A form of existential despair
When we have exceptionally high expectations from ourselves and our life, it may lead to existential despair. “In fact, paradise syndrome is one of the forms of existential despair,” explains an article in ExploringYourMind. This is based on the belief that human life has a purpose and we need to understand it if we wish to experience happiness and fulfillment. When we realize that there is actually a purpose of life, we tend to describe life itself in a “utopian” manner. “Thus, it affects the instruments and the path they choose to follow in order to achieve the desired change,” explains the article.
3 types of paradise syndrome
According to ExploringYourMind, paradise syndrome can manifest itself in 3 distinct forms which are mentioned below:
Certain mental health issues, like withdrawal, anxiety, depression, suicidal behavior, may occur when we painfully realize that we are incompetent as we failed to achieve a certain utopian goal. When the goal is ‘paradise’, then pursuing it is nothing but a delusion. And when we are unable to accomplish that goal, we only end up blaming and shaming ourselves for our perceived incompetence.
The second form of paradise syndrome is less complicated and possesses a particular appeal to it. This refers to enjoying the process of achieving a utopian goal rather than the actual achievement. “Poets such as Constantine Kavafis described this attitude as that of a traveler who enjoys the trip, even if the road is long,” explains ExploringYourMind.
A solid belief of owning the truth leads to the development of such a mental attitude. Individuals experiencing this form of the syndrome will try their best to help people realize the truth so that they can change the society and the world at large. ExploringYourMind adds “Through a good dose of persuasion and hope, the person will try to get others to accept their truth. However, they’ll get completely opposite results in some cases.”
Most of us have our own version of the truth based on how we personally see the world. Although sharing our views and opinions isn’t necessarily bad, we also need to be open towards accepting others’ truths as well. However, when a person with projective paradise syndrome is incapable of convincing others of their ideas, they often become spiteful and resentful. They tend to become paranoid and believe that others are trying hard to hurt them and their beliefs.
Hence, it is crucial that we learn to be grateful for what we have, appreciate our accomplishments and focus on finding solutions to our current problems rather than pursuing an abstract, utopian idea and objective.
Being mindful can enable us to live in the present moment, express gratitude, open ourselves to receiving love and live a happier and more satisfying life.