Chris DeLine

Cedar Rapids, IA

The True Burden of Self

Published in Blog. Tags: .

A week ago it dawned on me: some clarity around the egomaniac with an inferiority complex dilemma that so many of us share in. There’s a voice in my head, looking at me, judging me, critiquing my every action. Rarely does it scream – it exists as an ambient hum, always present yet rarely noticeable. It’s in many of our heads, that very same voice. The realization that it exists is nothing new, but last week’s insight had never been as point-blank as it was in that moment: “You’re the shit, you piece of shit.” It gave me a laugh.

Once again faced with the same idea today, a new spin on it struck me. And it’s a concept that altogether encompasses my deepest ongoing struggle – that being the challenge of truly showing myself the slightest bit of love. Several days this week I’ve stood in front of the mirror, early in the morning, looking at myself – dissatisfied with the person who was looking back at me. Standing there, I’ve been talking to myself, telling myself I care about that person. Looking into my own eyes, I’ve had to force those words. Each time I’ve stood there, I’ve been greeted with feelings of disdain, seeing that person who doesn’t meet the ideal of what “I” want myself to be. It’s easy to walk away from that sort of shame. To stop noticing. To stop caring. And that’s what I’ve done in the past: I’ve ignored it, I’ve withdrawn, I’ve grown absent. And in a dissociative headspace there’s no room for self love.

In that space the most difficult thing to do is to just stand there and feel why it’s so hard to say, “I care about you,” “I want what’s best for you,” or just “I love you.” To look at that person with love as the ego notices only the flaws, and just to feel without turning away and retreating to food or drugs or alcohol to hide those feelings – that’s hard. Hard, but not as harmful as continuing to detach and retreat. Continuing to turn away – to remain absent in my own life – that’s the real burden.