Understanding Personal Perceptions and Judgements a Model Towards Unity

Have you ever lived your life with the recognition that being special or worthy will somehow make things better? We have thoughts of grandeur or likeability that can be healthy but depending on the place they’re coming from they can also be toxic to our hearts and souls. Our ego is the voice within us that desires self-destruction and self-sabotage. It is the mind’s way of building dissociative walls that create identities that don’t really align with our common values. When we live our lives this way we’re essentially experiencing cognitive dissonance, this cognitive dissonance creates a wall of separation that disables us from authentically connecting with others.

When we’re living our lives through ego sometimes it can feel like we’re unconsciously walking through life. I know that when I am living in my ego it is usually when I am feeling the most tension and judgment towards others. Typically, my ego takes the shape of little thoughts about my environment and people within my environment.  These thoughts perpetuate negativity within myself and the perception of negativity within others. When I am not living my life in present awareness and appreciation of myself, I tend to think about my life from a negative point of view. I experience what is called, “cognitive distortions,” and it can be as simple as the following:

“Wow, those shoes are really nice. I bet that she has a lot of family money and she didn’t actually have to work for that.”

When we look at these unconscious thoughts they seem harmless at first, right? However, without taking control and looking deeper at what they actually mean about our own self-esteem these thoughts can lead to a lot of damage in our personal lives.

The point is when we’re looking at others and judging them, we’re ultimately judging at ourselves. Because the truth is, I wanted those shoes, and I was judging myself for not being able to purchase the shoes for myself.  That is why practicing forgiveness is one of the most important steps in transforming your heart for good.

Cognitive distortions are some of the most prominent and realistic psychological manifestations we have. Negativity is real and not to sound like a complete and total hippy but our “vibes” are made of these distortions. So, we have a choice to choose between love and hate. We have a choice to stop judging others for the sake of loving ourselves. When we have the capability to drop our ego and realize every single person is the same ball of energy light and love we’re ultimately able to finally see ourselves for the truth.

Getting Rid of My Ego & Being Like a Tree

Getting rid of my ego is such a struggle because I have a deep innate desire to be special and be seen as someone special. Just like everyone, I want to be liked, loved and even adored but I recognize that the desire for those things are only reflections of deep insecurities I have about myself. By desiring to be special, seen and heard by other people – I am denying myself the opportunity to see myself and others for who they truly are. I have such an ingrained sense of wanting to feel superior. It honestly scares me sometimes… It is so scary, that when I catch myself deep within my ego, I pause, grab the nearest meditation or self-help book and take a deep look at what is happening.

The problem is the ego feeds off of fear. These fears are so deeply ingrained in our behavior since childhood that many times their tenacity seems permanent. These scares develop early on in childhood: Maybe, our fathers didn’t love us enough, we experienced trauma or our mothers abandoned us. The terrible pain we feel when this happens to us in childhood is so deep that it can crack us to our very core. Understanding our “cracks” or “wounds” is an important part of opening up our minds and bodies and experiencing the act of love. However, I know that I feel like this experience is a rollercoaster ride of mistake and acknowledgment of mistake and then mistake. I make so many mistakes, and I hurt people all the time because of my ego. My ego desires to hurt people because it feels like it is a protective mechanism designed to seek out and exploit others so it can feel good about its status or position in life.

However, I register when I am behaving this way. It is the hardest thing to admit to yourself, that you’re hurting other people in your life. And sometimes pain and hurt is an inevitable thing, but I think becoming aware of the ways we can behave that don’t hurt others is so important. Many times, I feel like when I am hurting another person it is because I unconsciously register that they might be hurting me. But that is the ego.

It is all the ego. It is what the ego wants. And I want to truly be like a tree that sits grounded and sturdy in nature desiring to only support the communities and eco-systems of those around it. My desire is to be like the tree and to love others the way the trees love others. Trees are the perfect metaphor for truth in this world. They’re sturdy, reliable, comforting and they feed and take care of themselves all while doing it. Being like the tree to me means not always having to be the prettiest or smartest, but to just be enough so that I can be shade for another person to rest their head under. Being like a tree to me means growing tall and allowing others to share in real authentic love and community. Being like a tree to me means always supporting someone even if they hurt me. Being like a tree to me means being resilient through floods and natural disasters that tear down communities and offering myself up in order to rebuild.

I think I’ll remain wild.

