We all know how we want to be seen by others. Daring, dashing, intelligent, courageous, responsible, whatever it may be. But when rubber meets the road and we are put face to face with the decision of either being that which we say we want or shirk away from it, we more often than not see the difficulties that lie ahead of us and decide that, as nice as it may be to be viewed as that, it’s not worth all that effort on our side.
Truth be told, we’re Scrooges with our energy. We wouldn’t spend our precious energy on anything because we think so highly of ourselves and our energy that anything that takes away from it, better damn well be worth the effort and them some.
The catch is that nothing could possibly worth more than our good opinion of ourselves, whether we openly admit and flaunt it (arrogance) or secretly keep it, even from our conscious self (vanity). So our energy remains unspent, under the pretext that “we have no energy to spend, we are drained already by all the problems and responsibilities of the day”.
Let’s get real, more often than not , what we mean to really say is “I think so highly of who I am and of my energy that nothing could possibly measure up to the value of Me”. And that is more than enough reason to pretend, even to yourself, that you in fact have no energy to spend on actually being what you yourself portrayed in your own mind as your ideal self.
“Screw Courage, one might say, I ain’t gonna try and go to save that girl from being eaten alive by angry dogs. I’m also afraid of dogs. No way I’m gonna let them bite me. This is not being courageous, it’s being Stupid”. But in his mind, when confronted on his courage, he might think that he is just as brave as Superman or Captain America.
So then one question bugged me, since I realized that I am not better than that myself. In my mind, I want to be seen as having all the qualities I value, like wisdom, intelligence, calm, strength of spirit, integrity, resourcefulness, good will and many others. But when it comes to it, I would probably behave differently, for instance letting my hot temper get the best of my wisdom, my impulse get the best of my intelligence and strategy, my impatience get the best of my calm, my fear erode my strength of spirit, and my desire for comfort get the best of my integrity and resourcefulness.
And of course, this will happen not one time, but time and time again. So the question remains. Is there anything really that burns at the core of my being and makes me go to bed with a heavy conscience that I haven’t fulfilled the mission I gave to myself? Is there anything that can keep me awake at night? And if so, what is that something?
I found, though I desire to be many things, most of them are just wishes, fancies, and I would in fact not really dedicate effort to them, although they seem nice things to be. NICE IS NOT ENOUGH! Yes, they are definite should. But we don’t become our shoulds, definite as they may be. We don’t even become our MUSTS, although much of Personal development pretends we always become our musts.
No we don’t. You know why? I don’t know for sure, but my best guess is VANITY, the secret shadow we keep even from ourselves, that makes even our MUSTS seem like measly shoulds compared to the value, glory and prestige it invests us with and forces us to maintain.
“Don’t soil your hands with nothings like that”, it says. “You’re better than this. Conserving your dwindling energy and not wasting it on things that do not do your glory justice will not further your cause. These goals are so beneath you”. And our ego, which is always hungry for valuation and appreciation of course takes the bait and never gets to being what your yourself decided you MUST.
There is no shame in admitting “Yes, I am an egotistical person whose arrogance and / or vanity is draining all my resources and convincing me I am far better than any of the things I would otherwise pursue. I am not in any way devoid of inner resources to be who I dream of being and accomplish what I want to accomplish. I am just bribed by the sweet nectar and threatening allure of my ego. My personality has become corrupted, even though my soul is incorruptible. I am lying to myself that I am poor, that I am above all this, that I am worth so much that what I dream could not measure up to it. But I am just like all of us are: enslaved by our very human need for the certainty that we will be loved, we will be accepted, we will be appreciated and not rejected, talked ill of and frowned upon. Blame me for my human needs but acknowledge that you too fear rejection and want approval. You too need to feel special and would bargain even your soul if your need was dire. You have every right to judge me. You do. But I would rather you see me not as someone who needs forgiveness, but one who is in dire need of understanding of my humanity, and support, and acceptance. For even as I am corrupted, my conscious mind, that is, there is still a soul in this beating heart, and that is incorruptible. And if it is to ever emerge again and light up the world, it needs to trust again. And if you don’t lend your helping hand now, even though you have all the reason not to, then it may never find the friend he is looking for, the excuse he is looking for to begin trusting again. And you will know that you could have helped but didn’t. It is not by any means your civic obligation to help and not judge. But you would definitely be a good person if you did. ”
In our reality, admitting to your own vanity or arrogance being of great proportions is a worse death than suicide. You can readily take your own life before you admit you have a great ego who is robbing you of your precious humanity.
“Why would I admit with humility instead of arrogance that yes, I do have a huge problem with my arrogance or vanity if there are others, more vanitous or more arrogant people than me? Why do they not feel sorry for their vanity but I should? Do you realize how difficult it is and how precious keeping an impression of me as being at least as clean as others is? What do I get in return for my confession?”
A fair point indeed, and possibly the main reason why we still cling, and will cling for a very long time to come to our vanity and arrogance, even though we know them to be enslaving and detrimental to both us and our loved ones.
“What do I get if I repent? And why should I repent and feel sorry for something everybody is doing? Isn’t it supposed to be legitimate if everybody is doing it? Why do we all demonize and chastise a thing that all of us are doing? Isn’t that a bit off, or am I the only one koo-koo here?”
As we all know, just because everyone does it, doesn’t mean it’s good, useful or beneficial for the individual or the whole. Yes, everybody is in on this, and if you personally don’t take a stance for it to be otherwise, you will still be another one of those who keep the wheel turning and turning.
That wheel will keep on turning and turning, cause people will still keep pushing it. The real question is not “will it keep spinning?”. Not even “why is it so bad it exists and it keeps us hooked on it?”. It’s neither about it’s existence nor it’s value as good or bad. The only question is IF YOU HAD A CHOICE, WOULD YOU WANT TO BE ON THAT WHEEL OR ON ANOTHER WHEEL ALL OF YOUR OWN?
There’s no judgment if you choose to remain on the only ride you’ve ever known all your life. It has its merits, I’ll give it that. Look how popular it is if so many people are riding it without wanting to stop. But if you feel that ok, you’ve experienced that part of life, but maybe it’s time for a change, then you can get off the wheel.
And who knows, maybe the next time you get stepped upon by a person who thinks he’s so above you, instead of thinking to yourself “That jerk, How dare he? Does he know who I am?” you’ll think it’s actually not so bad being a rug. Hey, people’s feet are warmer for it, you look pretty, people admire your design and colors, and if they don’t, then that’s their problem. They just don’t know a beautiful rug when they see one. You have a higher purpose. To keep people’s feet warm and soft as they walk over you.
And then, maybe the question “How do you want to be seen?” will not even be a pressing issue anymore. Cause whatever the answer is, what could it matter? Maybe the answer will be “I just want to be seen as me. And that is good enough. Let the people think what they want. But I hope it’s something they find pleasing, cause I love seeing happy people.”
Give your Arrogance and your Vanity a high 5 from me, and ask them if they want to hang out with mine. I’m a simple guy, just like you. We’re nothing special, not me who’s writing or you who’s reading. And our ordinariness is what makes us FREAKING SUPERHEROES!
See you out there in the real world. If you bump into me by accident and liked this article, be sure to tell me, ok? I love hearing I made a person’s day just a little bit brighter.