There is a part of one’s self who wants to chase big dreams, goals, and ambitions. And there’s another part who can get lost in life and wants to find direction. When these two meet, the part who is lost can be persuaded that what he is truly looking for is what the ambitious one has his sights on. But that is a lie. By pursuing ambitions, you can lose your sense of purpose, and thus the guiding light that gives you direction.
“Did you know that with action, and the willingness to fight, you can achieve almost anything?”
“Yeah, but why would I want to? What’s the point? I mean, wouldn’t I just lose it all again anyway? Why try hard with anything?”
“Perhaps. You might lose it all – but you might gain everything and more. Think of how you feel now. Would you really want that again? Think of what you might miss if you never tried at all. The heights of humanity are far from this place.”
“You really think so? You really think I can do it?!”
“Submit to me, and I will bring you to heights you never thought were possible.”
“Fine! I’ll do it!”
“Good. Now pay attention…”
Today, I learned about the past of the part of me who gets tense a lot. A long time ago (I don’t know when), this side of me felt lost and alone. I had lost something precious to me, and somehow, another side of me caught wind and showed up. This other side offered me, in my loneliness and despair, a new path, one that few dare to travel. To find glory, and taste the fruits of those things in life that few men can achieve. It was the promise to win a life full of what I had lost and more. To go beyond what I knew, that is, what was lost, and to grasp for what I could only imagine awaited me.
Not that there’s anything wrong with seeking something out-of-the-ordinary, or to do unique things, but the side of me who seeks glory wants to do it because of what other people will think of him. His name will live on, his accomplishments, his triumphs. Can you see why this doesn’t work?
It’s not because it’s immoral, or egotistic, or selfish – although it might be those things. Following the call of glory, just because I am sad or in a state of loss, doesn’t heal the loss. It leads anyone who follows it chasing after things that will never, ever solve the problem itself.
The tragedy of losing friends and those you hold dear is connected to clinging on to others (who you also hold dear) in unhealthy, unfriendly ways. Maybe the true culprit is abandoning yourself during times of pain, when you need comforting the most. I will find out.
EDIT: Why does this post include something about the “Emotional Vampire?”
There is a side of one’s self who wants to keep others close to it because of the benefits it gains. I call this The Emotional Vampire. Why? Because he wants to prey off of the joy of friendship, but complains with those others want to be free, and do their own thing.
After talking with this guy, I realized he acted this way because he himself had lost friends, and, not wanting to deal with that kind of pain anymore, he now did what he could to keep current friends close.
He only seems to come out when a friendship or relationship is in danger. It’s that grasping feeling, saying, “How dare they! I am their friend!” However, as you can see, the Emotional Vampire isn’t invested in what their friend wants.
The reason why, in the original post, I suggested this compulsion might have to do with abandoning yourself in times of pain is because when you lose a friend, it’s painful – and if you can’t be your own friend at those times, you might try to get other people to alleviate your pain for you. I have not proven or disproven this at this time.
All I can say it was extremely disturbing the first time I saw this in myself, because I want to be a good friend, and this side of myself is decidedly not.
Just be careful not to let this side of yourself be the dominating way you relate with other people, or those who wise up to it will flee from you. Instead, challenge your own neediness, and become a more true friend, one who can stand on his or her own, but enjoys giving and receiving nonetheless.
Random thought: At any time all our hopes and carefully laid out plans for the future could come crashing down, and our refusal to accept that reality does not need to be foisted on others, because in times of trial, people NEED acceptance, rather than the temptation to ignore, escape, or refuse the reality around and within them.
What I mean is, when someone is going through something tough, if they have trouble accepting things, saying, “I can’t believe this happened…”, then rather than just agreeing with them it’s important to emphasize, when they’re ready, with kindness, that they will need to accept it in order to move forward. If they can’t, it’s important to ask why. Maybe they have a need that’s not being met anymore, and you can work with them at that point to help them meet that need in new ways, as life changes.
Just remember to be patient. Give people the time to let their fear of the new situation calm down. And most of all, make sure they know it’s ok to be afraid, it’s ok to feel lost. This is a sensitive time, and if they run away from their feelings, things will only get worse. With a space to heal and feel the feelings, the ones that are hard to take, they’ll get better.
And as with anything for others, you can give yourself this space to heal too.