At the end of the day we all need a place to seek refuge.
The outside world is hazardous, and rather if it’s just a room, an apartment or an entire house, a place to go home and feel safe is a basic human need, no matter how luxurious or dismal it may be.
Ego serves a similar purpose. It’s where your mind feels secure; it’s a person’s sense of self-esteem and self-importance, a set of thoughts that define their universe.
Let’s call where you feel most comfortable your safe space. Within its confines you’re content, the same goes for your ego, there are things you think you need there, items and ideas that sustain you and remind you of who you are; thoughts and labels that help you make sense of a world that doesn’t make sense.
But does your safe space and ego truly define you? Do you cling to them for dear life?
If you rely too heavily upon either of them, you can easily become incarcerated by your own thoughts and possessions, with the bail set at the price of your own existence.
When your safe place and ego become the essence of your being, you’re in for a rude awakening.
Welcome to Earth
Material possessions can be stolen, burnt up or ripped away from you in a variety of unsatisfying ways.
And you’re ego can be shot down just as easy, because the world is a place of shifting variables, and thought stagnation goes against one of life’s most important principles; evolution, necessary adaptation over time.
The world is not your safe space. It’s full of people who don’t care about you and things that can swallow you whole.
It’s good to have a safe haven to retreat to, both physically and mentally, but obsessing over comfort and your own feelings doesn’t put you on planet Earth with the rest of us.
Because that’s where the real change is accomplished, not within your own little nerfed up world, but down in the trenches, out on the streets and in the back of the house.
Forming My Conclusion
It’s easy to say not to get bogged down by ego and possessions, but it sure as hell wasn’t easy for me to figure that out.
When I moved out on my own and started at a University, I had very little work experience. I was in desperate need of a job to pay my rent though, and the only jobs I could get were at places I thought that I was above; kitchens, convenience stores, custodial work.
If I could say something to my younger self it would be this:
Kid, virtually everything is above you, the entire cosmos to be exact, everything that ever was and will be. The only thing you’re above is the dirt and you’re still pretty damn close to that; you’ll end up there one day, too.
But of course, I probably wouldn’t have listened.
Breaking and Entering
By mid-term of my first semester on my own, I had used up all of my savings and I had to take the first job that would have me … a liquor store on the bad side of town.
During my tenure at the liquor locker (not its actual name) my car was broken in to and my book bag was stolen a week before finals.
This crushed me. Not only were all my books and notes gone, my sense of security was shattered and so was my car window.
And it wouldn’t be the last time I had an unsavory job, nor was it the last time I would be robbed while I was in college. A year later, my apartment was broken into with everything of value stolen, then a few days later, I totaled the same car that had been broken in to at the liquor store the year before.
What a pisser.
Looking back I can see how this string of bad luck greatly affected me and shifted my world view. I wish I could say I immediately learned from it, but it made me bitter and affected my attitude going forward. I was still a brat, but just a brat with more real world experience.
My possessions and ego still defined me, even though I was constantly reminded of their fragility. And even when I realized that they could be taken from me at any moment, I still didn’t rise above it.
I inflated my own ego to cushion the fall. No longer was I telling myself I was too good for certain jobs, but I was creating my own false sense of security by telling myself that I’d soon be out of the rut I was in, without actually working hard enough to do so.
Work Your Way Out
Effort is what moves you’re life forward, not ego, not a house full of memories. These things aren’t bad by any means, everyone needs a safe place to return to, or a way of thinking that comforts them, just be aware of the stagnation that comes with clinging to tightly to them.
It’s easy to settle and usually comfort is what causes that. But everything is temporary. The world is scary as hell, and sure, having a place to come back to and feel safe is essential, but be free to come and go from it as you please, make your ego and safe space work for you, not the other way around.
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