It’s been a challenging energy rodeo these past three years. It’s very difficult to watch people that we love endure tough times. Anymore, with some individuals, it seems as though “tough times” is all there is to talk about; well, at least up until this year. Though I have known some incredible people to which life has dealt some immeasurable ugliness, and I feel deeply for them — I, for one, am pretty worn out on the endless string of “woe is me” liturgies that appear to be taking over many people’s playbooks. I’m all for misery loves company. But when misery is all there is — that’s not just a temporary problem one is attempting to work through.
That’s a chosen lifestyle.
When I looked ahead into 2013 from 2012, I saw a very clear image of people becoming who they truly are — good, bad, and ugly — in order to enact any dangling portions of immediate karma that would bring about accelerated lessons in acceptance, growth, and release. Why the acceleration? Because the human race is on a ticking timeframe to get it together before we need to band together. But that’s another predictive blog for another time. Right now we’re dealing with the affects of this ticking timeframe, and this commitment to illusion that’s happening at breakneck pace.
Self-discovery is part of the accelerated learning program of 2013. People are learning all sorts of lessons about themselves, either through giant successes that are landing after years’ worth of very hard work, or hard lessons as the consequences of giant mistakes come home to roost. Sometimes, the confusing but polarizing energy palate of 2013 involves both types of lessons. Either way, people are left with no choice but to see themselves for who they are, and that’s not always positive if the person one has chosen to believe they are doesn’t match what’s looking back in the mirror or on paper. In contrast, sometimes a person thought they were much less than they are, only to find out that on paper and in the mirror, they are seen as a giant.
Self-discovery is all about forgoing pre-crafted illusions or identities of oneself in lieu of ACCEPTING all of oneself. And though there is always room for improvement in each one of us, full acceptance of oneself involves self-forgiveness. It involves forgiving others, even if they have no idea we are harboring resentments. It involves extending grace (unearned slack) to ourselves and to others for any shortcomings. Self-acceptance starts with addressing our pitfalls and realizing that being human — well, makes us human. Self-acceptance means that we stop beating ourselves up because we let ourselves down.
And, it means that we stop beating up those around us for not saving us from ourselves.
Our pitfalls are also often tied to our greatest strengths. So to cut off any behavior whatsoever that could be tied to a pitfall is also to cut off any behavior whatsoever that is also a greatest strength. If an individual is naturally incredibly giving in how they exhibit love but feels taken advantage of so never gives to that depth again, the individual suffers the consequences of feeling isolated and abandoned, which turns to bitterness. Bitterness is the result of one’s greatest gift gone stagnant and rotting within.
Self-acceptance is about moderation and the acknowledgement of both the lighter shades and the darker hues contained in each one of us. Self-discovery is about learning how to balance everything we are. Self-discovery does not involve only focusing on what we like about ourselves and what others like about us while we cut out everything and everyone in our life that doesn’t tow the party line. That’s self-obsession.
Self-obsession is the path on which some on the self-discovery journey will end up on when the lessons of self-discovery — or moreover, the accountability of self-discovery — starts to become too painful. Self-obsession is the illusion in which we all hide to keep our psyche busy thinking it’s working out our problems. However, no problem is being worked out in that mindframe. In fact, a self-obsessed person isn’t interested in working out problems or resolution of any kind, as that would involve the perspective of another party. The person on the self-obsessed path is only interested in skipping from one drama to the next where they are the focal point, or immersing themselves in what feels good in the moment under the guise of “finally taking care of number one”. Setting healthy boundaries does not involve the eradication of anyone with an opposing opinion.
Self-obsession is a powerful addiction, so it’s no surprise that addicts exhibit this behavior while in a “using” cycle.
Self-obsession is the psyche’s space where Darkness is able to kick it’s feet up, eat some popcorn, and enjoy the “us ruining our life” show. While self-obsessed, we are only focused on what serves us. We submerge ourselves into ourselves, but only the parts of our own press release that are the most shiny. We do not take into account the emotions, actions, or contributions of others. We are able to dismiss these items under “extra” because we truly have lost scope that we are part of a greater Universe around us. Sometimes, this loss of scope is purposeful as the Universe around us becomes too chaotic, painful, or fearful.
One of the most interesting finds for me over this past year in relation to this commitment to illusion is the rise in the outward self-obsession people seem to be exhibiting. There was a time when folks would at least (if nothing else for the sake of saving face) attempt to outwardly appear interested in other people’s lives and pursuits. But this new breed of self-obsession is shameless. It swings hard into the saddle and rides into MeVille with two guns full of 44 calibur Me, Me, Me a-blazing. I attribute this lack of self-awareness to the Polarizing Energies of 2013 which dictate that whichever side of the “fence” someone fell upon up to this energetic point in time, they would be fully committed to that path, lock, stock and barrel.
