Recently I have been working a lot on how I handle my ego. I explore all of the reasons I have for divulging personal information. I am wondering how much my ego has to do with the fact that I share so much on this blog. Am I doing it for the right reasons? What are my motives? I believe it is healthy to check in often on what my motives are before I act on something.
It is easy for me to quickly justify some decision I make that in actuality, with further investigation, has unclear or destructive motives. For instance, there was a point when I was sure that I needed to live in downtown Manhattan because (A) that is the area where most of my meetings are, (B) That is where most of my friends live and (C) I need to live in a specific level of comfort or else I risk falling back into self-destructive behaviors. If I identify these 3 things closely I can find that with each one I have found a way to manipulate the truth into something different in order to get my way. Part of living in downtown Manhattan is status. I think it’s cool to say that I once lived there and wanted to keep that going. There is a lot of nightlife, restaurants, art etcetera. To me, there was a time when I would rather say I live downtown than to say I live in Harlem, Queens, Brooklyn or wherever. I didn’t recognize that 1. Living in Manhattan is a luxury, 2. I do not have the means to live in Manhattan and 3. I do not need to live in a specific area to be happy. So, where is my ego in all of this? It’s through the roof! What is it about me that needs to have a certain outside appearance in order to be happy?
At this time last year, I would have argued that I need to be surrounded by like-minded people to be happy. I would isolate from the world if I lived elsewhere. I need to be a block away from the gym or else I can’t stay in shape. I need to be within walking distance of my meetings or I may slip. Excuse after excuse after excuse. None of it would be true. And somewhere I knew that but after years of lying to myself I could almost completely convince myself that I in fact need these things to be a happy individual. And this is where my over-inflated ego is most visible. I am like the “$30,000 millionaire.” The type that wants people to see everything from an arms length away. If you think I am happy than I am. All I need is your validation!
I want you to think I have this enviable life in the perfect apartment with a great job and a perfect relationship. It was all complete bullshit. I couldn’t afford my lifestyle, whatever relationship I would be in would be terrible and inside my life was falling apart. I hated myself. I lived for those brief moments when someone would compliment me on my suit or a new song I had written. Honestly! I lived for that. And that’s when the realization comes like a slap in the face: I have zero self-esteem.
I want you to think I’m something I am not because I know exactly what I am and you aren’t getting close to finding out. So I create these necessary arrangements like where I live because without them I am left with myself. Then I would really be exposed. I no longer could hide behind a doorman. I no longer had a job. The surface of my life had been ripped away and I was left standing alone in front of the crowd. Then you see the real me. I had become a liar, an addict, someone that would never show up. I had found a way to deal with hating myself, and it was by destroying myself.
When I was finally exposed I began taking a closer look at my life. Why didn’t my methods work? First, my methods were ridiculously out of step but at the same time made perfect sense. As long as I can keep up the appearance of being happy, satisfied and successful it is just as good as if those things were actually true. And, to keep those pesky truths away I would numb myself. I would lie to cover up another lie. My thought process was simple: I’ll deal with it tomorrow. Except tomorrow started turning into the same exact thing as today. And that’s when the wheels start falling off.
I could no longer keep up. And when you take away all of the lights I had no happiness. I could at least momentarily brag about where I lived or other material things but in a moment all of that was gone. I had nothing within myself to be proud of. So there it is, that is when I hit bottom. In this scenario I had 2 options: Keep digging or find a way to pull myself out of this mess. Thankfully I chose to change.
I began work on my ego, my self-esteem, my humility, my gratitude. When I began to practice these things daily I slowly started to notice a change within myself. The more I humbled myself the more I chipped away at my ego. Practicing esteemable acts started to build up my own self-worth. There were no tricks. No quick fixes. There never are. I can’t build myself into my best version by practicing these principles when convenient. I don’t want to have 1/2 of the benefits. And in order to pursue this type of life I have to be patient, willing and committed.
I often times catch myself when my ego is getting a little out of hand. This time I know what to do. I have to be honest with where I am at. I have to accept my mistakes and be willing to work on improving myself without drifting into morbid reflection or anxiety. I know I will continue to make mistakes but the way I handle them is what is different about me now. I am no longer in competition with the rest of the world. I don’t want to measure myself up against anybody. This is an interesting concept I have found recently. I do not believe that competition will help me improve myself. I no longer want to be better than you. In all honesty I don’t even want to focus on what the next person is doing. It has nothing to do with me. If I begin to let my self-worth be determined by how I stack up against others I will always be chasing another persons goal.
I have to be in competition with myself. A healthy competition to be sure. In order to improve myself and have the capability to become the best version of myself I have to focus on how I can change everyday. What real can I work on to improve myself? What have I done that needs some fixing? I don’t care how my life measures up to somebody else’s. And the reasoning is somewhat simple. When I compare myself to how I perceive somebody to be I am comparing myself to an image. This in turn makes me want to appear better than somebody else. That is how I used to live my life. I wanted my outsides to look better than yours. Now, this seems wrong. Especially when dealing with becoming a better person…
I don’t want to compete over who is making more progress in their personal life. I hope everybody is making progress. But all I have control over is myself. So, I want to be smarter and healthier than I was yesterday. I want to improve daily. It’s my own little battle against myself! This moment versus yesterday. Lastly, I check my motives for why I divulge so much personal information on this blog. It isn’t because I am proud of my past. Rather I share so much of myself because I want people to know that they are not alone.
Maybe only 10 people read my blog. That’s ok. In order to help somebody, in order for me to reach someone I have to be able to open myself up and show something that they can identify with. Maybe something I say will change someone’s day for the better. Maybe somebody won’t have to go through what I did to learn some very valuable tools. Bottom line, this is the only way I know how to be helpful. I have to be completely honest and let you know that I have been down so many times it’s hard to believe I am still alive. And that I can prove to people that there is always hope.