Friday evening, boredom ensues.
What to do? Call up a friend and get out of the house? Or endure a quiet night at home? I am nowhere near a mood to be around people, and I’ve even hung out with friends several times this past week, so I suppose I’ll just stay home tonight. Because that’s what I should do, and I don’t deserve to do anything else.
I believe in control and punishment; the practice of which would help maintain a sense of stability eve in the most intense predicaments.
Experience has taught me that rash and impulsive decisions never come without consequences—specifically, decisions made while under the influence of mental distress and a sense of urgency. Purely emotionally-driven behavior will result in nothing more than products of sheer stupidity in the long run, because intense emotions tend to skewer any sense of rationality. Undoubtedly, many could agree that it can be difficult to think outside of certain situations and make the most efficient choices sometimes when the need to satisfy oneself now seems to be the only priority.
Though to say that one’s teenage years are some of the most difficult times would be seemingly lame and juvenile, I’d have to agree with it. We are constantly placed in situations where we’re too young to take control and responsibility and resolve things ourselves, yet we’re too old to rely on the dependency of others. It’s aggravating how most predicaments won’t even begin to start improving until several years in the future, and in times like these, the most important value we should hold onto is patience. Enfeebled by feelings of powerlessness, we are stuck grasping for stability, hoping that we’ll be able to find something we have control over.
Though there are countless instances where I am left feeling absolutely weak and helpless, there is one thing I have control over: myself.
I can control how I conduct myself around others, how I approach certain perspectives, make my own personal decisions, and ultimately decide what’s best for myself.
Seems a bit haughty? I must admit that it does.
I must confess that one of my biggest flaws is my pride. It’s easy for me to come off as annoyingly arrogant, almost egotistical at times. Somehow I actually have the nerve to look upon an unfortunate someone, pity them, and value my needs above theirs, disregarding their pains as nothing more than silly, juvenile, unnecessary conflict. Sometimes I tend to derive my own sense of personal worth from the simple fact that I might be better at something than someone else. Soon, that atrocious excuse for dignity becomes an envenoming smugness, and I’m left infected with overconfidence. Perhaps I’m infatuated with selfishness, or maybe it’s just a part of human nature. One could see such behavior as the consequences of pride and egotism, and maybe in another world it could be seen as a natural instinct for humans to be so seemingly selfish, but no matter how generous or caring a person might be, he must always remove the log from his own eye before removing the splinter from his brother’s.
I never knew it would be to disgust myself.
So how do I learn to tolerate it? How can I even stand myself, knowing that I have the capability of being such an ill-intentioned person? Better yet, how can I restrain myself from letting my pretentious fronts take over?
Control and punishment.
Wake up feeling like you’re absolutely nothing, no one at all, and maybe you’ll learn to cherish what the world offers and not beg for more. Tell yourself—no, convince yourself—that you’re worthless, that any attempts to fulfill yourself are pointless gestures that only end up in remorse, that you should just shut up and keep quiet all of the time because in the end, no one is going to care; they only important thing is if you care, because they aren’t going to be there for you all of the time.
Hold the ones you love closely, but keep them at a safe distance.
It’s okay to indulge in leisure sometimes, just don’t make a habit of it. Constantly squandering your days with wasteful, meaningless activities will prove to not only be an utter waste of time, but you’ll also find yourself even less productive, less thoughtful, less passionate than you were before.
Because people are the most productive when they’re suffering. When they can’t seem to find motivation, they can also strive to overcome their challenges.
At least that’s what I tell myself.
I have control over me. I can whatever it is I want to myself, and my only justification will be that I deserve it. Reward myself for accomplishing goals; punishing myself for making the same stupid mistakes. It’s how I learn to fully control myself.
I never said it was healthy.
But it’s how I let myself know that there’s something I actually have influence over.
I know it’s not the best way to handle things, and for the most part, I don’t care what I may do to myself, because knowing that I have control over something seems to allow me to disregard any consequences.
Because living in a world where the exchange of chaos, conflict, and strife seem to dark even the brightest of hopes, being in control can be the best feeling.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.