Friday, December 10, 2010

Egocentrism or Survival?

What drives us as individuals?  Is it the need to support a family yet have enough to enjoy your life when our children grow up and move away?  Is it a natural survival?  Is it egocentrically focused to have more than another? 

The last two years, I've been observing more egocentrism than I ever have in my life.  I began to wonder how one moves to another?  Common decent working folks or those who survive doing the best they can, and then the egocentric maniacs.  What happens? 

Most of us are taught to seek those goals and grab them.  Seek out better.  Make higher wages.  We are driven to do better.  Some of us are taught, always do your best, so our goal is to always do our best no matter what our situation is.  A dear friend told me her father was doing the very best he could to support his family.  He had to take a job sweeping the street.  Rather than be humiliated, he went and swept those streets and was the best at it.  Take pride in what you do no matter what it is.

As widows/widowers, many of us struggle to just keep on going.  We are doing our best, and then through other people's perspectives, we're not doing enough.  We are failing because we are doing "life" wrong. Have you noticed most of them having this perspective are not widow's or widowers?  Keep this in mind when you are thought of as a screw up.  Look at the source, betcha they haven't been there done that yet like we are.  We are all so different, but when someone is trying, and that thing called "life" doesn't go the way it is supposed to, how can we be held responsible.  Learning takes awhile when you've lost everything in your life because you have to begin again.

We go through life just surviving doing the very best we can.  We were taught to do the best you can no matter what.   Some of us, at one time, raised families and when life was supposed to finally focus on each other, our significant other passes on.   Too soon it seems because your still very young, yet, for females, we aren't.  At this age I'm talking mere forties, we are "spent" in societies eyes.  It isn't as easy to start over.  Yet we know we have value and we have far more life.  Life was just going to begin in a new way. 

Depending on the situation, we may be set up financially or we may be absolutely extinguished.  We may be the type where no matter how hard we try, we are stuck in survival mode.  We're exhausted, spiritually drained and feel completely demoralized.  We are nothing but shadowy wisps walking in this life's realm trying to pay that next bill or where we will lay our heads to sleep.  We go around corners not looking because we really don't want to know.  I mean one knows its probably not going to be something that will bring us joy, but what if it is?  We are constantly told not to lose hope.  What if our happiness is just around that corner?  So, we go around that corner, again, and what is there, is there.

What exactly happens that turns all this into egocentric demands on ourselves?

When I lived with my grandparents I was always told, "Never mind what the Jone's have.  If you always want what the Jone's have and try to keep up with them, you will be forever tangled working on demands you will never be able to fulfill.  You'll be greedy and jealous.  Someone will always have something you don't."

I believe falling for "trying to keep up with the Jone's next door" is a good definition for egocentric behaviors.   Egocentrism at its finest not only hurts your personal spirituality, but also will hurt those you ruthlessly expire just to get what the Jone's have.  Including your loved ones.  The Jone's drive up in new cars, go on vacations, flaunt their properties, laugh, are happy, it just continues on.  Now, see, this is what happens when we try to keep up with the Jones.  That is what we "see."  We have just under-dogged ourselves.

I drive around and see the beautiful Christmas lights on the houses.  Oh so pretty.  Then pull up to my humble, quiet humble, broken, in disarray, disheveled yard, old fence and dark abode.  I sit in the car, not a nice one, but it gets me around and think, I want  lights too. 

Wow, there I go.  I just under-dogged myself when I really am trying to just survive.  In reality they don't do it to show off, they want the lights to be enjoyed!  I actually go and drive around and look at the lights.  Of course I want lights, who wouldn't want something pretty that everyone is enjoying?!!  Yes, of course it's showing off, but some are truly sincere and want to cheer folks up and remind them its Christmas.
  • If I bought a string of lights for outside the house...electricity bill?  Don't need more problems.
  • Am I going to be happy after I get that string of lights?  Knowing the repercussions of the lights?
  • When I pull up, in my working but needs help car, will I be happier because those lights I had to buy causes me financial stress at a time when all bill collectors are at their most aggressive?
  • Now I'm worried about the car too?
No, my grandparents were right and very wise.  A person fixated on having what someone else has will go to any extremes to get what they want.  It won't stop at one, the list will only grow.   If you think about it, we can unknowingly cause ourselves subjugation to egocentric behavior.  We'll not only hurt ourselves but others too cause we don't care if we hurt others including our loved ones.  We want what those other people have because we want to be happy too and that is supposed to cause our happiness.  We're sad.  We've lost everything and no matter how hard we try, its not going to be the same.  Our spirit and heart anguish for a moment, just a brief moment, of hope and happiness. 

