We are back from our trip to the city for yet another event, and while I had something completely different set to be written, after a conversation with my little fae, I feel this needs to take precedence, and in writing it, may end up being more therapeutic than the original idea I had.
Bear with me, this is going to be long, emotional and hard as fuck for me to get through because I’m going back many years – and unearthing things that need to be unpacked to help me move further along my path.
I have a few undesirable traits that I need to get rid of in order to move further along my path of Mastery, and self-growth, but I’ll be damned if I know how to deal with them, or even if my fear of letting go of them will ALLOW me to.
In my early twenties, I was a very vulnerable person. I had a lifetime of wearing my heart, emotions, and thoughts on my sleeve. As a result, I was taken advantage of in my life by just about everyone, I have no one to blame but myself – “What you allow will continue” – and it did.
It continued, and I developed coping mechanisms and cultivated personality traits to shield myself from the hurt. I drank, heavily – more to allow my brain to stop with the anxiety and to possibly connect with people I wouldn’t connect with because of my shyness and low self-image.
The personality traits I cultivated are really the issue here, and I will address the why and what of them individually – as to move forward requires honesty and disclosure as a start.
I cultivated a fake sense of Superiority – Rather than becoming better at something, or working towards it, I was always at the top of my game, I created a fake confidence to shout down the voice that (sometimes still) screams in the back of my head that I am worthless, inept and “playing” at whatever it is I am dealing with. To this day even though I help facilitate MAsT in this area, I can’t help but manufacture confidence in the material rather than have the confidence come naturally. I manufacture fake confidence through ego in a great many things – even sometimes where the confidence SHOULD be genuine. Ego also caused me to become detached from the very people I reached out for, eventually, I withdrew into self-importance and sabotaged (unknowingly) my attempts to connect with people.
“When we remove ego, we’re left with what is real. What replaces ego is humility, yes—but rock-hard humility and confidence. Whereas ego is artificial, this type of confidence can hold weight. Ego is stolen. Confidence is earned. Ego is self-anointed, its swagger is artifice. One is girding yourself, the other gaslighting. It’s the difference between potent and poisonous.”
― Ryan Holiday,
If Ego is the Toxicity, and Humility replaces Ego. how do I start to deconstruct a carefully crafted ego built with 20 years of care and exactness designed to keep me safe? I find it hard to be humble, truth be told I know I have moments of humbleness, and then they’re gone, as quick as the come. Like just now. I read this passage of and I realized, by acknowledging, I have moments of humbleness, I am letting ego take over because in actuality I shouldn’t have to point it out. Fuck.
I can be a vain creature in many things, and that started at an early age (and in a different capacity continues to this day). I am constantly considering what will people think? I can’t do that I’ll look idiotic, or sounds stupid, or any other manner of vain excuse to not do, say or communicate what I really think, feel, or want. Vanity has led me to self-sabotage, and stunted personal growth, and happiness. Vanity has also led me to a place where if I do manage to communicate these things, it is only under duress, a feeling of being threatened, or absolute and concrete necessity. It cuts me off further from others because I am scared of being seen as weak for needing help. Do as I say not as I do Goddamn it.
“There comes a time when you look into the mirror and you realize that what you see is all that you will ever be. And then you accept it. Or you kill yourself. Or you stop looking in mirrors.”
― Tennessee Williams
Pride is something I struggle to find balance in, pride itself can be good, or bad, being Prideful is the problematic part. I take pride in few things but I am prideful about too much. Being prideful lends itself to an aura of arrogance, which, in my past was an excellent tool for keeping people at a distance. I still break that one out of the toy bag on occasion because it can help keep me out of situations or conversations where my vanity may be challenged. Pride in work well done is great, however too much pride in one’s image of self is another thing, it’s an odd dichotomy, I have a low self-image, but because I am prideful I cover showing that to most by self-deprecating humor. If they’re laughing -with- you, you can get out of saying anything of substance.
“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”
― C.S. Lewis
The last point to touch on can’t be “sub-headed” in one word and it is something I need to modify so I can bring it out of the dark place I buried it years ago behind a wall made of Bourbon and pain.
Cultivating healthy vulnerability.
A healthy vulnerability is something I -know- about, but I have a hard time putting it into practice – in today’s world vulnerability has very negative connotations – exposed, and defenseless are probably two very common words associated with vulnerability.
Healthy Vulnerability to me is a form of freedom. Freedom to live authentically, and rather than sharing personal insights, it is instead the freedom to show people the “real” you, quirks, imperfections, and all manner of imperfectly perfect life. The problem for me, and why I shoved that into a box and crammed it behind my metaphysical wall is I do not know HOW to accomplish being vulnerable in a healthy manner.
“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.”
― Madeleine L’Engle
In the Search for authenticity and Mastery of myself, these are my first steps, they are the biggest ones because they are what remains of a toxic mindset of a scared young man, who was ill-equipped for life, and scared to let go of toxic people for fear of being alone.
I’m not that person anymore, and I don’t want to be, I want to let go of it. So here I am writing this for someone who has extended the hand to help.