Weekend. I am somewhere at the mountain celebrating a couple of friends’ birthdays. I went earlier (2 am I think) to bed, as I was dead tired on that specific Friday night. Around 4 am I wake up to a (loud) conversation that went like this:
Girl: “You don’t understand we don’t put relationships first” (‘we’ referred to her girl friend and her).
Boy: ”What do you mean? What else can possible be more important than your relationship?”
The girl took a second and replied very naturally and easily: “Me.”
Boy: “You? But that’s wrong; do you know how selfish that is? You are so wrong!”
Girl: “I know, but this is the way it is. What I feel is more important than anything”.
The conversation continued for a while, with the boy trying to convince the girl she was wrong, her actually agreeing but telling him there’s no other way she can actually live. The guy really tried to win this debate. He lost.
I think (note to self: ‘research that’) that it’s part of our culture: family first, church / god first, community first, etc. Maybe is a reminiscence of our communism inheritance, where the collective was above the individual at all times but somehow admitting that “me” is more important than any collective automatically transforms you into a stigmata in other people’s eyes. And oh, how hard it is to get out of your head, of the collective head, and build your own individuality.
Having recently read Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead”, I am pleased to have found confirmation of my own way of seeing life in her writing. The need of individuality is pretty logical to me, in the simplest way possible: how can one love others and support them if one doesn’t love oneself? It’s a little tragic to have a bad relationship with your own self. Your whole life derives from there, all your relationships you build derive from there. You must come first, you must be pleased, happy and in love with yourself in order for you to be able to please, make happy and love others.
Let’s just look at the opposite for a second: if your God comes first, what happens if you stop believing? If your family comes first, what happens if your significant other leaves you or your children go about their lives? If your community comes first, what happens if you have to live separately from them? If anything but yourself is more important to your well being, losing that means losing everything. Life would lose meaning.
I recently told someone that I understand this “meaning of life” idea, finally, after over 20 years of research, questions, struggle, findings, other findings and more questions. It was simpler than I thought in the end: take away the mysticism of it, the spiritual content, the idea that the meaning of life is something grand, bigger than us and never to be really reached, world changing and whatnot, the answer is simple and right in front of you: the meaning of your life is you.
The girl was right. She’s a happy, balanced person and she is so nice to be around, sending a lovely vibe to everyone. She didn’t need anyone to tell her that she was right or wrong, because she anyhow knew better.
Now, the hard part comes: how do you learn to love yourself and make yourself the center of your world? Now that is not easy 🙂