I think all of us go through periods in life where life it seems is basically about us. There is actually a term to describe how we think and make sense of the world : motivated reasoning. Our passion seems to be about showing that those things that either protect us or advance us are the most true and important things in the world. It gives us a window into the “real” intentions of other people. It tells life is about winning and losing, that we lose much more than we deserve to, and that if we are not armed for the struggle we are doomed.
Most of us have been there. I know I have. Struggle is real. Attack is real. The problem is when we are so “motivated” everything seems attack or struggle and life becomes a self fulfilling disaster that leaves you worn out and wondering why there is so much deceit in the world.
One of the ways I know I am there is when it starts seeming like the most important thing in the world is how I feel and I should just feel better. You start believing that mirrors are windows and the world is a very clear place. At some point in time I just get sick of it and start realizing what a better place it is when everything is not about me.
People in danger need to be “motivated” but if you are not in danger “motivation” can in itself be the danger. It leaves us in a distorted stance where the most important thing is not to understand what is going on but to justify what we do.
This kind of self absorption is more than a personal phenomenon. It is also a political and social things. Many people talk about things as an excuse to talk about themselves. Many politicians are in to little but self glorification and you wonder if they are running for office or running for God. Human beings have an incredible gift for self justification and self promotion and they seem to have an infinite ability to bend almost any activity to those ends.
Almost every group I have ever been part of has someone who is willing to take on the role of “commissar.” For them self absorption means policing others and making sure they follow “true path” they have laid out for them. Even disagreement is a threat to their importance.
At times I am as guilty as anyone else. For the most part I am thankful to God I am not God. The way I feel is important. I hate feeling bad and I am at an area of my life where there is way more of that than I sometimes feel I can handle.
The crappiest part of life is that somethings are just the way they are. Sometimes the things that most get in the way of life are life. I don’t know another way to say it.
But feeling better doesn’t complete me. I have more of a purpose than that. If that is all there is than I fear there is not very much.
I matter and you matter and part of me mattering is that you do. So take a breath the next time you get overwhelmed with you. Life is more than what either one of us see in the mirror.
I know I am grateful. I hope you are too.