No good deed goes unpunished. I was reminded of this in recent days when the bitterness of a self-loathing human distracted me from what is important about life. It’s not the bitterness that was jarring. It’s the intensity, and the immensity of the self-loathing that has become the battle cry of too many that jarred me most.
The delusion that doing good attracts goodness adds to the mind-numbing effort of being human. We don’t attract what we do or what we give, we attract those who are most in need of what we’re offering.
That’s why the vapid seek the wholesome.
The weak seek the strong.
The self-loathing seek the grateful.
And the cursed seek the blessed.
But the twist is a terrible one. Just because you’re self-loathing doesn’t mean that you’re not blessed. It just means that you will not see in yourself what others see in you.
It’s easy to lose yourself to the bitterness of a world full of ingrates disguised as humans parading as the wounded selfless ones. But in that lies the clue to recognise the twist of that dagger of self-loathing before it is inserted into your tender flesh.
The selfless, the truly selfless, never parade.
The ones who wear their heart on their sleeves, their struggle on banners of goodness and humility, and their inaction as a claim to exhaustion from their reality are the ones who are ungrateful for who they are and what they have. That’s why they look for validation for what they parade in sometimes subtle tones, but most often in blatant distortions of their reality.
Naivety is the knife that you drive into your own gut when you trust blindly, serve loyally without question or wisdom, and when you surrender who you are for who you believe you must be.
Joy is ephemeral when not shared. It becomes a fleeting moment celebrated privately when what we honour comes to pass, but is just as quickly set aside because it doesn’t really matter if we don’t matter. It is this core of being human that turns our humanness into a frailty that is exploited by the self-loathing.
Self-loathing is born from our assumption that we are incapable of what is needed to earn affection or inclusion. Such an assumption demands that we must present our best case to defend our pitiful state before others see us as pitiful or lacking. That’s when our struggle grows to define us. That’s when we need everyone to revere our struggle and not dare to advise us to rise above it because rising above it becomes a threat to our sense of self.
If we don’t recognise the self-loathing in others, we’ll exhaust ourselves to the point of depletion in our efforts to be enough for them, or to inspire them to be better, or to believe in them until they begin to believe in themselves, while never holding them accountable for their ingratitude for everything that the have, and all that they are.
If we don’t recognise the self-loathing in others, we’ll assume that they’re victims of life, while losing sight of the victims of their carnage as they go through life taking from everyone but always having reason not to reciprocate in equal measure. That’s how a healthy self-esteem in one who is sincere in uplifting another can easily be exchanged for crippling self-doubt after struggling to understand why we may never be enough for one who seems so full of potential if only…If only they see themselves the way that we see them.
Self-loathing doesn’t create space for such realisation because self-loathing is the abdication of accountability for who we choose to be. Without accountability, there can be no healthy self-esteem because we need accountability to take a stand for what we stand for before we will ever experience the self-respect that results from standing for something that we believe to be important, rather than chasing things that make us important to others.
Self-loathing is the ultimate barometer of gratitude, or more accurately, ingratitude. If we can’t be grateful for who we are, how can we possibly be grateful towards others for what they do? We cannot give what we don’t have. Which means that we can only give what we have. That is how our behaviour, when understood clearly, reflects the light or the darkness that we court within.