That appears to be the case.
Tighten the blinders and batten down the hatches, boys — we’re going in. This is the time when we ALL will be known for exactly who we are. Not who we wish we were. And oh, man — is that a real hayride to witness, and more of a hayride to experience.
Certainly, part of my work takes me through the entertainment industry circles, an arena in which self-obsession has been honed to a competitive Olympic Sport. The gold medal winners are stellar in their Me Consciousness and their worlds are tiny, crammed full of people with an equally tiny consciousness. I used to find this offensive, yet as I’ve worn on in years, I now find it sad; sad because the smaller someone’s world gets — the smaller they get. I’ve watched brilliant people shrivel into a husk of who they once used to be, surrounded by other chit-chatty husks, all the while high as a kite on the drug of their own self-importance. Just like the meth head who weighs 90 pounds, flesh hanging, claiming they’ve “never felt better since they lost weight” — the Self-Importance Junkie wanders in a haze of fabulousness, completely unaware of what a flake they actually look like to those on the outside of the illusion.
Though it’s Psychology 101, it never ceases to amaze me that there is a direct correlation between the lack of healthy self image and the completely overblown ego. The smaller someone feels inside, the larger they must create themselves to be on the outside. It’s as if human beings think that no one will notice the teeny little person behind the curtain as long as the wizard is barking from the rafters. I get a chuckle about that, considering that guinea pigs will hide their heads even though their bodies are hanging out in the open — and they will feel invisible to predators simply because they themselves can no longer see the predator. Humans and guinea pigs have a lot in common.
Reasoning with someone who is deeply committed to illusion doesn’t work. The person who attempts to point out that the illusion isn’t being shared by the rest of the class is threatening the very fabric of reality that another individual is living amidst. When someone’s sense of self is shaken to that degree, it gets bad. The messenger in that case isn’t just shot — it’s usually shot then rolled out of the car and left by the side of the road as the tires spin out, leaving the body to be eaten by coyotes in the desert. Illusion must erase any trace of opposing opinion in order for its existence to be peaceful. If coyotes eat the body, no proof remains that the illusion was ever challenged.
Illusions must remain under illusion, or it is lost.
Many of my clients are going through challenging times with friends and family who have undergone incredible personality changes through the last year as they have fully embraced their own illusions in the name of self-discovery. Reasons may vary, but nine times out of ten, money is the culprit. Human beings actually use money to define themselves (and that goes back to Deifying money, but again, that’s another blog), and when the money runs out, someone who is guilty of this practice will feel as though their identity has left the building as well. This phenomenon is common especially with males who lose employment. Many marriages crumble because one party or the other feels as though their identity is gone once money is no longer a factor in balancing the “power” in the relationship. (Don’t get me started on “Substituting Provision for Intimacy: Hiding Behind Money”. That, too, is another blog.)
Challenging times or not, we are all responsible to realize our part in everything that occurs in our daily lives. One of the earmarkers of self-obsession is one’s lack of being able to admit personal accountability for one’s role in uncomfortable situations. The “victim consciousness” is the height of self-obsession. Self-obsession turns the “blame” onto any third party as the self cannot be held responsible for letting oneself down. Self-obsession eats motivation, substituting real accomplishment for anything that feeds the ego in the moment.
The severely self-obsessed person lacks empathy. They are incapable of putting themselves in someone else’s shoes because they are wholeheartedly disinterested in anyone else’s process but their own. Apathy is an ugly red flag that accompanies self-obsession. And, it’s a poison that slowly eats up the rest of the person’s soul. Once we lose our motivation to connect — we are truly an island, the stray Gazelle at the back of the herd while the rest hop onward — ripe for Darkness to pick us off.
In Apathy, no one can hear you scream.
Much like the road back from addiction where the addict left their life and relationships in shambles, the road back from self-obsession is very difficult. Regrettably, it is a narrow path on which there is room for only one. All messengers will be shot (and fed to coyotes) and anyone not towing the party line will be abandoned and replaced by yes men. That’s the only way the obsession can be fed and the illusion can be maintained. Maintaining an illusion to the point of DE-lusion takes an enormous amount of energy. Those suffering from acute self-obsession will often be emotionally and psychologically drained and / or suffer additional physical ailments from the amount of energy it requires to create a life within a life.
