A few years ago, I went through a period of extreme self loathing and began destroying my identity in my mind, basically going through the second half of the movie Scarface, minus the cocaine, gunfights and money. Also I’m not Cuban, though I dont think it would make much of a difference, other than I would still be fascinated with this device you call a microwave.
Back on topic, I destroyed my identity, the remnants of my self respect, drove away many people and took a divebomb towards rock bottom. And then I bounced back up. I began acting the way I felt was right, not the way others told me. After becoming my worst, I found it quite easy to rise up to my best. However, at the time I had just graduated high school, had no steady job, lived with my parents and was waiting for my line in basic, which was a year away. All of this happened over the course of 3 or 4 months.
My question, stated better; do you believe that forcing yourself to rock bottom so that you can rebuild yourself fresh is a good idea in any/all/some/most situations? And please, I’d love to hear your reasoning.
@bongodeburrito, I don’t know if I’d personally describe it as forcing your way to rock bottom, but maybe letting yourself hit rock bottom, is a good idea. Yeah it sucks at the time, but once you come out of something so terrible(for me it was getting to the point where I was stealing from those I love and living in a car and committing felonies daily) and rise above it, you realize nothing is going to kill you, and most of your fears are unfounded. It’s extremely humbling. How can you be afraid of being late on a bill when there was a time that you couldn’t afford to eat? You can’t.
@bongodeburrito, I’m not so sure it’d be a good idea. I get the reasoning, and what Ellie was saying…. but to take the other side, there’s no guarantee for that expectation that you’re gonna rise above it. If you had some realization/epiphany once you hit rock bottom, awesome, but what if you don’t? I’d worry that you may feel just as bad, if not worse. It’s all unique to the individual. On the other side of the spectrum, a lot of people do the opposite & work really hard to obtain goals in their lives expecting it to make them happy, but once they get there, they find they feel the same. To answer your question, aiming to hit rock bottom would be a gamble :)
@bongodeburrito, Forcing yourself isn’t really self-destruction if it is conscious though, real self-destruction is just that – self-destruction to dull down an emotional baggage. There are other ways to do that. And real self-destructive people won’t admit they’re dealing with problems, they believe they are getting better. Any kind of searching for complete isolation is actually the only help they see at the time, because of the reality they have to deal with. That reality is usually the people they’re surrounded with that cannot help in any fucking way, because they’re also afraid, probably more than the person deciding to go his own way. If he realizes that, then he should really be the one helping others.
I think it’s less about destroying yourself and more about finding yourself… as cheesy and overused as that sounds. Identity is not inertly bad, it has helped a great deal with our evolution as individuals and as a society. The important thing is to understand what the self is and isn’t. It is not concrete in the slightest, “destroying” the self or parts of the self is as easy as recognizing that they don’t exist. The self is fleeting and ever-changing and if you fight that you are just holding yourself back. Destroy the self that others have bestowed upon you and start IDENTIfying with your beliefs; that’s your true IDENTIty. Just as belief is subjective, your”self” is subjective; start acting like it and stop giving a fuck what others think of you. So in summation it is good to destroy the self that isn’t you, but if you destroy your whole self… well then you aren’t anybody
@mjdishere, We’re talking about hating what you are. Not trying to make it better, but destroying it completely and creating from scratch. While part of the rebuilding for me was taking risks, the demolition was purely doing things with no positive outcome, only the negative.
@beyond, I think that’s more accurately described as going crazy. I’m talking totally voluntary. When you see where you’re headed, and either push towards the bottom or let yourself fall out of the desire to destroy who you used to be. I do agree that denial is often the stage where people get caught when trying to fix their lives, but we’re talking about two different paths here.
@emily, Possibly. But like I said with Sasho, denial is what I think is the problem there. If you hit the bottom and dont think you can come back up, that’s you not recognizing the power within you. The absolute power that you have over your life. The knowledge that only you can make yourself happy. I think its easier to obtain that at your worst than your best.
