Friday, March 20, 2009

I pledge myself to a life of struggle...

Recently I was talking to someone about how I use self-hatred to drive myself to correct problems. I think she thought I was joking, but I really wasn't. I reached a point with my general nutrition where I really was hating myself. I knew how I was consuming was counter-productive not just to training, but to my general health and happiness. Humming to myself and telling myself that I am on a peaceful path and am a gentle spirit in need of guidance was out, so I decided that self-loathing and shame were good options.
If you embark upon my two fold path of self-loathing and shame, you have to understand that it is a tool, and you have to understand what it is.
What is shame? I had this conversation with a group of people years ago. The general consensus was that shame was bad, and you should never be ashamed of pretty much anything. This kind of thinking to me is insane. There is a good reason for the things we feel. What kind of tool is shame? Unless you're just suffering from a psychological disorder, generally shame keeps you from doing things you know you are not supposed to be doing. However, if you simply push it away and declare shame is always bad, what is to stop you?
Many of us are driven by compulsions, and generally they are things that feel good, at least momentarily. After the act we may hate ourselves. If we push that hate away and try to demonize it, we may just fall back into that pattern. If we acknowledge that there is a valid reason to hate ourselves and accept it, we are more likely to correct it. Once we do, we become better, and the self-hatred falls away. Not because we wished it away, but because we have earned freedom from it.
My two fold path of self-loathing and shame leads to happiness. You have to go through hell to get to heaven. I went through my period of struggle, and now that I have acknowledged and corrected the problem I am much happier.
Many seem to have a sense of entitlement, that struggle is bad, that everything should be serene and peaceful. This isn't a bad idea, but the struggle continues whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.

"If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War."
-George Washington


  1. Great blog post! Too many people never want to acknowledge the "negative" emotions.

    Since it applies let me post the thing that really kicked me in the butt and got me active again after 3 years of complete inactivity post crushed hip.

    I have the following setup to play Gran Turismo Prologue on my my Playstation 3:

    A little less than a year ago when I first got this setup I started getting a sore back just from moving my fricking video game equipment around! How shameful is that!

    It kicked me into gear and I'm on a path that I might not have followed had my shame not driven me the way it did.

    So now you know that when I eventually hit a 500 lb. deadlift it will be so I can improve my abilities to play video games.

    By the may have wanted to name your dog Kettlebell but Max kind of looks like one. His temperament is way more Kettlenetic's than Dragondoor though (he's a huge sissy).

  2. It's chemistry. Some people are poisoned by city life and need to purge the toxins through hard exercise. Others are comforted by city life and are content to accumulate the toxins.

    While walking from the hotel to the Arnold, one guy asked me if I had any change. I didn't, and I told him so. I had about $400 on me, but I didn't have any change.

    Getting a job is not so hard, but many refuse to do it. Finishing college, getting a decent job, and then sticking with it for two decades is much harder, but it has its rewards.

    I feel a need to struggle toward objective rewards. I would take the rewards without the struggle, but it doesn't seem to happen that way.

  3. I know life is not unicorns, sunshine and rainbows. Life is hard, one of the basic tenants of Buddhism is to accept that life is indeed struggle. The path of the awakened soul is difficult because you see it all: the good and the bad they are one and the same. You can not separate one from the other, that is an illusion. Most people live the life of illusion seeing black or white only because it is easy. It is clear, simple. Me right and therefore good, you wrong and therefore bad, that's it.

    When I was in a state of self loathing, I was in a marriage that did not serve me. I stayed because it was simple. I ate too much to stuff the emotions further down. I smoked to pretend I was somewhere or someone else. It was just easier to not be present than to step up and live my life the way I knew I could. I was weak and that too me is the worst sort of self loathing.

    I have over the last few years been changing my approach to life. Taking on the path of the Buddhist Warrior. Seeing and knowing that life is struggle, taking on the challenge not because I hate myself but because I love myself that much. Not just myself, but humanity as a whole. I see now other people who are trapped in the same cycle of illusion that I was. I stay on my path and try to move deeper into it not just for my own benefit but as a beacon for them to see there is another way. You can be strong from the inside out. You can step up, face the challenge and be successful. You can change for the love of it.

  4. I think the comments were longer than the post.

    Kai, I would definitely keep that a secret. Shameful. :)

    Aaron, you did in fact have change. Change for a thousand.

    Tara, different strokes for different folks. I'll stick with self hate.