Though Self-obsession is the psyche’s alternate route when the path of self-discovery becomes too frightening, self-obsession is actually the shortcut to hard, rough lessons. There is no such thing as “skipping a level” in the Video Game of the Universe. The Self is not objective. So the only way to learn lessons when The Self has isolated itself is to have life slam The Self face down on the wrestling mat until the ref calls the match. Often, the self-obsessed individual is genuinely shocked by things “going south” in their life because, well — they haven’t noticed the rest of their life. And my heart actually goes out to the truly self-obsessed person when the stone-cold look of utter disbelief takes over their face as they watch their life topple around them.
That wasn’t supposed to happen.
Self-obsession does not always represent itself as The Hero. Most often, it represents itself as
The Martyr — the one who gave everything and was never appreciated, the one that never got theirs, the one who was drained financially and never supported, the one who gave love but never got it back, the give, give, give character who is always the underdog. The Martyr makes sure that all roads lead to their suffering, so they can put all of their focus back on themselves — and obsess; an emotional hypochondriac. Their pain becomes their primary relationship in their life. They angle every conflict to pin them as a helpless victim, abused by the whims of those to whom they fall prey. The Martyr is never responsible for anything (because they’re always the victim, remember) so they are never accountable for observing their contribution to the complicated situation– thus, the self-obsession is uninterrupted and they can continue to justify “looking out for number one” in “protection” of themselves. Surely, healthy boundaries when working or living with any other person are a necessity. But boundaries can only be established when accountability is acknowledged on the part of all parties involved. Otherwise, the boundary becomes an impervious wall behind which The Self thrives uninterrupted.
Self-obsession is a deceptive playmate: What at first feels like a rush of justified power to do and be anything at any cost then turns to desperation as “things” in the person’s life still aren’t working out. Of course they aren’t. None of the issues are being addressed because the individual is running amok in their own personal Disney Land. The desperation then turns to a new level of illusion — DE-lusion — as the self-obsessed person rotates out the “cast” of their friends and family and replaces them with players who will uphold the new script that is being put into place daily, often under the guise of “weeding out” people who don’t support the new ‘them’. After all, a person suffering in a DE-lusion often casts themselves as the Martyred victim, so surely, it is the fault of the people in their life that their life hasn’t worked out. This cast change, too, eventually crashes and burns because human beings can’t be controlled, and even the new cast will eventually disappoint.
Which leads us to the despicable underbelly of self-obsession — it’s gasoline, it’s battery pack, it’s very foundation — Control. Or more rightly, a lack thereof.
That’s right folks. Self-obsession is all about shrinking one’s environment to a controllable size (no larger than the self) because one feels completely out of control in their life. Self-obsession is about forcing super close-ups where the film calls for wide-shots. Not only does it ruin the film, but anyone else watching the story has no idea what’s going on.
In contrast, self-discovery is about surrendering control to the flow of life and how we fit into that flow — good, bad, and all. Surrendering to that process is terrifying if a person still isn’t seeing “positive” or “quick enough” results in their surrender, and they feel as though they are being bashed against the rocks in the tide of life in the meantime. Many knee-jerk into self-obsession without even realizing it, pulling in their oars and covering their eyes to focus solely on the self — as The Self is much more predictable than the rapids of life, over which we have no control except to paddle. And we’re still not guaranteed we won’t capsize.
In the energies of 2013, self-obsession and self-discovery are the “sides of the fence” on which humanity stands. I’d like to report that those who have deeply committed to self-obsession have a shot at climbing over the fence to self-discovery, but at this time, that doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, I’m seeing more people throw their lives out the window attempting to uphold illusions to the point of DE-lusions — rather than simply just taking the lesson on the chin, admitting their participation, and climbing over the fence to self-discovery. But that’s what 2013 is all about — polarization, and fast, hard lessons.
There is a time for focusing on the self and a time for focusing on the masses. We must remain in balance. When our journey with the self becomes obsession with the self, we become emotionally incestuous and all other relationships suffer. There is not one of us who is greater than the other in our pain, our struggle, our suffering, our joys, our accomplishments, our journeys, or our fears. None of us have earned a pass to crush those with whom we choose to have in our life simply because we are hurting. That type of emotional entitlement is symptomatic of Darkness that has been left unattended in the Human Spirit.
We all make mistakes. But to continue to make them again and again at the expense of anyone else but The Self is a choice. It’s a choice to be a stumbling block rather than a stepping stone — not only in someone else’s life, but in the realm of the Universal flow. The Universe seeks to eradicate resistance. If we choose to cause resistance, that is a battle on whose losing end we will always land.
In an arm-wrestling match between the Universe and The Self — my money is on the Big Guy.