I want to be special. I am special. I will tell myself anything to persuade myself that I'm special. If I achieve something, I'm special. If I don't, well there's a reason why because I'm still special. I'm different. I'm above. I am forever thinking about ways in which I am special - superior.
The other day my dad told me that I was a thoughtful child, and I wondered whether that made me special. And then he continued to say that I've grown up to become half thoughtful and half thinking about myself, and after a bout of denial, I couldn't help wondering if he was right. Self indulgence isn't about being selfish, disregarding all other people, not caring. It's actually about how much you care... about yourself. It's about your appearance and your personality, your reputation, your abilities - it's basically self-absorbed over-thinking.
It's like there's a barrier between my mind and the world outside. I feel trapped in this bubble of me. If I'm thinking of someone else, it has to be about what they think of me, how they add to who I am - why can't I just think about them? It's like hitting a wall because my entire life has just been self indulgence and I realise that I don't do anything because it's right anymore.
I don't know when I started being scared of having conversations. It used to be an issue of starting them, but nowadays it's the opposite. Almost as soon as a conversation with someone I'm not used to starts, I begin thinking of ways to escape it. I just don't want to ruin their previous illusion of me. I'm scared I will say the wrong thing, or be boring, or that we won't connect. It's even worse if we somehow managed to connect the last time - because I don't want to ruin that. If you hadn't figured out already, I'm always making these conversations about me. They're about how I look, what they think of me, what I say...
On retreat last week we took a mini listening quiz, and for some reason the questions and answers of this insignificant questionnaire have stuck with me. When someone is talking, I am most likely thinking of what I want to say next. I tune out a lot if it's not interesting enough for me. I'm always thinking about my side of the conversation, which is probably why I find it so difficult to connect with people in the first place (besides the fact that I attempt escaping) - I'm never really listening.
I read an article the other day about immersing yourself in someone else's world. Let them choose what to do. Let them speak. Listen to them - and you're guaranteed to learn something, many things, about them. Don't think about yourself and your presence in these situations. Think about the complex being that they are, and connect the pieces of their puzzle one by one. The world is made of 7 billion people who are human beings just as complex as you, so stop over-analysing your identity and start learning from theirs. Let them shape you subconsciously. Pick and choose.
Don't do things because they make you appear better to others. So many people seem to be grabbing aimlessly for attention nowadays. They act rude or selfish because they like having the reputation of a right winged spoilt brat. They act super friendly to someone because they like the idea of being their friend. They act like they eat junk all the time to seem more down to earth. Even if they were being genuine, I wouldn't be able to tell - maybe I should just assume so?
I know I'm a culprit of these fake actions. In fact, I feel as if these fake actions are my only actions. Everything I do is about self indulgence, my identity, my appearance - and none of it has anything to do with simple self love, or not thinking at all. It's like my entire existence has been about making myself into a more superior being, in other people's eyes as well as my own. It's like I'm not doing anything I genuinely enjoy without considering what that makes me anymore. When did everything come back to "who am I"? Why can't it just be "what do I feel like doing now"?
I can't remember a day when I thought any differently, so I guess all this over-self-analysis has made me who I am today, and that's special in an unhealthy way.