Okay, this is probably gonna hurt a bit, though it's likely no surprise to some of you, but I'm a bit of an attention-junkie! There, I said it. Some might even accuse me of narcissism: I find myself thinking along those lines myself sometimes & I wonder if they're not far wrong. When it comes to relationships, I want to be the focus of my beloved's attention. I, like most people, enjoy attention, especially when it's from the right person. My stated desire is to 'want to help', but even there, I wonder if it's not more about wanting to feel better about myself, because I AM happiest when helping others. Even in writing this blog-post, one might say that I'm just exhibiting another shining example of narcissism!
'I need help!' To what extent & of what sort might be another question, but I realize that my behavior of late has been somewhat self-destructive! Here too, one might note that the punishment fits the crime, that because of my being an attention-junkie, I more or less deserved what I got. The attention that I sought after so intently blinded me to the fact that it was not the sort of attention I needed. ( 'Have you noticed how much 'I' have appeared so far?' ) One question that has been reoccurring to me for the past several years is, 'how the hell do I think I'm gonna help others, when I need so much help myself?' I mean, really; 'what AM I thinking?!'
For the past five years or so, since my own separation & subsequent divorce, I have been on a Journey, of discovery, one might say. I'm 'discovering' things about myself that, although they've always been a part of me, are just now starting to come to the surface, often unbidden. After separating from my wife of 9 years, I moved 600 miles away & experienced a bit of a 'resurrection'. The stress of a 'marriage on the rocks' ( though I'm becoming less & less convinced it was a marriage ) had taken its toll on me & I was beginning to atrophy in more than one sense. Concerning our social contract, I cannot & will not lay ALL the blame at my ex-wife's feet; I must acknowledge that I played my part in the tragedy!
My first mistake, one might say, was marrying a Baptist & worse yet, an Independent Fundamental Baptist! She had been involved in a social contract previously & had borne three daughters from it. Because of this, there were already several counts against me. Entering into yet another social contract, although my first, her second, was perhaps our biggest & greatest mistake; we were joined together in this contract by a Baptist minister, her pastor, under the authority of the State ( who has NO business in marriage )! The resulting union lasted longer than some & not as long as others, but ever since its inception, my own life has been changing, progressively revealing to me that things, especially concerning this biological experience, aren't so 'simple' as I once thought.
Helping others IS a noble endeavor! After all, isn't that why we're put here on this earth? There's everything right & nothing wrong about wanting to help, but there comes a point when helping others becomes an exercise in futility, especially when the one trying to help needs as much or more help. One thought that has been burning at the back of mind though, is 'what if by helping others, we're helping ourselves as well?' Doesn't Scripture tell us, in other words, that if we love ( help ) others as we are loved, that the Creator will provide our every need?
So, I'm an attention-junkie: who really doesn't covet the attentions of that certain someone, even thrive on the praise & encouragement of others? Is it really that wrong to seek after that which builds YOU up? Now, sure; if one seeks to build him or herself up at the expense of others, then I would say that would be wrong: such a person is truly a narcissist! To stop helping, or trying to help others because I got burned, would truly be wrong. Unfortunately, there ARE people out there who are beyond help, at least, any help that we can give, but sometimes the ones that we help are actually worthy of that help ( love ) & thus we receive a double blessing!
There Are real narcissists out there: some people just aren't worthy of our help, love, or respect! After some time, sooner or later, we figure who is receptive of & grateful for our help. I will be the first to admit that I usually have ulterior motives for trying to help others, but deep down I try to do what I can just because it needs done. Call this self-aggrandizement if you want & you may be right in some sense! I guess this is just a plea for help, not really because I need it more than others, or because I'm an attention-junkie: sometimes I just get tired!
Charles Haddon Shank