Monday, May 27, 2013

Painful thought

To be honest, I would rather not be writing this post right now. The easiest thing would be to walk away from my computer here, go back to bed for a few hours, and pretend these thoughts and realizations never crossed my mind. I think that would be the coward's way out. I do not believe that my thoughts will flow smoothly here, nor do I think that these words will paint me in the most favorable light. So be it. Sometimes the truth hurts.

I woke up earlier than I expected this morning, made myself some coffee and took some time to set outside and allow myself to wake up while contemplating my day. After a series of complicated thoughts and reflections that I will not bore you with, I understood something about myself that is still stuck in my head.

I am a selfish person and I do not love other people as I should.

While that sentence may have been easy to type out, it certainly isn't something simple or comfortable to confess to myself, much less the world at large. In fact, as I did so, I began making all types of excuses and justifications for why it was not and could not be true. Then my mind started comparing myself to other people, thinking about some of the choices I have made, and started reasoning away why I simply must be mistaken.

It still remains true.

Now this isn't going to be some maudlin assemblage of words where I castigate myself and drag out every last detail in order to gain some satisfaction out of my misery or despondency about accepting this fact. In all reality, I am sure the true weight and meaning of it has yet to hit me. I know how my brain works and it is entirely possible that I will have talked myself out of this idea in a few short hours, but while it is fresh, I wanted to get it down in writing, if only to reflect on this head and heart space at a later time.

It is never enjoyable or easy when you find yourself falling short of your own expectations for yourself. I am sure to other people looking into my life, this seems like it could not possibly be the reality with which I live my existence. They would be wrong. In point of fact, almost every single decision and course of action I take each day is weighed heavily in favor of what I want, how it benefits me and an intricate cost benefit analysis that has become second instantaneous nature that boils down to, "What is in this for me?" I rarely, if ever, do something altruistically only and solely for the benefit of another person. That may sound caustic in self examination, but it is true. I am a selfish person.

These choices and manner of life hinge directly on the second part of that bolded statement. "I do not love other people as I should". I think I do love a few people in this life. I know that I have been in love. I love my family and some of my friends, but actually, I think I might only rather like them for who they are and what they have done and do for me. I do not love them for who they are and nothing else. I do not place value on them simply for their existence and I can honestly say, I do not live my life and choose my words in such a way that respects them in the manner in which they should be. It would be a much easier list to compile if I were to start listing all the people, groups, activities and ideas that I do NOT love. I could come up with a hate list really quickly and I fear it would be quite extensive.

I can couch these likes and dislikes in whatever fluffy language would make me feel better, but it still wouldn't make the truth of them any less real. We find all kinds of creative justifications for why we do and say what we do. Often times, I am really good at lying to myself about motivation or buying into the group accepted story of why things are, but I still cannot escape the fact that I am selfish and do not love people.

There is no massive conclusion to be found here yet. This isn't the paragraph where I vow to do better and pledge in some foolhardy fashion that I am going to change. You might ask me what my baseline for this assessment is and I can't quite put my finger on it. It is something inside of me that quickly looked at my life and found it wanting. I am not the best version of myself I know to be possible. I am not giving more than I am taking. I was made for more than this. Don't buy the marketing hype and fancy packaging with which I may present myself to the world with. I am as depraved, wanton and capable of all manner of things which we would find reprehensible. In short, I am not a good person. I may have done and do some good things. I can almost assure you my motivation for that was not good.

So that is where I am right now. I am in need of change and growth. I don't want to be selfish. I want to love other people. I want to be a better man.



  1. Maybe some details would help here. Often a person's view of themselves is the most harsh of all. These details that you don't want to bore is with may not be so bad after all....when looking from the outside.

  2. I understand what you have said here and appreciate it, but in the end, knowing that I have found myself lacking and in want in these areas, no matter how slight they may be in comparison to others ideals, shows me that I have much room for improvement in my interior life. There needs to be more than one face in the mirror that I look at each day, even if that mirror is only in my mind's eye.


  3. Daemon, I had to read this twice, it shook me that much. Selfishly and I guess ironically, I wasn't concerned about how it effected you. No, I was thinking how every word, every single one of them, applied to me. It was like reading something I had never dared write.

  4. I find it really hard to care about much of anything.

  5. You are by no means alone here, friend. I think this is true of most people I know...myself, of course, included. Is it perhaps a product of Western individualism??

    Regardless the cause, I think it's great (if there can be anything "great" about this) that you have the insight to recognize it. I think on some level I've known about my own selfishness for years, but being married has shown me how profoundly true it is of me. Marriage is a social structure that ensures failure if you don't actually do something about it. For that reason, I'd encourage you not to wait until you find some guy to settle down with. Perhaps work on it now - it will make any relationships (whether romantic or not) you have that much more pleasurable and less agonizing :)