To preface this, I’d like to note that I’ve been working on this for quite some time and honestly I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to share this with others on any social medium. I suppose I really wrote this more for myself and every day since I began writing it I would come back and re-read it multiple times, adding and editing little by little as I went; hoping that the general thought would sink in. As I said, this is a formulation of my own realizations and I didn’t and still don’t know if others will be able to connect to it the same as I have. These thoughts are simply my own opinions and it is not my intention to claim anything as a fundamental truth. I am by no means an authority on philosophy, or self-help advice; I’m likely the least prominent person to even be writing this at all. These are only my perceptions of the inner workings of humanity, how we connect with ourselves, and those around us. Even if you don’t agree completely or at all, I hope that there is at least something buried within my inner ramblings that can be taken away from this in a useful or positive manner.
A World of Isolation
Much of my life I’ve felt alone, and for a long time I didn’t understand why. I suppose I believed that something was missing, whether it be romantic or platonic relationships, a connection with the general populace, or the lack of inanimate objects that I desired. I was alone in my mind in a very unhealthy way. It wasn’t necessarily a thought, more so a subconscious ache for something, anything to grasp in this lonely world; an aspiration for affirmation of connection to the world at large.
These days I’m really trying to figure out what I want out of life, and that is not a personal question with a simple solution. It’s rather an enigma with no definite answer, but it creates an opportunity.
We come into this world alone, typically surrounded by family but sometimes not. Of course there will always be people around us. Those that raise us through adolescence, friends that offer companionship, lovers that provide warmth and comfort; but regardless, we are alone in our own minds forever and always. Whether conscious of it or not we are all seeking confirmation that we are not alone in this crowded world. This isolation and loneliness is part of the human experience, and feeds the desire to find our own inner direction. To clarify before I dive any deeper, I’m not insinuating that isolation has to literally mean that you experience it when you are actually alone; it is quite possible to experience this loneliness in a crowd of people, surrounded by friends, and even in the presence of loved ones. This is where the fundamental disconnection reigns over our lives.
This craving for more ultimately led me to my withdrawal from everything around me; and I slipped deeper into my depression. This, among other things, I believe led to my predilection for substance abuse. Temporarily I was no longer alone, and if I was I didn’t care. I was self medicating myself deeper into confinement. I’ve spent a lot of time quite literally alone in my life thus far, throughout most of this time I was lonely and felt a major detachment from the world around me; as if everyone was moving forward while I was standing still, and sometimes going in reverse. It took me a long time to realize that these emotions were not because of what I lacked externally from the world, but what I was missing deep inside of myself. I had no drive because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, I didn’t even really know who I was. I can’t say at this time that I’ve found a definite answer to either of those questions, but I’ve finally found the root of why I felt the way that I did and that is progress in the right direction.
Finding the inner self and defining the path we lead is a continual pursuit of humanity; it is ever evolving and subconsciously driving us forward through time. We live day-to-day searching for community and genuine connection to those in the world around us. Yet, so much of what we show or receive in human interaction is a facade. We seek our own validation in the mirror, quite literally and figuratively in the reflection of others. The latter of that search can be rather detrimental to our journey, but not always. Through our encounters with others we can learn things about ourselves, such as what we like or dislike; but it can also go much deeper than that. These interactions can also have the effect of pulling us farther away from finding our inner truths. Not much good typically comes from basing our lives off of others.
In today’s culture of vibrant self-expression, this is clear in so many ways; all we have to do is look at social media. A world seemingly so connected, with most everyone grasping for some sort of hollow asseverations. It’s so commonplace for people to search for their own existential meaning in the minds of others; seeking affirmation for their own actions, thoughts, and direction in life. I soon realized that the more time I spent on Facebook, the worse I felt about myself and the way I was living my life; I was comparing myself to everyone else. All those people who seem to live exciting, extravagant lives. Along with this I was soaking up false information, biased opinions, hateful and isolating content, and the list goes on. Towards the end, I found myself more upset after scrolling through my feed than I was before I ever tuned in. The major takeaway is that I was focusing on what other people were doing and saying but not on what was truly important, which was myself and my own personal development. I made the decision to quit using all social media except for reddit and this blog some time ago, and honestly I don’t miss it at all. Of course in the beginning after deactivating my Facebook account I would find myself reaching for my phone out of boredom, but that urge faded fast. I for one know that my mental state has improved since removing myself from this false sense of interconnectedness. This alone was just a small step for me personally in trying to find myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should delete your Facebook, but maybe just think about how unhealthy it can be for our mental wellbeing at times.
I’ve come to my own personal conclusion that in life I will always fluctuate between isolation and contentment, but the two don’t always have to be separate entities. We have to learn that isolation doesn’t always have to mean that we are lonely, it is very possible to be content in our isolation. In fact, I think this is the best time to really look inward in hopes to learn more about who we really are. Ultimately this content isolation is the life long goal.
Will we ever truly find our inner self? That is a question undoubtedly personal to all of humanity and the awareness of it drives our perpetual pursuit. We search high and low, from the deepest recesses of our psyche to the reverberated emptiness of basic human interaction. Most of our actions, and those of others, can certainly be taken at face value; oftentimes driven by the id and ego. When we really look at our actions and thoughts we have the opportunity to find the underlying motivation for the things that we do and think, and this is where the superego comes into play.
The superego is supposedly the aspect of our personality that maintains our moral standards and basic sense of right and wrong; the accumulation of all our learned ideals and standards from parents, society, and authority figures. This aspect of our consciousness is said to have the primary function of keeping our id and ego in check. Where I digress from the basic idea of the superego is that our moral standpoints are derived solely from others; I think that by reflection on our inner selves, society as a whole, and the state of humanity we can supersede these learned morals and replace them with our own personal sense of morality. Life is often not moral, corruption is widespread and societies deemed standards are often flawed. I believe that the development of our own sense of what is righteous and just is essential to really connecting with ourselves.
In reflection, many of our thoughts and actions are selfish by nature. I’m not saying that self-serving logic is always bad, as it is fundamental to our own personal preservation and progress in life, but it is unhealthy and essentially immoral when projected onto others for one’s own egocentric gain. This sort of selfishness does not benefit our own personal progress and it disregards the potential impact for those on the receiving end.
The search for our inner self is not only for our own mental benefit but also for our capacity to truly connect with those around us and humankind. The more we learn about ourselves the more we can empathize with the lives, emotions, and struggles of others, for the purpose of dissolving the imaginary constructs that divide us as a species; all throughout the world. My thought is that ultimately this is the only way to lessen our intimate loneliness and isolation. With this realization we gain respect for others, as they are all apart of this basic human experience as well. No longer are people just words on a screen, empty stories in the present, a shadow of their true lives projected from a seemingly hollow shell.
With this contentedness and connection to our true selves we can begin to reach out to those around us in a truly loving and genuine manner. We can form relationships based on sincerity and mutual respect for other people while honoring their own private inner being; we can truly appreciate the bonds that we form in life. It can also bring us closer to whatever sense of spirituality or lack thereof that we personally hold, whether it be faith-based or simply reverence for the universe. For me, not being a person of religion, it offers a connection to more than just humanity but also to nature and the cosmos; a realization that we are all one in the macrocosm, and at the same time all unique in our ability to perceive and interact with the world around us on an individual level. It’s a fascinatingly lovely thought, at least for me.
If you made it this far I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to read my ramblings. If you have any ideas or thoughts relative to this or in disagreement, please feel free to comment; feedback is greatly welcomed.
As always, my love to you all,
A Half Broken Mind