A reality: we all want to be special. We all want to have some characteristic that makes us so unique that if only people met us even once and got to know us, they would forever remember us as a distinct person, not like anyone else they ever met. This isn’t even remotely true. You meet people, and most of the time, you describe them in relation to someone else you’ve already met. “You remind me so much of my friend so-and-so.” Even the people who aren’t exactly like someone you’ve met you can still describe as being mixtures of people. And everyone else can describe you the same way. You can’t comprehend this exactly. You see yourself as the YOU, the most important person in your world, since without you, your view of the world wouldn’t exist. I think people honestly can’t see themselves as anything but special without thinking really long and hard about who they are and who other people are. That’s probably why people are always convinced other people are talking about them when they probably aren’t (I’m guilty of this, too). You are very concerned with you, why wouldn’t other people? There’s a really good episode of Community where Jeff Winger is coming to grips with his non-specialness. “You’ll be good at a few things, but not very good at many others.” It sounds like terrible advice to give to children (at least to Americans), but maybe we shouldn’t encourage kids to aim ridiculously high. Maybe then there wouldn’t be the giant disillusionment when kids grow up, like in Avenue Q. The world isn’t one big happy place. Why should we pretend it is for children? I think they understand more than we give them credit for.
So I have an inferiority complex. I’ve mentioned before that I get really good grades. I define myself by the fact I’m really smart. I’m constantly terrified of other people beating me academically, however. I’m always convinced everyone is going to kick my ass in a class. They never do, but I’m still worried about it. I can’t imagine not being as smart as I am, and so I assume everyone else is as well. I know logically that people aren’t as smart as me, but I still worry about it. My intelligence is my “specialness.” I’m worried about losing what, in my mind, is my defining characteristic. I have no problem not being the best looking or most athletic or most popular. I never thought of myself in those ways. The thought of not being the smartest can send me into a giant bout of depression. This is why grades are my number one trigger. Losing my grades would be losing my very self. I know this isn’t healthy, and I try and work on it. I’m trying to find new ways to define myself. But it’s not something that you can just change by wishing. It’s hard to redefine yourself. But that is the source of my inferiority complex and a major source of depression.
I’m also crazy. I have trouble keeping my thoughts grounded in reality, and constantly drift off into fantasies. I have urges to hurt or kill myself. I have violent urges to hurt other people. I most definitely have problems. However, so does everyone else. Many people, if you talk about this with them, also think they are crazy. They are convinced there’s something more wrong with them than the average person. Except, that can’t be true of everybody. Therefore, it seems everyone is probably all doing many of the same things in their mind and think they’re the only ones who do that. Being borderline crazy is another way of being special, oddly enough. It’s easy to take some weird pride in walking the line of sanity (or so you believe). I also do this. I like to think I’m unique and different because of what goes on in my mind. However, a lot of the time, my thoughts are just normal. There are a couple things that set me off, a few radical ideas that will really set me off, but I think that’s the same for everybody. I like to think that because of my “craziness,” my desire for specialness is more dangerous than in other people. But is it really? Probably not. It’s just me wanting to be more important than other people.
Everyone thinking they are/wanting to be special is a possible reason, I believe, for the large amount of hypocrisy in the world. Everyone is a hypocrite about something. It’s so easy to judge a person for something, and then not even realize that you do something very similar. If you do realize that you do something similar, it’s easy to make excuses why your situation is different and not subject to the same judgments. Vee is especially bad about this. We were having a conversation about two people, each of us hating one. I could admit my hatred was unreasonable. Vee agreed mine was, but wouldn’t admit hers was, coming up with flimsy reason after reason why hers was different. She couldn’t see her own hypocrisy, even though I was trying my best to point it out to her without directly calling her a hypocrite to her face. Vee points out things I do all the time, and I actually try and think about what she says. Of course, maybe she did as well, just later on her own. I don’t know what’s going on in her head. As I get older, I’m starting to recognize the little red flags where I’m making excuses for my own situation. In my post about pre-med students, you’ll notice I admitted I was being hypocritical. I’m not perfect at recognizing when I am, but I’m getting better. Writing (or typing) out my thoughts about things really helps me notice stuff a lot better. But it’s still difficult, and still most definitely a work in progress. It really seems like many people don’t have these red flags, but again, I don’t know what’s going on in their heads. Maybe the recognize and reevaluate their opinions on their own later on. I also pride myself on being able to see every point of view when I think about it. I try and make myself do it as often as I can. Why would this person believe something else? What are the merits to it? Most people only focus on the errors in any viewpoint. You’ll get a much better understanding if you try and see everything about a view. Of course, maybe other people do this as well, not just me. Again, I don’t know what’s going on in their heads. The number one place for crazy hypocrites not trying to understand other people’s points of view is the internet. Especially certain individuals on Yahoo Answers. There’s this one guy I saw who said he “didn’t judge or hate” people. One of his answers was judging and hating hardcore on someone’s beliefs. He also claimed to dislike “closed minded ignorant people who won’t try and see other views.” From some other things he said, you could tell he only meant people who didn’t agree with him. He really didn’t realize he wasn’t giving their views a chance either. A different person mentioned how much they hated haters, and then later proclaimed one should never apologize for how they feel about something. Really? So why should haters feel bad about hating? Comment sections on Yahoo are another bad place if you want reasonable people who will examine their own views and others’ fairly. It makes me think of a quote I saw once: “I guess you’re right.” – No one on the internet
One thing that has driven home my lack of uniqueness is going on the internet in search of people like me, to read their stories. Guess what: I found them. Lots of them. LOTS of them. With stories and experiences and personalities remarkably like mine. Many people take comfort in finding others like them. There is a relief, sure. But there’s also that sudden realization that you are not a beautiful, unique snow flake. You are the same decaying filth as everyone else. (That’s from Fight Club. The quote’s not 100% right, but it’s still from Fight Club. I love that movie.) Finding tons of people just like you really drives home the point that you aren’t special. And that loss of specialness can really make you realize how important being special is to you. Or maybe that’s just me. And maybe that’s just me wanting to be special. Basically, thinking this way makes it impossible to analyze or trust any thought or opinion you have about yourself. You’d think me understanding my drive to be special would lead to greater understanding about myself. Instead, it’s lead to more uncertainty. It’s like that saying, the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.
I didn’t read this stuff anywhere. Maybe a dash or two from it came from my psychology class or something, and maybe something I’ve forgotten that I read on the internet somewhere. Most of this I’ve come up with by stringing together a bunch of disconnected thoughts I jotted down. But you know what I can guarantee? That none of this is original. That someone else has come up with these thoughts and theories before. It’s basically impossible to come up with a thought no one else has had before. Reading people’s blogs should convince you of that. I haven’t read this sort of discussion anywhere, but I’m sure it’s out there. The worst part is that I can recognize all these things about myself, but deep down, I still want to be special. I still want to think that I’m the most interesting/unique/important person in the world. I know in my mind it’s not true, but my heart won’t accept it. Maybe I can change it, but it will take a lot of work. And that is why I say fuck reality. No matter what you discover about yourself, that doesn’t mean you can change that about you anyway. And then you have to live with the knowledge that it needs to be changed. Oh, well. That’s life.