An ether friend of mine wrote a post the other day that garnered a lengthy comment or three and the comment I left, expanded, led to this post. Now, that post and my comment only got the cogs moving…that’s where it ends. For this post I’m going a little bit deeper with the topic. The simple truth is what I’m going to describe might be a little tough to grasp for normal folk… For people suffering delusions of grandeur, this should be earth-shattering because most people simply don’t look at life this way… Choosing to implement this in one’s life will mean a radical departure from normalcy…
I am, well technically “was” (Can one truly be cured of this? The jury is out), an ego-maniac with an inferiority complex. Now, aside from that being a fantastically humorous one-liner, this statement requires one know exactly what this means if one is to understand and identify with the rest of the post:
e·go·ma·ni·a (g-mn-, -mny, g-)
Obsessive preoccupation with the self.
ego·mani·ac (-n-k) n.
ego·ma·nia·cal (-m-n-kl) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Now inferiority complex:
A persistent sense of inadequacy or a tendency to self-diminishment, sometimes resulting in excessive aggressiveness through overcompensation.
So, an obsession with self combined with a persistent sense of inadequacy… That describes me before I sobered up and about two years after. What this means in normal everyday English is quite simple: I was preoccupied with me. I was always more concerned about myself, what I wanted, what I would get, my feelings, my concerns, me, me, me, me, me…and add to that the caveat, I knew I wasn’t worth much and I was a trainwreck.
Without giving too many words to the problem, one of the chief tenets of living a life in recovery is helping others to recover from a “seemingly hopeless state of mind and body” (Big Book of AA). We get out of ourselves and concentrate on helping others to recover. There are varying degrees of this, of course, but I happen take this part of recovery very seriously. AA or not, sharing my experience with others that they may recover as well is just as important to my own recovery as not picking up that first drink.
With that said, here’s my trick to ending the self-seeking obsession: I learned to stop looking at what I could get out of life and look at what I could contribute instead.
I told you, it’s radical and I’ll guarantee you, it isn’t easy (the fact that there’s only one step to this makes it easy…remembering to do it on a consistent basis, well not so much). All too often we’re wired to look out for number one first. After all, if we don’t look out for ourselves, who will, right? Looking out for one’s interests is not a bad thing, doing so to the detriment of ourselves or others is. In other words, there must be balance. Don’t take my word for it either, give it a try. Next time you have a chance, be it at a party, a business meeting, hanging out with your spouse or significant other… Instead of looking for what you’ll get out of that interaction, look at what you can contribute.
Done on a consistent basis, this will change your life.
Fair warning though… Self-pity hates this way of living. They would list this as a cure for depression but you can’t put that in a pill.