Out of External
My identity was so fixed on external validation that when the validation wasn't there I collapsed in on myself. My entire identity was in the hands of external requirements and when all of those external needs disappeared I literally lost my mind. I didn't know what reality was and I didn't know what I was. We cannot rely on the external world to tell us who we are because it doesn't know and isn't supposed to know. It's our responsibility to know who we are and since we are constantly changing with the flow of nature the only real way to know who we are is through consistent action based on what our genuine curiosity, instincts, and energy pull us toward right now, even if we're scared.
Let's look at some simple examples that reveal the difference between living from our internal truth vs reacting out of fear. On the surface it may not look that different but internally it is a completely different experience.
Class Clown Archetype
Am I making a funny because I feel silly and spontaneous or am I making a funny because I'm afraid I'm not good enough without special effects?
Am I playing music because I love it or because I don't feel worthy without it?
Am I the leader of this team because I care and give the most or because I don't feel worthy unless I'm in a position of power?
Cool Mysterious Archetype
Am I being reserved because I feel grounded and relaxed or am I being reserved because I'm afraid of being silly and spontaneous side?
Am I serving others because I really want to or am I serving others because I'm afraid they won't love me if I don't?
Worky Worky Archetype
Am I working hard because I love it or because I feel uncomfortable and unworthy when I stop?
Tough Guy Archetype
Am I being tough because I feel grounded in my strength or because I'm afraid of showing my soft side?
Information Guy Archetype
Am I saying information I remembered because I'm passionate about it or because it keeps me from opening up about true feelings?
Social Butterfly Archetype
Am I talking to everyone at the party because I genuinely care about them or because I need the social validation due to my fear of not being loved.
Am I alone because I enjoy solitude or because I'm afraid of how people perceive me?
Am I breaking the rules as a bi-product of my natural expression or to appear bad ass and get attention.
Super Nice Archetype
Am I being super nice because my heart is full of love or because I'm afraid of showing you my edge?
Super Beautified Archetype
Am I beautified to the max because I want to empower my sexy spirit or because I'm afraid of being perceived as ugly and unlovable?
Money Money Archetype
Do I have a lot of money because I work honestly and invest in what I believe in or because I sold my soul to the devil to avoid feeling unworthy?
Poor Guy Archetype
Am I poor because I don't need money to be happy or because I'm afraid of committing to bringing my value to the world?
Hyper Sexual Archetype
Am I having sex with numerous people because we share love, honesty, and respectful intimacy or because I need sexual validation to feel good enough?
You could go on all day with various archetypes and behaviours but usually our identity and primary forms of expression are developed to compensate for us being ashamed of the opposite. It's the cliche story of love vs fear. The great part is that it's completely human to act out of fear and we don't need to guilt trip when we do.
Its completely human to want validation from people. We've evolved as a tribal creature and have developed psychological feedback mechanisms to guide us toward being accepted, safe, and valued in the social structure of the tribe. If we belong in the tribe we have a much better chance of surviving and thriving because what makes humans so powerful is our ability to agree on an idea, strategize, and work cooperatively to achieve large common goals. Goals like hunting, farming, building armies, spreading religious doctrine, collecting resources and slaughtering innocent people in the name of God and more resources. Okay I'm being gloomy. Often our cooperation leads to a better over-all well-being for everyone involved. Like when people serve others in the name of God or when our health care system saves a sick mommy because the science community developed a cure, or when organizations like the Alex Food Center fight to bring healthy, natural, communal eating back to society, or when GlobalFest throw a festival to celebrate cultural differences rather than fight about them, or when Movement With A Message goes school to school teaching the amazing gifts of courage and compassion.
Community cooperation is one of the most magical aspects of humanity so of course we want to fit in. It's 100% human to need validation from a tribe but after losing my mind I've realized there are healthy and unhealthy ways to get validation from the external world and it comes down to our values, our intentions, our actions, and our awareness. And probably a billion other things but I can only write this serious shit for so long before I worry that I'm boring you. I've been so back and forth with this blog like...
"It feels great to express my truth and it's the right thing to do. Its important for people to hear the perspective of how I fell apart and glued myself back together. Even if people don't enjoy it or get value out of this it just feels right to be open about it. I'm doing it!"
"Why are you writing this you phony? You still struggle with anxiety and depression so what makes you think your words mean anything? The fun parts are stupid and the serious parts are boring and obvious. No one is going to get any value from this especially since you're a faking hypocrite that can't even take his own advice. Give up, no one gives a shit anyway."
"This is coming along great and people are going to think you're so rad for being vulnerable with your story. Imagine if it blew up and people all over the world were reading it and talk shows started asking you to come on and conferences started hiring you to speak and you got rich as fuck. Dude people are going to love this and love you for it. Make sure you write it in a way that appeals to as many people as possible. Fame! Riches! Power! Muahaha!"
"Relax. Even though I'm going a bit crazy through this process and reflecting back on the darkest period of my life it feels like the right thing to do. I'm not going to let my thoughts scare me away from this and I'm not going to worry about how it's received. It has to happen and I'm doing it."
This conversation has been happening in my head this entire process. The dance of love and fear. The dance of spirit and ego. The dance of values, intentions, actions, and awareness. It never ends and never will.
Continue reading the "Mental Breakdown" series.