The Paradox of Self

Belonging is the very essence of the human condition, making meaningful relationships become so because they are intricately interwoven through points of connection. While we strive to be so intertwined, we also challenge ourselves with the concept of how much is the right amount to devote to these relationships in hopes of maintaining our own self-identity.
Changes arise in our lives that threaten to pull us apart so it seems easier to only rely on ourselves to achieve happiness. Change, according to Buddhist theory is the one thing, and perhaps the only thing, we can truly rely on. Change is the challenging constant we have to endure and when it arises we can step up and adapt or we fail to adjust accordingly and we decay with it. So if we can only rely on change, why would we ever rely on our relationships?

Dealing with change is easier when we face it independently. As an individual we can be selfish and deal with change as we see fit. We can decide how or how not to overcome on our own circumstances. But by being human by nature we aim to be connected which inevitably causes confusion with the changes that come. There is a greater challenge in change when you’re in a relationship because of the two separate identities that are tied together and expected to adjust accordingly in synchronized fashion. But if you do succeed, you can be sure that the growth you will experience together will be the most beneficial of its kind. 

Change is the ultimate developmental challenge for human beings. Relationships that are simply bearable won’t enhance and flourish our livelihood. Understanding the needs of the people in our lives allows us to successfully withstand the odds that are stacked against us. These connections work in harmony to exceed all expectations and weather the toughest challenges. They improve our lives and enhance our sense of being. They aren’t just consistent, but consistently fulfilling.

I’ve been told I’m a serial lover. I love to be in love with people and places and stories and things. And this wasn’t directed to me in haste. It was out of affection and admiration for my ability to be lost in the endless potential of being connected to things outside of myself. Thus cultivates my ability to put so much faith in others. Some part of me will always depend on others for happiness and although this may be “exhilarating and progressive” at times, I find myself struggling to have my expectations filled. I feel no shame in my desire to rely on others to create some of my happiness because I truly believe that those I choose to connect with to this degree should be looking out for my happiness in return, creating a balance between us. So although this is outside of my control, I trust that eventually it should all even out in the end. 

In an ideal relationship (romantic and platonic) the participants are selfless, trusting, understanding and giving. And they are capable of being so because each participant has each other’s welfare in mind. These relationships don’t take away from our individuality or self concept but enhance it.

On this blog, I encourage the idea of self-happiness and creating your own path of positivity, yet I find my own heart and mind to waiver at my own weakness. I can’t seem to find myself outside of my love for others. And with this realization I find my fault. How can someone be so selfish and selfless at the same time? How can this idea be both the best and worst thing for my sanity? 

Or maybe this is why people inheritantly choose to put themselves as the center of their universe. Because it’s their universe and it’s much easier to rely on ourselves to be the sun and the moon and the stars.  

And here in all of these words, lays my paradox of self. Wanting to give and receive. The will to be independent and self-reliant while finding most of my own self-satisfaction and happiness in human connection. I ask myself these questions as I contemplate my very human condition:

  • What creates the true essence of all experience?
  • What kind of self am I to be so dependent on others?
  • Who’s in control here? Why is there someone in control?
  • Why do I chase a life of connection when the effort it takes to stay connected only seems to hinder on my self-assurance?
  • Does love impede on our ideology of self or enhance it?
  • Does change enrich our experience or hinder it?