. At that moment, I felt that Ego collapse into itself and I became reborn into a new reality, I rejected those learnt responses and understood I now had a new priority – to find out who I really was. I no longer wanted to kill myself, rather, I was enthused with the idea of finding my true-self.”
Causes of suicidal ideation
Suicidal ideation is the term used to describe thinking about suicide without actually making plans to commit suicide. It is a serious and distressing symptom that can affect anyone, of any age, gender or background, at any time. Suicidal ideation is often a sign of underlying mental health problems, such as Depression, Anxiety, bipolar disorder, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or schizophrenia. However, it can also be caused by other factors, such as:
- Chronic Pain
- Relationship problems
- Financial difficulties
- Cultural pressure
- Societal expectations
Suicidal ideation can vary in intensity and duration. Some people may have fleeting thoughts of ending their lives, while others may have persistent and Intrusive thoughts that interfere with their daily functioning. Some people may have passive suicidal ideation, which means they wish they were dead but do not intend to act on their thoughts. Others may have active suicidal ideation, which means they have a specific plan or method to kill themselves.
Suicidal ideation is not a weakness or a flaw. It is a symptom of emotional Pain and suffering that can be treated with professional help. If you are experiencing suicidal ideation, you are not alone and there is hope for recovery. There are many resources and support options available to help you cope and overcome these feelings. You can start by reaching out to someone you trust, such as a friend, family member, teacher, counsellor, or doctor. You can also call a suicide hotline or chat online with a trained counsellor who can listen to you and provide guidance.
Remember that suicidal ideation is not a permanent condition. It can change over time and with treatment. You have the strength and resilience to overcome this challenge and live a fulfilling life. You are valuable and worthy of love and happiness. You matter.
Self-rejection and Self-transcendence
Suicidal ideation is perhaps the most extreme form of self-rejection. A rejection of self can result in a decision to transcend when a person feels dissatisfied with their current state of being and seeks a higher Purpose or Meaning in life. A rejection of self can stem from various sources, such as low Self-esteem, Trauma, Existential Crisis, or spiritual awakening. When a person rejects their self, they may experience a sense of emptiness, alienation, or detachment from themselves and the world. They may also question their identity, values, and goals. To overcome this feeling of self-rejection, a person may decide to transcend their self and pursue a transcendent goal that transcends their personal interests and concerns. A transcendent goal can be anything that gives a person a sense of Connection, fulfilment, or transcendence, such as serving a cause, helping others, creating art, or exploring Spirituality. By transcending their self, a person may hope to find a new Sense of self that is more Authentic, meaningful, and integrated with the world.
Examples of transcendence through self-rejection
There are many examples of people who rejected self and took a transcendent path in their lives. One of them is Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor who found Meaning and Purpose in his suffering and helped others do the same. He developed a theory of Logotherapy, which is based on the idea that humans have a will to Meaning and can transcend their circumstances by finding a reason to live.
Another example is Abraham Maslow, the psychologist who proposed the hierarchy of needs and later revised it to include Self-transcendence as the highest human need. He realized that Self-actualization was not enough to capture the full potential of human beings, and that there was a need for something beyond the self. He described Self-transcendence as “the very highest and most inclusive or holistic levels of human consciousness”.
A third example is Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian independence movement and a champion of non-violence and civil rights. He rejected his personal interests and devoted his life to serving humanity and fighting for justice and peace. He practised satyagraha, which means “holding onto truth” or “Soul force”, and inspired millions of people to follow his example of non-violent resistance.
Here is a list of weblinks discussing self-rejection as a path to Self-transcendence:
From Surviving to Thriving: Overcoming Self-Rejection: This article explores how self-rejection can take various forms, and how therapy can help people overcome it by accessing their true feelings and values.
Clearing the Pathways to Self-transcendence: This article reviews the historical and theoretical foundations of Self-transcendence and argues for a more clear and inclusive understanding of the concept and its benefits.
What Is Self-Rejection, And How Can You Stop Yourself From Doing It?: This article defines self-rejection as a form of self-sabotage and offers some tips on how to stop it by challenging negative thoughts and practising self-Compassion.
What Is Self Rejection And How Can We Overcome It?: This article explains how self-rejection is caused by self-judgment and how we can overcome it by accepting ourselves as we are and cultivating Positive emotions.