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Monday, January 12, 2009

Finding a selfish balance

Warning: This post is a piece of potentially over-indulgent navel gazing. If that sort of thing annoys you, skip it and stay tuned for the upcoming much more audience-friendly drawing.

As you may have noticed, I've been in a bit of a funk lately. I can best sum up the anxiety that I've been feeling as the product of a general disequilibrium in my life. This unbalanced state is also a condition that plagues the macro-organism within which I currently function, or at least am supposed to.

What I'm trying to say is, I don't think I'm alone in the unsettled feeling. In fact, I'm pretty sure the same maladjusted orientation is rippling through the general population as the tidal wave of societal dysfunction builds.

Getting back to the problem with me though, and I know that's why you're here, I can broadly attribute my failings to an imbalance in the way I approach relationships. I've always been a very selfless person, and contrary to conventional wisdom that's not really a good thing.

I do have a very strong sense of self, don't get me wrong, but I lack the ability to effectively communicate who I am to those around me. I'm also terrible at gauging how others perceive me, and that causes an awkward over-emphasis on making sure they like me. This leads to one-sided relationships where I try to do too much and ask nothing in return.

I had a conversation last night with a friend of mine about fate and chance. She tried to convince me that everything in our lives, including the connections we make with others, happens for a reason. It's something I've heard often, but I've always had difficulty embracing it. Chaos theory makes much more sense to me.

I do believe we're attracted to certain people for specific reasons, whether it be the inclinations established through our early-life relationships or something hard-wired into our DNA. Not all of these patterns are positive, however, and sometimes the "meaning" we take away from them is a lesson in our own self-destructive tendencies.

The universe and its grand interplay of matter and energy is, after all, essentially indifferent to our individual comings and goings. If the path we embark on is to be purposeful, it's up to us to chart the course. It can't be left to some vague sense that a god, angel, or guiding spirit is shepherding us along the way.

Bringing this full circle, the point is that I need to be a bit more self-aware and self-centered or the repeated missteps will take me too far down the wrong road. It's not that I'm going to stop caring for others. It's that I need to take care of myself first in order to continue to do so. I may seem more self-absorbed, less accessible, and overly inward-focused but right now that's the only way forward toward balance.
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