Today has been a rather compressed day. When I say that, I just mean that time flew by today and I didn’t have much perception of it. Regardless, there is something that I have been thinking about and I do want to talk about it (although I’m not sure how much you guys will want to reciprocate conversation.)
See, I’ve been thinking about myself a lot lately. I’m always asking myself why I’m so interested in myself, my psyche, my physicality. I’m asking myself a lot if it’s a matter of simply wanting to grow or if its egotism/vanity. The side of me very much interested in other people would like to believe that it’s certainly not vanity/egotism.
Of course, there’s the other side of me too to consider. It would also like to believe that it’s not egotism or vanity. But maybe I should look at the definitions of these terms:
Egotism: the practice of talking and thinking about oneself excessively because of an undue sense of self-importance.
Vanity: excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements
According to both of these definitions, I’m not sure if I really fit them. Allow me to explain. See, I’m pretty used to admitting to myself that I’m “vain” a lot, just because my own head is filled with my own presence (especially thinking about myself from an outside perspective.) “Vain” has been the easiest word to use to describe that feeling for me (even though it’s now likely incorrect.)
But I’m not vain when I think about this situation more deeply. I don’t really have excessive pride in myself. As an adult, I’m more open to the idea of pride in healthy doses; as a kid, I despised the idea of pride. I always thought that pride would lead to self-absorption (and unhealthy ego-inflation), and to a deflection of others by ignoring them and their positions. Of course, pride can do those things and I know that.
Still, pride is a tricky topic for me because it’s always had a negative connotation for me. I don’t like to say aloud that I’m “prideful” or “proud” of what I’ve done, how I’ve lived, who I am. But I am proud of myself, I just internalize the pride, always keeping it just out of firm grasp. For me, it’s better to be proud by recognizing that I did something good and to leave it at that.
It’s never been comfortable for me to even think to myself like, “Wow, I’m pretty damn awesome for being able to do that!” I recognize too that there’s nothing wrong with thinking that, but it seems easier to just know that things happen in my life that I do or handle and that they are moments to be proud of but I try to not actively think that those moments are prideful moments. They are merely things that happened (and if good, they were merely good things that happened.) End of story.
Getting back to what I was originally saying, I’m not excessively prideful or admire my accomplishments and appearance. I really hardly have any pride (at least outward pride.) I’m not the fondest of my appearance either but I think everyone struggles with being content with their appearance. Self-love is a hard thing to do and do well.
So it goes without saying that vain is not the best word to describe this feeling. But what about egotism? Well, I do talk and think about myself pretty excessively. Just take a look at the purpose of this blog (enough said, right?) Probably 85% of the real estate in my head goes to myself. But the question is, do I think/talk about myself a lot because I feel that I under appreciate myself of think lowly of my importance as a person?
Well… perhaps. I’m not afraid to admit that I haven’t loved myself for a long time and only now as a young adult am I learning how important it is to practice self-love. Growing up, there were many times I felt unappreciated and I was around those who degraded me. Are all the years of being put down and putting myself down haunting me in the present? Who can say?
It’s strange because I know, logically, that I am important and have worth (as everyone does.) I have people who love me, people who depend on me, situations that have been bettered by my actions, etc. I know that as a human being, I’m entitled to decency and respect as an individual. I know this stuff…
Ah, but the mind is a powerful thing is it not? No matter how much the head recognizes something, the heart can overpower it in an instant, giving whatever excuse it needs to persuade that its argument is right.
I think maybe that’s what’s going on here. I know that I’m worthy but I know I don’t always feel that way, and because I’ve been caught between those two poles for years, maybe some damage has been done and I’m trying to repair it with obsessive fascination for my own self. I don’t know…
I’m getting another thought just now though. Do I have to be public about this stuff, that is, do I have to say and act prideful or self-absorbed in order for it to be true? Or, can I have it be internalized where no one believes/can tell I am vain or egotistical except me? Does vanity and egotism have to stand “outside” of myself so to speak? I don’t know. Let me know what you think though…
Perhaps, I’m just overtly and overly self-meditative. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with how much I think about myself and internalize these thoughts of self. Is this normal? Does everyone do this and I just don’t know it? I mean, all of these conflict remains within me. Anyone one who knows me might be tempted to say that I’m more selfless than selfish. Of course, selfishness is not synonymous with vanity or egotism.
Hmm… but let me switch gears. What has brought on such extensive thoughts? I blame it on what it is that I’ve been doing over the past couple of years. To keep it short, I’ve been producing material that focuses on who I am and it’s created by me. I’ve been writing stories about my life and experiences; I’ve been practicing self-portraiture for some years now and actively looking at my physicality and self-perception. All of this weighs on me.
Actually, it’s kind of funny when I think about it. I’d like to believe that I’m not self-absorbed yet what I do in my free time is make things all about me (although I do other things too.) Outwardly, that seems to suggest that I’m pretty self-absorbed. But I don’t do it out of admiration; I do it out of investigation so that I can understand myself better. I don’t know myself as well as I’d like to believe.
Allow me to illustrate my thinking here:
Imagine your own person as a house that you’ve lived in since you were born. Since you’ve lived in that house forever, you’d feel like you know it very well, right? You’ve seen it change as time goes by. You know all of its little quirks, flaws, strengths, etc. You’ve seen people come and go out of the house. You know your own house, right?
But you know what? You don’t. Why exactly would that be? See, it’s because there are other things outside of you and the house itself that reveal more things about the house that you never knew. For example, you never knew that there was a slightly warping of the wall in the back of the kitchen until a guest pointed it out. Now you can’t stop seeing it, but you didn’t discover that little fact on your own.
The same principle is true, at least for myself. There are things that I know about myself, but then there are lots of things that I don’t know about myself that other factors in life reveal to me. So I’m on this journey of self-discovery and I’m always on that journey.
It’s crazy how fascinating the self can be isn’t it? Even though the world is so expansive and filled with so many things, we occupy lots of our time trying to understand those things closest to home.
But I suppose very little will change in the end. I’ll still be concerned with understanding myself and I’ll explore myself via whatever means I choose. I’ll still probably be doing self-portraiture and writings and probably a number of different things. The hope is that this is all just a matter of wanting to understand who I am, and not an indulgence of who I am.
Well, I think that’s about all my brain was pondering on concerning this topic. What are your thoughts about this topic? Am I just over-analyzing and overreacting? Or is there something more to my words? Whatever the case, leave your thoughts below, m’kay?
Take care everyone. Cheers.