The Mortal versus the Human

It’s interesting to reflect on my response to the difficult challenges in my life.  And, it's sobering and humiliating to become aware of the flawed ideas from which my reactions have been molded. In spite of my humiliation, I will opine on these ideas with the belief that I am not the only person struggling with the conflicts and disconnects between being human and the desire to be super-human, maybe even unhuman. This may be another flawed assumption! If so, then here goes another lesson in humility.

I'm competitive. Often my ego-hungry nature drives me to rise above my challenges - to respond as though I had the mythical Greek God, Hermes, as my personal guide. A note of explanation here: Hermes is the God of transitions and boundaries. He is an intercessor between the mortal and the divine.  My ego demands nothing less than to divest myself of temporal mediocrity and triumph sublimely.

This attempt to rise above my humanness, dispel my weaknesses, conquer my fears, avoid my limitations and protect myself from the harsh judgment of others, results in catastrophic self-blame when I fail. My ego cannot overcome this crushing blow. After all, if I were stronger, wiser, more deserving; I would have succeeded. And so, the same ego that drove me to believe in my superhuman abilities and my divine intercessor lays in a heap of unrealistic expectations, self-pity and loathing. Despair is a poor companion. Yet, it feels somehow just - an appropriate consequence for my failures and defects.

Sooner or later, self-preservation and common sense guide me out of the dark and into a world of realism and practicality. At this point, I begin to understand that I am impotent over the unexpected/unpredictable events in my life. I settle into forgiving myself for my lack. I relinquish the role of heroine and miracle-worker to a power much greater than myself. I find myself relaxing in the absence of the stressors of super-humanness. I find myself praying for patience, conclusion and strength - human strength.

And here's the kicker! My relaxed mind becomes bored and my bruised ego heals and gains strength. Certainly my situation is not without purpose. Now, I begin an exhausting search for meaning and purpose. My suffering has to result in a greater good. I am looking for meaning. I just can't wrap my head around the randomness of nature.
So, I settle in for another challenge.  Initially, I default to my old ways of finding value and meaning in the things that evoke status and cache. I fall victim to ascribing to an image that will win me favor in the eyes of others.

The KISS philosophy comes to mind - Keep It Simple Stupid. My challenge does not need the intervention of a mediator between the divine and the mortal. Meaning and purpose is not something you do or become. The ego complicates and blurs the soul to acquire things for its own sake. I need my ego to survive and even thrive. But, I can't give it everything it wants. I think this would be called narcissism. And, when I am unable to feed the ego with its desires, the result will always be depressing.

So, I'm settling for finding meaning in the meaningless, worthiness in the simple, joy in the ordinary, purpose in the serendipitous and value in the people and things that I love. I unburden myself of carrying and portraying false images. And, I'm accepting the present and keeping the past behind me. These simple things, though difficult, are humanly possible. I'll let you know how I'm doing. Thanks for reading.


2 thoughts on “The Mortal versus the Human

  1. So interesting to hear what motivates others. I understand the cycle of being exhausted, then recovered, and then pushing too hard. I’ve been trying to pinpoint what starts that cycle in myself. Thank you for being so articulate about your thoughts.

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