Our minds are powerful. Sometimes too powerful to process itself, understand itself. But your mind has a mind of its own that helps it protect itself. Brains have strong intrinsic self-defense that often resort to delusions over insanity to ensure survival. And these choices made in the background only resurface when we become meticulously mindful about our minds.
A lot of things happen to us that are beyond our control. Of course! How could we possibly keep tabs on millions of variables that intersect to produce every little point of our lives? We’re only in charge of so little. But we grow up and age, learning a little too much from society about what’s okay and what isn't. We each evolve as a unique one-in-billions outcome and still spend our lives fighting hard to fit the bill — to be acceptable to everyone. And when we say a big fuck you! to the world, we feel like we've won it all. We’re above everything.
And yet, we remain prisoners to our own minds.
We set our own boundaries when it comes to who we are allowed to be, in isolation, to ourselves. And we often do this subconsciously. There are pictures our minds cannot bear the sight of when we look into the mirror. So we tell ourselves lies — we bring out everything noble and grand out of the sum of everything we have become.
Because we must first learn to live with ourselves if we are to live at all.
Our worst discomforts don’t lie in our dirtiest little secrets — our twisted perversions, filthiest fantasies, history of misbehavior or unspeakable urges. No. We've learned to accept ourselves with all of those. We allow ourselves to be distorted in that sense. What we don’t allow ourselves to be are failures. There is no harm in breaking boundaries elsewhere as long as we see ourselves as survivors, achievers and leaders. But we just can’t bear to find ourselves weak. Ignoring whether or not we’re siding with what’s right, we would rather be the hunter than the hunted, we would rather be the user than the used — in our own eyes. So profound is this drive to avoid proximity to ‘pathetic’ that we would suffocate our conscience to let our self-esteem soar.
Are you proud of not giving a shit? Is it because it was your choice to not give a shit, OR is it because you've been torn and burnt so many times that you don’t feel anything anymore, because every time you gave a shit people left you gutted on the floor? Are you so scared of feeling anything that you force yourself to be numb but call yourself invincible because you just can’t bear to look at the mirror?
Do you take pride in being on your own? Is it because it was your choice to be alone or because you had to drag yourself through a painful procedure to learn living in solitude? Is it because nobody worthy came around or the ones that were perfect slipped away and you can no longer conjure the courage to allow others take their place?
Are you proud of all the things you’re barely surviving? Things that, if you were given the choice or power, you would never pick to become or to let happen to you? Where is the pride then? What’s the rationale for it? Where is your preference, judgment and decision in all of it?
There’s nothing wrong with not caring, being alone, being ‘imperfect’, being whatever that doesn't fit the ideal image that your surroundings or YOU impose on yourself. But there’s probably something very wrong with taking pride where there’s nothing much to be really proud of. Ah, you must hate me now. You just hate my guts for shoving such indigestible bluntness down your throat. Well, let me add a bit to that while we’re on it.
These lies you’re telling yourself are unsustainable. You can only put on a stage show for so long. One day all of this will collapse upon rude awakening that you lived a lie all your life and only you were responsible for it. Your universe will unravel and your spirit will crumble and you’ll wither in agony of having wasted away years of the only life you ever get to live putting up an act to a one-person audience , repeating the same damn mantra everyday — only because YOU wouldn't allow yourself to be yourself, only because you didn't look for a better way to accept that you (like everyone else) didn't have control over every outcome and it’s only human, essentially human, to be defeated sometimes.
You’re building walls. Walls that will eternally imprison you where you are right now, because there may be people out there who would accept, appreciate and celebrate you with all your shortcomings and defeats. But first, accept yourself as who you are. No, not that pride thing. We all know it’s all a lie. You can’t even fake it. It’s pathetically apparent. People see it in your eyes or little gestures when your body and soul are out of sync.
If you want to be bold, be boldly accepting of your innate human-ness.
You’ll have fights and defeats, sometimes you’ll win. You’ll try things and fail, sometimes you’ll accomplish. You’ll fall in love and get hurt, but someday you’ll be loved back. You’ll be exhausted and quit, but one day you’ll stand back up and push harder to the finish line.
And once you've done it, once you've really learned to see the normalcy of your wounds and scars, you’ll be noticed by the right people, with their own wounds and scars. We have ALL been bruised. Few of us have the heart, and by that I mean both courage and self-compassion, to tear down the walls and let ourselves depend on sheer chance or one someone else a little.
Lies, or whatever it is that helps you sleep at night, look into the mirror and live through each day — believe me, there’s something a lot better out there, within you.
It may take some strength to tell yourself stories that keep your sanity. But it takes a lot more strength to tell yourself that you have your share of defeats but you’re willing to stand up and fight back — have hopes, dreams and aspirations.
If you must have pride, be proud of not needing plastic pride to thrive.
If this has resonated with you at all, please let me know, follow and share. I’m living 9-to-5-ish and aspire to write regularly. Your words may mean a lot :)