Beating the ego: the arduous journey in 900 words
Also published on Thought Catalog.
When you discover the ego, you become fixated on it.
You crumble to pieces when you realize you’ve been living under a fake persona craving worthiness. You spend every waking moment trying to find out why you've needed to prove yourself.
You study your childhood and dig for old stories of yourself. You try to understand. Nothing makes sense. You begin to realize you always felt inadequate. You had a brother smarter than you. You were never enough to anyone.
You realize that your whole future life you imagined were all built on these insecurities to prove your worth. You become repulsed by it. You realize your goals and future fake. They are not you. You trash your goals and future plans. This seems like a wonderful plan. You can’t imagine living a life solely to prove yourself anymore.
Life is great, you think. You are working hard to value yourself.
Then you realize current job doesn’t fit into your career goals anymore. Then you realize you don’t even have career goals anymore. You start to hate going to your job. Your job now just becomes a means to exist.
You are learning how to value yourself while now working in a job that makes no sense. You have no future plans or goals.
Life becomes confusing and painful. You work to buy food. You buy food so you don't shrivel up and die. You begin to wonder why you even do that.
Why even exist? Why am I even eating food?
You wake up feeling like shit again. You go to a job that you do not even dislike, you instead hate. You still don’t even know why you are waking up anymore.
You exist. You eat. You don’t know why you eat. A burger seems meaningless. You have no future goals to stand for.
Through this process, you slowly begin to value yourself, but you still have no goals. You are comfortable with who you are, that's fun but you have no goals.
What's the point of valuing myself? None of it really matters.
You don’t know why you wake up. You don’t know why you lie down at night in preparation for tomorrow.
You just do.
You start to really value yourself but life still seems like hell in a blender.
You begin to wish you were ignorant to your ego again. Life was better with an ego. You were motivated, you had goals, now you have no goals and no motivation.
You go to work late. You get headaches by noon. You begin to wonder if valuing yourself is really what it’s made out to be. You like yourself but life is still hell.
You have no purpose. You are existing. That is all you are doing.
You read things. You show up to work. You read more things. You need answers. You ask Google why this sucks so much. You read more answers. Soon you begin to tear through books. You are a voracious vacuum of knowledge.
You become realize life is hell because you have no goals or motivations. You now have a goal. Paradoxically, your goal is to find a goal. But it works.
You still hate your job. You now have a clear goal: find a goal. It's good times. You feel a breakthrough down the road. Life is tough, but you feel true to yourself. You are being bold.
You start to really hate your job. You realize it's everything you don't want. But it pays for food. And food buys you time to find out what your new goal will be.
You still hate the job. You wish you didn't have to spend half of your waking hours pushing paper. You want to be finding your new goal.
New books. New adventures. They call to you. And this job stops you.
You want to quit. But if you quit you can't buy food and you will die. And you still don't know what kind of job you would even like. A new job will be just as bad as this job, just with a different desk.
Life starts to suck again. But you value yourself. You crushed your ego a long time ago. You know that how you act is authentically you.
Eventually, you find a goal. Something you care about. Something you want to work on. You are hesitant. It is broad and random. Is this thing a goal? It's been in front of you this whole time. You didn't realize this new goal could be a goal.
You wonder if it can be a career. How do I get paid for this? What skills do I need? A new goal arises: making your new goal into a career.
You read new books. Books not on philosophy but books on practical skills. You start equipping yourself with the tools you need to make your new goal a career. You feel positive.
You are grounded on genuine, authentic goals. You feel valued. You feel your worth. You have a goal. You love yourself. You can love others. You aren't a dick anymore. You don't have to win. You don't have to prove anything. You believe in present you.
You realize your new goal is crazy. It's a big leap away. You wait for a good opportunity. You wake up and realize it’s been months. What the hell. You say fuck it. You quit.
You don't know where you are going. But you know you will make it work. You are bold.