Self-Less


I’m beginning to wonder if my mood problems can be boiled down to a crisis of identity. It was something that Aurelius mentioned in passing at the end of our recent session and it lit up something in my brain. In other times and other circumstances I might have found this suggestion to be laughable: I’m a pretty strong-minded person and I put a lot of value in individuality- ergo, I generally think I have a pretty strong sense of self. So, in the light of all these mood swings and angst vortices and depressive phases, the more esoteric philosophical questions like “who am I, where do I come from, and where am I going” were somewhat deprioritized. Most of my attention and energy was being siphoned off into questions like “how can I get a better paying job” and “why won’t my friends talk to me anymore- maybe they hate me” and “omg I’m getting older and no one is ever going to think I’m beautiful again.” Everything that I wanted seemed to be getting farther and farther out of my reach and in the hands of somebody else who could choose whether or not to bestow it upon me leaving me helplessly at their mercy.

I’m not saying any of this was true or even rational, but it was increasingly becoming a part of my head-space that I couldn’t seem to shake.

Now, I’m beginning to think that this perceived gap between Me and Everything I Want In Life has less to do with my goals moving out beyond my reach and more to do with my identity not growing fast enough to fill the space. All my insecurities come back to the Sartrian hell of Other People: the Other People who Have Better Jobs than me. The Other People who Are Younger And Prettier Than Me And Probably Richer And More Successful Too. The Other People who Have Lots Of Friends and Know How To Have Fun.

Maybe I wouldn’t care so much about what other people thought or did if I we’re more comfortable in what I was doing and who I was. The thought gave me some comfort at the time, which seems to be lingering.

So far, it feels like a topic that is too big to be tackled head on. I keep circling around the outskirts of it, trying to get a sense of the shape of it. When did I lose my sense of self? Who am I anyway? If I’m unhappy with the trappings of my life (career, money, friends, appearance) then how do I define myself beneath all that? Did something go wrong or did I just get out of sync with myself?

I don’t have the answers, I’m still just trying to figure out the questions. But for right now I think I might be starting to get back on track.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on August 22, 2019.

One Response to “Self-Less”

  1. You mean this Greek philsoph-erapist Aurelius Caesar Dressing cracked your sense of identity/self?
    From what I am reading, it’s not that you didn’t have the key identity questions (which you say were given lower priority in your mind), you simply re-designed them, using different words and shades of emotion. You and your “strong individuality” went left when the street sign said Go Right…and you arrived at the same point, anyway. ‘Sort of like the drivers I encounter who speed past only to end up right in front of me at the next red light. Impatience and frustration blinding us from certain perspectives, only to arrive at the same outcome as someone moving slower or at a more relaxed pace.
    I had a recent epiphany with a video game; I noticed my ability to see things within the game reduced by internal stress and rapidly grown frustration/anger (emotions/symptoms which I thought would be remedied by playing the game). When I stepped back, took a breath and looked at the situation, again, things I previously did not see became apparent.
    I am not sure I understand identity growing to fill a space…unless you are realizing you are under-developed somehow, as if you haven’t had certain life experiences to cover certain bases, check off certain boxes others have had to make them “rounded.” Otherwise, aren’t we just fine as we are and simply conflicted by the adjustment required to find our place in the world? Aren’t we all just puzzle pieces shuffled and scattered before we are forced to find where we fit to complete the whole? Would you be a fuller person if you went sky-diving or paddling down some rapid river? Would a corporate retreat solve your problems? Who knows. As much as I doubt one or two experiences could complete you, anything is possible; and, sometimes, it just takes that one new experience to reach another epiphany or level of awareness, like humans making first contact with an alien species.
    Once more, I feel your pain and wish I could hold you every time these feelings arose (in both of us), though I am not sure I think as much of other people, except when I see certain famous faces doing something I might like at a younger age…or run into couples who look happy and make me feel inadequate…or hear some single-and-looking woman on TV say she’s looking for something I doubt I am (or know I am not) and feel inadequate. It’s not aging making me less appealing as much as it’s some family or genetic curse that seems to be robbing me of any good looks I have. I never was a Brad Pitt or Bradley Cooper, but it doesn’t help when the little good I felt I did have withers away or becomes marred. So, I try not to look in the mirror (like some Dorian Grey) and channel thoughts of people finding my personality favorable enough to overlook whatever is troubling me about my physique. [And, I know it doesn’t mean much, coming from me, but I don’t think you have the same reasons to worry about your beauty.]
    If nothing else, try to look at yourself in terms of a spirit. Imagine you have no body, no possessions, no clothes, no makeup, no skin or bones. You are a body of energy. What do you look like? And, if you took away all thoughts of your physical appearance, what would remain? What defines you? What is at the core of your will? What are your core values? [Try not to dwell on their origins, but it might help to identify where your core values originated; who or what placed them within you? And, if you cannot answer that, perhaps that means this is something that was at the very birth of your spirit, before you entered the human world.]
    And, breathe.
    My new mantra: When people or negative thoughts are getting to you, just say “No mas. ‘Kay?” No more; okay? And, exhale the negatives out of your mind and body. [I figure it sounds like “namaste.”]

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