Well here it is:
  • From material found, along with thread and needle, I am able to create some gifts and not just for Christmas.  Maybe I can sell some of the items.  
  • I do have lights, and lights that will not cost so much.  Candles!  They are called going to the local second hand store or dollar store and buying some very cheap votives.  Turn off all the have a warm glow of home.  You have light.
  • More items found and guess what, you may be able to create other items, that will eventually give back a little something.  If not in monetary importance, the importance of giving this to someone who is having a hard time like you.  You too can cheer a person up and give hope.
So yep, I'm poor, live in a very old trailer needing repairs, typing on a computer that is not mine, on the very edge up giving up and just leaving and living in the car.  But I think about it and for another few days I will realize how very blessed I am right now.  I can reduce thinking about how I am going to pay those collectors, I want them paid, but I can't bleed money.  Taking the time to do something crafty, artsy, or plain imaginative lumps of whatever, I can decrease my stress even for a little bit.  It'll give me hope and happiness no matter how small.  It might be a gift, it might be worth a few dollars and it will give me a purpose.  The stress will be somewhat relieved.  Best of all, I am not fixating on what I do not have!  The under-dogging has decreased and actually much improvement, no matter how small, will start shining through.

Please don't let the holidays get to you this year my friends.  Lets make a new start and challenge ourselves.  Society may see us as "spent" but we don't have to obligate to change our name to Jones.  Those of us who have had everything taken leaving us feeling demoralized and in shock have to start over.  This means learning.  We may be learning over, but lets try to learn right and be a support to each other.  Those of you who get A's please tutor those of us receiving lower!  Lets not fall prey to egocentrism yet celebrate survival.

12 more days to get this stuff done.  Count down has began.  We will survive!



  1. Excellent thoughts here. Why is it such human nature to want what we can't have? What in-bred nature makes us think it's those things that will make us happy? Like you, I wasn't left well-off and taken care of after losing my hubby. Had to sell my home, downsize so dramatically it was unreal,move twice and then lose most everything in a house fire. But, the one thing it taught me is that maybe I had too much before....and to be content with what I have. I find absolutely no shame in finding what I want at this or that thrift fact, I've started bragging about the bargains I'm finding.

    I'm not saying that I don't wonder about the lights that others have up...and would it make me happy? Like you, I've always loved the look and ambiance of Christmas lights...but it's still just too much effort to get them out, put them up and then take them down again. Heck, I can barely find the energy to dust or run the vacuum. Who's just me and the dog! :) Some day we may find that "contentment" again but I'm not really sure that we'll ever find the joy. What say you?


  2. I suppose it all depends on what we perceive as joy. Just as we've learned to appreciate that which we do have and be thankful, and then surviving to pay that bill or get a new bargain item, its all about our perspective now.

    I think for some of us it has changed. Why can't we change our perspective to find some type of joy? In simple things. Like when someone is having a real bad day and you actually get a smile from them. I think that is a type of joy! I bet there are more if we just think about it!

  3. Amen, my dear.....I've often done just that....strive to make the cashier smile when you know she's having a bad day, hold a door for someone, give them your place in line, whatever it might be at the moment. I'm planning to put on my thinking cap and find some more of the joys we can bring ourselves. After all, if we don't do it, no one will...:-)

    Big hugs & Merry Christmas,


  4. I am getting bitter and have never been bitter, because my children have been doing their thing, and some have "hit me up" for money when they should be able to shoulder their own responsibilities. Also, one, keeps telling me everything I've done wrong as a mother over and over. I'm sure I am worth more to them dead than alive. This is why I am bitter. Any thoughts?

  5. Ouch. Know the feeling personally. Let them know when they say that, it hurts you. They lost a father and you understand that pain, but, you lost your husband throwing you for a loop. As for the borrow thing...I finally gave money to the last kid and looked right at him saying, You have now made me feel completely useless as a human. It rips my heart out you ask me for money or promise to help with the checklist of house maintenance and just go away just to come back and beg again.

    Believe it or not, it will get better, but you have to stick up for you. Put some boundaries down. Just the past few months every time my children say something that hurts, I let them know it hurts and I'd rather not deal with it until I am ready. Drives them nuts, but you have that right.


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