Fighting with Yourself

I think most people struggle with living with who they are. We are brought up to believe that we should be good people, striving to help others and participate in society in the way that everyone else seems to. For some people, this comes quite easily and they are able to set aside their selfish tendencies, at least to the level where they can cope with others in a meaningful way. People like me, however, will always struggle with the balance of needing to be with others while also having a fervent desire to be apart from the inevitable chaos that results from including other people in your life.

It is this paradox that has plagued my life from the first days I struck out on my own. No matter where I’ve gone or what I’ve experienced, I will never get away from the burning desire to quiet the noise around me and find peace. Perhaps it’s because my own inner monologue never seems to stop, and I find myself forever looking for ways to distract myself from it. Video games have always been a go to for that kind of thing, focusing my attention on a singular objective and avoiding the chaos that rages in my own mind.

The unfortunate part that the people most important to me always seem to suffer as a result of these flaws in who I am. No matter how much I might care for the people I love, there is an almost unshakable desire to maintain control of my environment, to push back the chaos that results when you add variables like other people to the equation. It is they who end up suffering as I continue to try to shape them to how I want them to be, my prideful impatience with the ways of others stomping on their spirit until they stop caring anymore and leave.

No prophecy is more powerful than the one you create for yourself, and my inability to get control over my need for control simply accentuates how much of an illusion control is in the first place. I might find a way to get some level of peace, perhaps for a short while or even for several years, but in the end life will always find a way to intrude on my sanctuary and throw things back into chaos. There is no escaping it, and throwing away all of the good things in life trying to hold onto this fake sense of control makes absolutely no sense.

Understanding and doing are two different things, however, as many times it’s easy to understand what you should be doing and far more difficult to convince yourself to do it. There is a reason why evil is so prevalent in the world: it’s just easier to do it that way. Our nature is to find the path of least resistance, and without some strong motivation to do otherwise we will almost always default to that instinctive way of doing things. It is one of the reasons we take so long to change; the effort involved many times just isn’t worth the effort.

This leaves me in a quandary. On the one hand I have the knowledge that keeping to myself isn’t a workable long term solution, but on the other I have the unquenchable desire to avoid the chaos that comes with leaving my safe little sanctuary. Many people would tell me to lean on others, but I’ve rarely had good experiences with that, which makes it all the harder to convince myself to change anything. Like most paradoxes, there is no clear solution. It’s a risk, just like everything else in our chaotic little lives.

For someone like me, all I can really do is hope for some true understanding from those people most important to me while I do my best to find whatever middle ground I can. Some will understand and others will not, but I suppose the people who really care will always find a way to set aside the bad parts of me to see what I have to offer. Those who can’t likely didn’t really care in the first place. That doesn’t absolve me of a need to change, but most things are a two way street: I need to change, but others need to understand me as well.

It is a delicate balance, I suppose, trying to set aside a terrible impulse while understanding you can’t live with totally abandoning it. There will always be a strong desire for the peace that comes from solitude, but human beings aren’t designed to be on their own and I can’t stay in that space forever. I want the things that come from having loved ones in my life, and that means stepping out from the sanctuary as often as I can manage it to maintain those relationships. Though I might wish I could have it both ways, it just doesn’t work like that. You have to occasionally leave the cave to find your sustenance.

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