“I desire the things which will destroy me in the end.”
“All sins are attempts to fill voids.”
Well. We all know at least one person who is always trying too hard. Or maybe they always seem to be overcompensating for something. Or even that they know they are ‘not as good as’ and spend far too much time trying to convince everyone they are at least better than maybe we know they are at something.
We like these people because we like the overall sense that someone is dissatisfied with the present person and seeking a better person.
We don’t like these people because we don’t like the overall sense of desperation and the trappings that often come with it.
We look at these people and … well … we think about ourselves and the crazy shit we do.
Let’s face it. Life makes us do a lot of crazy shit.
Okay. It doesn’t actually “make” us. It just full-throatedly encourages us to do some crazy shit.
It does so because it makes us desire a shitload of things that can chip away at the better version of ourselves. And by a better version, I don’t mean external stuff but internal stuff … soul, integrity & character. But life has a nasty habit of encouraging us to think more about external stuff than internal stuff.
The size of your bank account.
How you look and what you wear and whether you sport Gap or Brooks Brothers.
The size of your house and whether you have gold drapes or Pier1 window hangings.
This kind of crap can screw you up let alone destroy you. You can get so caught up in what Life is whispering in your ear as what is important over time that is all you can hear and see.
Life becomes almost a parody of itself.
‘Less is more’ becomes the mantra of everything but to you, personally, where ‘more’ just seems to look less & less. Life can twist you into a pretzel trying to match up with all the external trappings of what it suggests you should desire. And as you get twisted all it really does is squeeze out character & integrity & principles drop by drop as Life twists harder and harder.
And as you get this squeezed out of you, well, you will naturally get thirsty. Therein lies the big Life choice … what do you drink?
What do I mean?
Remember that kid you knew growing up who was always the bully, always the exaggerator, always the one trying so hard to show everyone how great they were? Well. At some point, they realize that they are thirsty. Either thirsty for more or thirsty for what is getting squeezed out of them.
Now. That said. Don’t think Life is standing by silently. All the while Life will whisper sweet nothings in that kid’s ear telling them what to drink to stay on their path to a ‘better person’.
Look. At some point, we all get thirsty, even that young bully, and your Life gets energized by what you choose to drink.
What I do know is that almost all of us end up being constantly nudged to believe we neither have enough nor are we enough.
And it is within those ‘not enough’ spaces, the voids if you wish to call them, in which we commit our gravest sins.
We commit our sins most often as we overreach.
Okay. We are tempted to overreach — in our words, our resumes, our successes, even our recaps of our ‘what we did today’ lists.
Some overreach more than others, but we all get tempted. And, just as I noted above, it is explainable and understandable. When Life is trying to constantly tell you ‘not enough’ you will constantly be trying to showcase ‘more than enough.’ That is a natural response.
And this is where people separate themselves into two basic generalized groups:
those who define how they matter by an internal balance sheet
those who define how they matter by an external balance sheet.
I am not suggesting it has to be 100%, internal or external, because most of us figure out how to commit a few ‘sins’ as possible and try and manage what they desire in a way they don’t ultimately get destroyed by their desires. Most of us figure out our ‘best version’ is pretty good … maybe less than some but more than others.
“And so we all matter – maybe less than a lot, but always more than some.”
But some people truly do end up in the 100% column.
It is quite possible someone like the Pope is close to the internal 100% judgment, but I imagine a lot of people actually slide close to this Life self-framing. It comes with some external expenses, but a shitload of people are willing to sacrifice those things because they know the gold curtains fade, the money can be lost and the houses can burn down. External trappings can only provide so much comfort.
On the end of the spectrum are the hollow people. They look glitzy. They sound confident. They have all the trappings of success. But their sacrifice is whatever internal compass that can guide goodness or true fairness as well as empathy & compassion. They have sacrificed counting internal cues … because external cues are all that count. All the while they are trying too hard, seem to be overcompensating for something and spending a shitload of time trying to convince everyone they are at least better than maybe we know they are at something. They fill their spaces with sins and laud them as virtues.
All that said. We all know at least one person who is always trying too hard.
This is the person who desires the things which will destroy me in the end.
This is the person whose sins are attempts to fill voids.
This is the person we know, & often wish we could change but is quite possibly the most unchangeable person we know.
We all have voids.
We just need to be very very careful that what we fill that void with doesn’t destroy us in the end.
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This post was previously published on Enlightened COnflict and is republished with the permission of the author.
Photo courtesy Pixabay.