@udntnome, When I went through my experience, I found only a small part of me was inherently good. I was only a good person under certain circumstances. So I intentionally destroyed my identity, put myself in a personal hell so that I could find that. I wanted to be in the worst possible place and force myself to grab onto what used to be a fleeting feeling and make that my foundation. The harder you work for something, the more you treasure it, and the more powerful it becomes.
I understand the concept of the Self, but then I did not. And for me it took being nothing to not care about the judgements of those around me. To bring Ellie’s idea to the table in a paraphrased way, once you’ve been spit on by a man, and then praised by him later on, you learn that a person’s idea of you is worthless.
I’ve been sitting here for quite some time contemplating what to say on this subject. My initial thought was that it’s never, ever a good idea to inflict upon yourself destruction – no matter what type of out come you are looking for. However, I feel like a hypocrite for even trying to make that argument, because I am quite the self destructive being.
I understand the concept of self destruction to force yourself to reach rock bottom, but what are you REALLY learning from that? If you inflict it upon yourself (which most cases of rock bottom are) what are you walking away with? A new you, yes, of course, but any real valuable lessons?
Hitting rock bottom because life continuously fucks you with a rake, having no other choice but to shed the person you are to build upon a stronger, better you allows you to walk away with many life lessons. Literally, life beats the fuck out of you to prove a learning point.
Whereas, beating the fuck out of yourself, destroying who you are….isn’t healthy. Of course, again, Miss Hypocrite over here, but, self destruction is so deep seeded it could become a pattern, a pattern thats incredibly hard to get yourself out of. It creates a routine, after once seeing the positive outcome, you may desire to get more to find a better version of the person you created. Doesn’t that become selfish? You can’t ever completely escape the Self.
I think I would have to agree with @Alexa on this. Yes, hitting rock bottom can theoretically help you have some sort of self-help epiphany, and clearly it has done so in some cases, but sometimes you only think you’re at the bottom, or even near it.
I guess what I’m saying here is: what if you set out to the bottom, only to realize that it is farther down than you ever imagined? You may not be prepared for it, you may never escape from it. Instead, healthy introspection is a much safer and healthier approach. Practicing your ability to find and see your own character flaws and proactively changing them can save you a lot of duress in the long run.
@bongodeburrito While I was browsing around the HE, I stumbled upon this quote. I thought of your post and believed this may be relevant to your post.
“Those who seek to gain, only lose. Those who seek to lose, only gain. It is only those that are content with what they have, that are truly happy.”
@bongodeburrito, I believe destruction is naturally part of creating, death an essential to life etc. I was watching some show on the science channel recently and it showed how celestial beings would collide to form different types of masses and eventually black holes. Black holes suck everything up but they also, for some reason, occasionally have the opposite gravitational effect and shoot a star that wanders too close, flying out of the solar system or w/e to join a new one or collide with something. Black holes are also said to be at the center of each universe. Also, there are moments when two universes collide but the end result is a more massive one.
Plants and such die but provide nutrients for something else in the process etc. I believe these things we (and only us) place a negative label on are rather essential to creating the things we see as positive. My dad was an alcoholic and was rather smart but his decisions and views on life held him back from living a rather fulfilled one, leading to his death a couple years back. However, witnessing his final 17 or so years has served as something that has affected me personally and has taught me many things about life. There are countless other forms of examples in this world where negatives also lead to something positive. Life does not see fear, positives and negatives like humans do and I think we can learn from that.
@alexa, “I understand the concept of self destruction to force yourself to reach rock bottom, but what are you REALLY learning from that?”
You learn that you control the course of your life. That being sad or happy is totally dependent upon you.
@dcfreak22, I firmly believe in that quote. I also believe that the only way to fully understand things is through experience. So to learn to be happy with what you have, first you must learn that there is no other way to be happy.
@beyond, I agree. I think we were just using different terminology.
@jaethedream, I think you confused universe and galaxy, but I totally agree. Nothing can be fully destroyed, just broken down and rearranged. The same holds true for your soul/mind/whatever you’d like to call it, and the way the cosmos work.