Sunday 27 January 2013

A1: S13 - You ARE Amazing

I think possibly my greatest flaw yet equally my greatest attribute, is the fact that I am firm in the belief that I am amazing.

One thing I've noticed throughout my life and the various social circles I've been in and involved with, is that I have an innate ability to make people dislike me. Full on Marmite syndrome. From what I can tell, the reason behind this is because people who don't know me very well think I am pretentious as hell, unbearably vain and unashamedly arrogant in pretty much every aspect of myself, my appearance and my abilities like I'm god's gift to the planet. It's frustrating. Because I feel there is such a clear distinction between being arrogant and big-headed, and thinking yourself to be amazing.

I suppose I can see why people think I'm like that - I can be over the top a lot of the time and I'm not blessed with the virtue of modesty, hell, I'm writing this on a blog dedicated to just talking about myself. Can't really get more self-centered than that.

But for people to think I see myself as 'god's gift' and what not, is not only ridiculous, it is also so wrong that it's almost tragically hilarious - geez, if this blog shows anything, surely it reveals that I am one messed up person, plagued by insecurities and issues. But yet, at the same time, I believe that there are things which people shouldn't force themselves to be modest about, just so they don't seem like a dick. I don't think I'm god's gift to the world, but I don't think I'm worthless either.

There is middle ground.

 It is possible to be humble and appreciate yourself as much as you appreciate others and the world around you, without being arrogant. So what if sometimes when you look in the mirror you don't actually hate yourself, or every now and then you feel a little bit of pride at something you've created? It seems like people have a natural propensity to hate on those people who don't actually think they are shit.

Ever since I was a child, I've felt such a strong sense of individuality and the joy of doing things on my own, that I rarely have the opportunity or desire to let others in too close, especially in romantic terms. I guess that makes me pretty selfish. In fact when I do, I feel that is when I begin to lose sight of myself, my goals, my dreams and my future. It's just not something that I need right now in my life. The best quote to sum this up I'd say, is from Sex and the City's Samantha Jones; "I love you... I just love me more." (but that goes waaaay into the relationship rant which I must save for another day.)

I feel that I am dedicated and so determined to make the most out of my life and to be successful in my endeavors,  that it inevitably makes me selfish. I guess if you think about it, following your dreams is a selfish act, but not selfish in a negative way. The words selfish and self-centered have become derogatory terms, but if you think about what they really mean, it isn't negative at all. It's about taking control of your own life and destiny and choosing to do what you want to do.

And in this sense, 'selfish' means choosing to be the best 'self' you can be. In psychology it's called an Internal Locus of Control - "Individuals with a high internal locus of control believe that events in their life derive primarily from their own actions."

In a similar vein, I have a habit of observing and writing about the world as if it solely forms around me, its pivotal inhabitant. I was always confused as a child when my parents would shout at me, 'The world doesn't revolve around you, Katie!' Because actually, it definitely, irrevocably does. In the same way that you reading this right now, to you, the world revolves around you. And the next person, their world revolves around them.

Of course the world revolves around you, you're the only person who is actually living it. Yours are the only thoughts you hear, yours are the only situations you experience, yours is the only life you lead and know every detail of - who is to say that anyone aside from you even exists outside the immediate presence of yourself?
I like to imagine it like a play. This play follows the protagonist who is on-stage constantly, so you know all about their lives and see everything they do. Then there are the minor characters and extras who interact with the main story intermittently, dropping in and out. As soon as the actors playing these character step off stage, the character instantly ceases to exist. Only when their time comes to interact with the story again, does that character spring back in to life as they come on stage. I suppose that could be seen negatively or positively. In a negative way I guess it's a lonely way of thinking - everyone but you is just a character in your play. But then in a positive way, you can choose to let people become main characters, and create a life, create a new play with them. And when it comes to trivial problems, people causing you trouble or things that try to hold it back, you can turn and see just how irrelevant they are to the main storyline of how you are planning your play and your life to go, and you can say to yourself, 'You know what? They're nothing but extras.'

It's evidently a flaw because this doesn't exactly make you the most likable person. Also in personal terms, the disadvantages of thinking you're amazing emerge in situations for example, when you are proved wrong and cannot handle it, or when someone comes along who you think is more amazing than you, and it knocks you completely out of kilter.

That sucks, but at the same time, it's the kick of reality that you need, to stop you from being completely lost in delusions of grandeur, gallivanting off thinking you're in The Truman Show and that you can puppeteer the people around you. You might be amazing, but there's undoubtedly going to be someone out there who is more amazing than you, and that's sure as hell to bitch-slap you back to reality.

Now I know this is going to sound like painfully pretentious self-help book crap again, but when a situation like that arises, I think it's important to remember that this more amazing person can swan off and take their amazing amazingness and do whatever, wherever. Does that affect your life in any way apart from making you feel a bit shitty for a bit? Even though they're amazing, aren't they still just an extra? Does that mean that you should just give up and settle for mediocrity because 'whats the point in trying to be the best'? Hell no! You grit your teeth and you work ten times harder to be the most successful, badass son of a bitch you possibly can be.

I used to joke with Harry that the only reason I'd ever eventually become successful is from a constant string of one-upmanship over my past loves. Mr X is famous and now him and I are nothing? Well hot damn, the only thing left to do surely is to become more famous and successful than him, and one day he'll consider himself the lucky one.

So this is why I think being totally selfish and completely in love with yourself is nothing but a good thing. Because thinking you're amazing means you do everything you can to become the best person you could possibly be. You pursue all curiosities and education, craving intelligence and experience as if on some path to divine enlightenment. You push yourself to excel in every task or skill you set your mind to, and will not rest until you feel proud of what you have achieved in anything you do.

You understand yourself as a unique and sentient being which has defied such great odds to be stood on this planet, that to have no destiny or purpose here would be the only impossible odd. You feel the desire to cherish every single day as it comes, and every single person you meet and interaction you have, and to never take for granted yourself, your life, or the chances and opportunities that are created for you. You become passionate about life, your friends, your family and you treat the world as if it has been gifted for you, and just you, to create beauty with.

It’s you. You feel the full responsibility of using your life to change the world for the better, and to leave a lasting legacy that will forever change the way the future will happen. Don't let yourself be forgotten. You've got one chance to do something, why let yourself become just another name in a census, a forgotten photograph in an old family album?

I've come to realise that life is too goddamn short to waste your time worrying that other people will think you're a dick and hate you for trying to be successful. I'm not going to be afraid of standing up and throwing my hands in the air, shouting "Hooray for not being shit!" because, to be honest, although it sounds like a major cliche, when people start hating on you, it's usually a sign that you're doing something right. Hate is the first bitter resort of the envious.

I do see the irony in what I'm saying here, all this talk about being self-righteous and pretentious is totally self-righteous and pretentious, but I just don't think people should be ashamed to be proud of themselves. I guess I just think perhaps the world would be a greater place, if more people realised just how amazing they actually are.