Even though she didn’t like Vronsky, even though she knew she should be happy for them, there was a visceral reaction within her that rebelled against being “replaced,” that demanded to be wanted. But didn’t she know better than this? Hadn’t her whole life solidified her understanding that no human being belongs to another, that everyone has the right to demote others for happiness? Why couldn’t she internalize what she so strongly believed in?
And she eventually realized that her rational philosophy to let people live without revolving around her was thwarted by her voracious addiction for attention and validation, as if she had a bottomless deficit to fill. And this selfishness, when it came down to it, was due to her insecurities, the lifelong feeling that she was a misfit accident that needed to be “approved,” that she was undeserving of love. She had the knowledge to free people from her idealizations; her infirmities caused her to grab on tighter, still, like a reflex.
And while she did not think that all people who are kind also have to be secure, she knew this for herself, at least: she needed to love herself to be fair. She needed to love herself in order to be a good person. Continue reading