Destroying Ourselves

Posted: November 24, 2012 in Essays
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I wonder how often we destroy ourselves with our own expectations. I think it’s a good idea to have standards. If you don’t have standards, you’re probably going to be a very unhappy person. It’s also good to put yourself around people that make you smile and encourage you; challenge you but don’t grind you under their heel to make themselves feel better. I don’t know many people who would disagree with that, but I think we often wake to find ourselves well-ground under our own angry, judging heel.

Kierkegaard said that we hate ourselves and want so much to be someone else that we create despair in our lives. We have decided that our goals define us. So instead of just being let down, as anyone might be when they don’t reach a goal, we are devastated because our entire self-worth was wrapped up in that goal. But we’re so much more than our plans or our failed relationships, or our pasts. We are more than what we have done or has been done to us. But it’s hard to see that in ourselves. So we hate ourselves and strive to be something other than ourselves. And, by damn, if we’re going to suffer at the hands of our unrealistic expectations then so will others.

Whether that someone else be friends or lovers we come to expect more and more out of them so that they will seem as miserable at life as we think we are. It becomes so awful that even if we do get that thing that we demand from them there will not be enough of it or it will not be done in the right way to satisfy us. Because, somehow, defeat for others equals a sick victory in our twisted, broken hearts. It means we were right, and we like being right. We like winning.

In short, we want to love who we are so much that we’re willing to sacrifice hope for any outside love just to prove how loveable we are to ourselves. And we still don’t feel more loved (Mainly because that’s a self-defeating, stupid way of doing that). But if we realize that it’s not our accomplishments that make us valuable; it’s not our societal roles, relational roles or any of that stuff that make us matter us human beings, then we might get a different outcome. Because then I’m not racing you to ‘win’ life. Then I don’t have to make you seem like less to make me feel like more. Then I don’t have to run away from everything just to feel some semblance of control. I can just be. Me. I can let go and just be. Then I am free to be loved and to love.

  1. I used to put so many expectations on people but I’ve learned how unhappy that made me. Expectations lead to disappointment when things don’t go the way you want. Today, I try to look at life as an adventure, full of possibilities…the things I want may not always happen but I know other great things will happen as long as I’m true to myself.

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