I don’t think I ever realized I was experiencing my reality below the line. I was clinging to the false hope that maybe my past would return to me. That my existence before would somehow show up. The existence where I didn’t have so many secrets, so many haunted thoughts that reared their heads like summer in the middle of May. Isn’t it funny the ways seasons approach us? It is like one second you’re sitting on your sofa with the breeze of April blowing through the cracked windows and the next you’re cracking your windows just to breath. I wonder what it would be like to live somewhere where summers weren’t so hot and you were never drenched in sweat. But it wasn’t that I loved him. I mean I loved him like I loved the moon in a longing, sweet sort of way. It was more of an escape to an unknown world where I could live a deranged fantasy of thoughtlessness or suppression. Suppression of the consequences of my actions, like never making the mistakes I made before by covering them up with the promises and the hopes of true love. There really isn’t such a thing as true love. There are two souls, two people, melded together through brittle iron, lust and hate. At least, that is always how my love stories end up anyways. It is like a glass of wine half fun, a twinkled night full of hopeless gazing and slithering tinge of regret masked by nerves.

We live in a world that is dictated by factions and quadrants of socially convinced rules governed by who? Who are these governors and governesses and would they so dutifully show their heads and unravel their lavish fabrics that were threaded together by my grandmother’s thumbs? My feelings are prolific, they’re not weighted by the mounting pain of my thoughts and my mind. And I express and move freely, the way I move my mind to the slithering bite of my tongue. But back to my love story, it isn’t really a story. It is a fabricated fantasy pieced together by deleted text messages and dodged glances. Each fitting together like a shirt fit for a woman who hasn’t fully digested her lunch.

If I can make it past lunch tomorrow, I think I’ll buy myself a goat. I mean a whole farm of goats. I want like 100 goats. Why can’t 100 goats equate to one man? Why can’t one thoughtless, impatient, immoral animal equal another?

But what about women? Are we really that dispassionate of creature that our actions can be withered down to the passing of calculated responses that so manipulatively react off one another? Whatever happened to living in the goddamn moment? To feel your feelings for what they are and to present them authentically? Are we that presumptuous? But I think the problem is I am one big, giant walking red flag. And I guess that’s where my ghost stories play the foul to my academy award-winning performance of Paige on speed in the middle of an ally. I’m a flogging, drudged, spaztic verbal mistake – really I’m hella extra. But what if one man could make you feel that way? What does it mean to be fully open and present to all that you’re experiencing without hesitation? Couldn’t that be enough to end all strings of acquaintances that lace together like knots that are pulled out of thick of my thighs one dreaded knot at a time? I wish I could go back to the 90s, I always felt like I was born in the wrong time period. I always imagined scrunchies to look like the round, donut rainbow rings we stacked as children. Maybe, that is because to him, I am a child.

I am a Moral Masochist

I am a moral masochist.

According to the “Economic Problem of Masochism” (1942c), Freud describes moral masochism as the third form of masochism, next to feminine masochism and erotogenic masochism.  In moral masochism, the connection to an external object comes undone: “The suffering itself is what matters; whether it is decreed by someone who is loved or by someone who is indifferent is of no importance. It may even be caused by impersonal powers or circumstances; the true masochist always turns his cheek whenever he has a chance of receiving a blow” (p. 165).

Really, what I think Freud is getting at here is that I love the pain of my own moral imperatives. I love sleeping in the sheets of my own personal self-distractions and indifference for humanity. My core identity is self-embued in my own personal searching and longing to understand and know myself more. As Freud would say himself, “I’ve got one twisted super-ego.” That’s where the self-punishment comes into play. I am constantly evaluating my environment through the lens of a moral and intellectual stratosphere. I find deep pleasure from discovering insights about humanity and then sitting beneath my books and refraining from actually interacting with anyone.

Really, I think the motivation behind my elusive nature and inability to deeply and emotionally connect with anyone intimately is I want to do that with myself.

I am getting to the point in my life where I just want to be who I am. I want to read books about scientists and deep intellectual thinkers like Kafka, Tolstoy, Marx and Rachel Carson. I also really want to find art on a colossal level. I want to create giant pieces of art, and I am selfish and reluctant to share that experience with anyone else.

My super-ego has inflicted a weird form of isolated self-pleasure and self-exploration that I cannot say I’ve experienced in my life before. My experiences are distinct mechanisms to a response that I am not sure I am ready to understand quite yet.

I want to live underwater. I want to feel and express and be in the moment of my life with the plunging distractions of human expectations. Can I just get back to this experience? To this existential material of freedom.

paige swanson