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.

About the Author rhett burch

What is generally hidden from others is explored openly and honestly here in an attempt to elicit the shadow out of myself and the reader. Perhaps you yourself would sooner disguise some struggle you are facing to avoid any feelings of embarrassment or shame. You may even feel you are successful at hiding certain aspects of yourself, though most likely you, like me, are far less successful at hiding your demons than you wish to believe. You may consider that when one is hidden one cannot be helped, nor can they be of use to others. Successfully keeping one’s shortcomings hidden is a self-imposed impediment to one’s growth, usefulness, and happiness. Suffering in silence only increases the suffering and confounds those who care for the sufferer; It is an unhealthy way to cope with life. I hope to show that there is no weakness in admitting and confronting one’s shortcomings. My struggle and experience are well-documented within. The more I create and write the further I trudge into my insecurities, my private life. I write candidly, honestly, and hopefully in a way that flows well and is easy for the reader to grasp. My work and understanding must be thorough or else I lose balance in life. I write to exercise and relieve my mind. I have accepted that this life is a challenge, it is difficult, and there are no maps. I have accepted that most of this world is beyond my comprehension and, even more, is out of my control. Through my essays, I hope to illustrate and investigate methods of relinquishing the human will, freeing me from self-will, and releasing the desire for control and power. Rhett Burch

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